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Ok....veteran milk testers?

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  • Ok....veteran milk testers?

    In my studying up on this I am getting conflicting numbers. I understand Ca goes up and pH goes down but I am seeing anything below a 7 pH is "go time" and then I see other statements that a mare can go to 6.4 pH.....so what is more normal? I realize we are speaking about "hours to days" but I just want to see what more of you have seen. Do mares foal within hours at a 6.4 or do they really ever get down to that? Does that make sense? TIA

  • #2
    They go lower... At 6.4, she can hold for another 48-72 hours... or more if she has a sense of humor.

    In my limited experience, and from reading her, 6.2 is the magical number, THEN it is within 24 hours.
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    • #3
      Most things tested in a field situation with strips are not that accurate. It is the changes that you are looking for, more than the absolutes.


      • #4
        Like EquusMagnificus, after 4 years of experimenting/testing with 4-5 mares a year, we've found that it takes 6.2pH or less to have baby. After many nights spent up at 6.4 to no avail, we learned that 6.2 is the "go number". Of course anything is possible, but we don't lose sleep over 6.4 and up anymore. We have had mares go over a week to 10 days once they hit 7.. and some will hit 7 and be 6.2 the next day, just depends... they do tend to repeat the rapidity of the drop each year. But once you hit a true 6.2 (don't try to be optimistic with the test strips, it doesn't pay... LOL) we've had a baby as early as 8 hrs and as long as 36 hr but never past, with the SOLE exception a mare we suspected had placentitis and was on SMZ and we were praying would hold off - she did - but was testing "ready" for about 5 days so we knew there was a problem (there was, but foal lived).

        We both work full time jobs so we depend on and trust this test probably more than we should in order to be able to function at work and not to miss extra days, and last year we missed only a few ours of sleep on foaling night for each mare and 5 foals!

        Another bigtime indicator is the milk properties and yes, how it tastes . At first it will be bland or salty and bleah, then when we get to, hmmmm, not terrible, it is reasonably close, then mmmmm mmmm good, it's imminent! LOL It will go from yellow, thin and watery, to whitish thin and just a little sticky to thicker white and opaque like milk in your fridge and extremely sticky. When it stays suspended in the test solution (distilled water) you are close.

        Hope this helps!!
        Signature Sporthorses


        • #5
          Very good post, Signature!!
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Signature View Post

            Another bigtime indicator is the milk properties and yes, how it tastes . At first it will be bland or salty and bleah, then when we get to, hmmmm, not terrible, it is reasonably close, then mmmmm mmmm good, it's imminent! LOL It will go from yellow, thin and watery, to whitish thin and just a little sticky to thicker white and opaque like milk in your fridge and extremely sticky. When it stays suspended in the test solution (distilled water) you are close.

            Hope this helps!!

            Sometimes I can't easily express the amount I need for an accurate test, and have found that just looking at a couple drops of expressed milk once a day, and when I start to see a change, I check it twice a day.
            Signature described it very well!


            • Original Poster

              Thanks a BUNCH guys

              That is the info I was looking for. Now to go practice! Thanks again for sharing your experiences. I am not new to foaling but this is the first year I will be using the strips instead of my Foalert. This mare is a maiden and is not tolerant of a lot of things so sewing in a Foalert is NOT an option...I just hope milking her will be
              I'll let you guys know how this goes, thanks!


              • #8
                Originally posted by selah View Post

                Sometimes I can't easily express the amount I need for an accurate test, and have found that just looking at a couple drops of expressed milk once a day, and when I start to see a change, I check it twice a day.
                Signature described it very well!
                Yes! Signature did a great job I forgot to mention the taste... When it gets sticky as heck on your fingers... That's another sign of "going soon". Although the definition of "soon" varies wildly from one mare to another!

                I have found that the "trick" to milk a mare (had to do it alot with a problem foal last year) was to use KY jelly. Mimics the foal's saliva or whatever the reason is, but I was having a hard time milking her without it, otherwise, I could get two cups in no time. Bare handed. And this was with an experienced broodmare who didn't object to it at all.
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                • #9
                  Thanks guys, you are sweet. I am glad to help because I am somewhat OCD so lord knows I have obsessed about it to no return, and was looking for the same info when I first started with the pH testing (pintopiaffe was my savior then)... LOL We used to use the Predict-A-Foal but without pH you can be maxed out for days on calcium, whereas the pH is the key indicator. Our mares are so tolerant of me now, they just roll their eyes and cock their leg. hahaha, bless them! Once we get to 6.8 I start testing 2x a day.

                  It's hard to describe in text, but when I "milk", I don't run my hand or fingers down the nipple like you would a cow (I guess). I grasp it and gently pull down to fill the teat, then use my fingers in succession to guide it to the base and out. Kinda like a massage? They don't seem to object at all as there is no friction, etc. This is something I never thought I'd be good at... LOL

                  Also like EM said, when it gets sticky like glue you are close, and it will also dry to a shiny crisp on your skin or equipment and flake off. What you are truly looking for is colostrum. It will also get really easy to express and very plentiful as you get very close.
                  Signature Sporthorses