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1 month old newly orphaned can't get to take milk replacer. HELP!

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  • #21
    McCauley's makes an excellent foal and weanling pellet for this purpose too - I'd be happy to get some to you to try - I'm very nearby. Also give a call if you need a hand - we've had an orphan too - she is now a very sassy and healthy 2yo.


    • Original Poster

      Well I agree, I need to get her back outside with her pasture buddies. I think it is especially important to do it ASAP because she is an unusual color (amber champagne) and is more likely to be picked on by the other horses. I find some dark horses really don't like the dillutes - it is a shame that she no longer has her mother to defend her. Now I just need my 1 and 3 year old to cooperate and take a nap at the same time!! My husband and older "helper" children are away for the day so I have to have some luck on my side. Most likely it will have to be this evening when they are both in bed for the night. I guess I will just have to do the best I can with the resources available to me and pray that it is enough.

      I plan to go to the local coop to get a lamb's nibble first thing Monday morning. I think they open at 6:00 AM so I should be able to start early.

      I think I will need to order things from Buckeye directly from Buckeye as I cannot find a local dealer of their product line. I have heard really good things about the Buckeye Milk replacer so I do think it is worth the difficulty of having to order it from afar.

      She is still drinking pretty well. She takes varying amounts each feeding - I seem to always make too much or too little. I think having the igloo where it will keep and she can drink on demand with be a whole lot less wasteful!

      I really appreciate all the tips - very helpful!

      Best wishes,


      • #23
        If you can't get her to nurse again, the Buckeye milk replacer is acidified and lasts pretty well. I raised one on Buckeye feeding with a bucket in 2004. The bucket was changed 3 times a day and it worked fine. The igloo is a better solution, but you may find it very hard to get the foal to nurse from a nipple after she has taken to a bucket. Good luck!
        Mary Lou


        Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


        • #24
          Originally posted by Carolyn View Post
          Good Morning All...

          Well she is drinking the Milk Replacer consistently now. I am feeding her every two hours with a four hour gap at night. I think I am going to try to turn her out with her pasture mates from before and use the igloo method with the Buckeye replacer. Of course I have her trained to a bucket and a different replacer so getting her to use a nipple and a new Milk Replacer may be a challenge now but we will give it a go anyhow. I think I was in panic mode and just didn't have the patience I needed to let the foal adapt to such a huge change in her life. (Plus I think I was mixing the water too hot).

          The companion mare the foal is with right now is one of those mares that produces milk even when she doesn't have a foal. She has milk now but not a lot. She will not let the foal nurse. We tried hay bales & tranquilizers & hobbles. She is warming up to the foal a little more but I don't think it will be a match made in heaven. I do have a mare with a four month old foal I could wean but I would rather not if I don't have to go that route. Hopefully the Igloo will work out well for us!

          I will also get the foal on the Progressive feed. They have excellent products. Thank you Daydream Believer for you offer of feed. I am probably pretty far away from you. I am located in North Central by Commonwealth Park south of Culpeper. We have a Progressive Dealer about 45 minutes from here in Marshall I think. I will try there first.

          Thank you so much for the help and support.

          Best wishes,
          1. If you have a Progressive Dealer nearby, I would think you'd do fine with Progressive Nutrition's Foals' First Milk Replacer and/or the milk-based pellet, Foal's First Starter and Creep." Don Kapper, PN's chief nutritionist, designed both these products and Buckeye's as well. If you call PN's customer support line (888-239-3185), they will give you all the advice you need to feed your orphan foal, with Don himself being quite accessible.
          2. "If the foal is over 3 weeks of age when orphaned, forget the liquid milk replacer and just feed the milk based foal starter feed free choice. At this age their molars are in and they can successfully chew the milk pellets and swallow them. Provide only the milk-based pellets for them to eat until the foals are 3 months old. Between 3 and 4 months of age, mix equal amounts of the milk based pellet with a weaning formula that complements their forage." (Don Kapper, "Appendix on Applied Nutrition," Saunder's *Equine Internal Medicine,* 2003.) You may need to mix the pellets into the liquid milk replacer for a while, though, in order to start them chewing so they can make the switch.
          3. Unless you have a nurse mare who foaled within a month or two of your foal's birth date, the orphan's nutritional needs are much more likely to be met by replacer products than a mare because "Mare's milk nutritional composition changes and becomes more dilute as lactation progresses." (Kapper, as above) As foals reach 3-4 months of age, their need for milk drops off dramatically, and the mare's production declines accordingly. My guess is that the milk of a mare who lactates even when she doesn't have a foal would not be of much nutritional value. Some mares don't even provide high enough nutritional content for their foals under normal circumstances: e.g., my 3 month old, 450# suckling has been eating 4-5#/day of milk pellets for the last month in addition to nursing from his mother. He was so hungry and was growing so rapidly from the outset that I started him on the creep when he was less than a week old (he did already have molars).

          Progressive Nutrition prides itself on customer service to go with its products, to make sure that they are used properly and the best possible results obtained. Feeding foals has long been a special passion for Don Kapper, and I am sure he would be glad to help you.


          • #25
            The problem with using pellets instead of milk is that the other foals may bully the orphan to not let him near his food, or eat it all, and you can't tell how much he got OR you have to only let him eat when in a stall, and that makes for a LONG hungry night. With a pellet, they are also much less likely to leave their buddies and playing. They will seek out the milk, as it is so much sweeter - like a kid with candy AND they can have it all night, whenever they want a drink.

            They do find a bucket much easier, and they don't have to work at it, like nursing from a nipple (they can just, like kids, chug that "chocolate milk") so it will be much harder to convince one to go back to the nipple, than it is to begin with. I felt that nursing gives as much "comfort" to a foal as nursing, and an orphan will take comfort from nursing on his igloo the same as a real mom. It was quite a bit more expensive to keep mine on the milk/igloo until he was 5 months, but it made me feel better to see him enjoy nursing and the comfort he got from it. As he ate more pellets, I just watered down the milk.


            • Original Poster

              Creep Feeding Questions.

              Yes, my pasture situation makes for difficult feeding of foals let alone orphan foals. I have been trying to figure out how to do a creep feeding set up for my foals for a long time and have not come up with any practical ideals yet.

              I often have large broodmare bands with foals together. This year I have 11 (well 10 now) mares and 11 foals. I have the pregnant mares with foals and the not yet pregnant mares and foals separated into groups at the moment. So at the moment I have two smaller groups. The orphan was with the not yet confirmed in foal group so that group will be getting smaller and smaller while the other group gets bigger and bigger.

              I use a pasture rotation system so the horses are only in a pasture for a week to three weeks tops depending on how fast they go through the grass. I do not have run-in sheds because they are moving from pasture to pasture so quickly and because having a shed in each pasture would cost a fortune as we would need 20 to 30 sheds. We have the perimeter of the pastures done with 7" round wood posts with four strands of Electro-braid and metal walk-thru gates periodically. For the dividing lines between the pastures we use step-in posts with a lighter gauge of electric twine and electric handles for gates. We plan to put in a centrally located 1.5 acre stone dust bad weather "paddock" with under-cover shelter but that will not happen until next year or the year after. Until then the horses have trees for shelter and shade.

              So finally, my question.... Can anyone recommend some sort of way to creep feed my foals? It needs to be portable yet free standing. Any thoughts?

              Thanks in advance!



              • #27
                I don't like to free choice "creep" feed foals. The ones that like to eat will make themselves way too fat, and increase the chances of OCD. Are your babies out all of the time? How do you feed the mares? If they are never in stalls, I would look to keeping good mineral blocks in the fields. Mineral blocks will not have salt. Salt should be another one. Buckeye has "Harvest salt" blocks that you use along with their Grass Plus mineral block. If your horses live out, the igloo will be critical for the baby so he can grow up as a horse.


                • Original Poster

                  Yes, I use 250 lb "Horse Lic" Mineral Buckets and then provide a free choice salt. Maybe that is enough? They do get the feed that they eat with mom too. Feeding the orphan a separate diet will pose a challenge as we are about to re-plant all the pastures around the barn so the horses will be a good walk away from the stalls. I will have to use a coral panel stall or something I guess. As they say, "Necessity is the mother of invention"!


                  • Original Poster


                    Well it looks like Auntie is going to adopt my little orphan. She is allowing her to nurse. Now her milk just needs to come in better. I think with the foal nursing on her it should start up again. The mare is newly pregnant so I don't want to give her hormones that might make her abort.

                    I am relieved that my orphan will have a "Mamma" after all.



                    • #30
                      Oh, yay, that is the best of all worlds. Even if the nursing is only psychological, and she has to get the nutrition via pellets...

                      Good news.

                      Editing to add: what about a feed bag to get her the extra she needs? I use them on my weanlings... I bet the Feed Rite folks would make you a smaller one if you contacted them. Then she can get her feed in peace. I put the bags on the weaners/slow eaters first, then feed everyone else, water etc., and usually by the time I'm done all my chores, bags are ready to come off.

                      OR, feed MUM with a bag, so bebe has time to eat some foal pellets. That works too--the aggressive one having the bag on--can't get to the others' food.
                      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                      • #31
                        Awesome! So glad to hear things are working out.


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
                          Editing to add: what about a feed bag to get her the extra she needs? I use them on my weanlings... I bet the Feed Rite folks would make you a smaller one if you contacted them. Then she can get her feed in peace. I put the bags on the weaners/slow eaters first, then feed everyone else, water etc., and usually by the time I'm done all my chores, bags are ready to come off.
                          Sounds like a good idea. Feed Rite? I have not heard of them. Where would I find a feed bag? How do I get in touch with Feed Rite? Any information is appreciated!


                          • #33

                            They were AWESOME with me, I bought 'seconds' from them because I wasn't entirely convinced of the whole idea... the buckles broke due mostly to extreme cold, and even though the 'seconds' weren't under warrantee, they sent me extra buckles to repair the bags.

                            I am 100% convinced if you called them and explained you needed one for an orphan, they would custom make and express ship one to you. Really lovely customer service as far as I'm concerned. They are 'one size' and I do use that size on the 6mo-yearlings... but you would definitely need smaller for a foal. Call them! Email is not the fastest... but a phone call will get you a return call...

                            My feeding life has changed dramatically, I don't know why I didn't go to bags YEARS ago. I will need some new ones, they haven't quite lasted as long as I'd like with yearlings/2yos/silly geldings (and me getting distracted and not removing quickly enough) but they have saved me a FORTUNE in feed, and paid for themselves in the first month. So if I buy 2x/year, I've still saved quite literally hundreds in spilled/wasted/stolen grain.

                            I digress, but I think it might be just the answer for you in the herd situation... Good luck...
                            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                            • Original Poster

                              Thank you, I am certainly intrigued! I will call them today.