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How long can a mare be bagged and waxed before foaling?

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  • How long can a mare be bagged and waxed before foaling?

    I know there are always extremes to either side and those mares who are outside of the "normal" range, but in general, how long after a mare bags up and is waxed until they foal? I had a friend whose mare dripped milk for a month before she foaled. Another who swears that most mares will foal within 3-5 days of their teats "waxing". Is there really a general time frame? Milk testing is out of the question for safety reasons.- mare is fine everywhere else, but a little too touchy about her udder (no sign of her dripping any milk yet either).
    A poorly fitted saddle hampers both horse and rider.

  • #2
    Hours to weeks. Without testing the milk, it just a sign of getting closer. If the mare waxes the right kind of "wax", then usually within 48 hours.

    Question. If the mare is too touchy about her udder, do you expect the newborn foal to take all the risk? The time to teach a mare she MUST put up with minor irritations is NOW, not when a fragile baby needs colostrum.


    • #3
      "Normal" from the time the milk is evident would be a day or a couple of days. "Range" would be anything from two weeks to half an hour. You can't say for sure until after the fact. After the mare has had several foals, you may be able to get a handle on her procedure, but it can change at any time, many things can influence the progress.

      If this mare is not able to be touched on the udder now, you must be prepared to intervene if necessary when the foal is born. She may or may not kick at the new born foal, when it goes to suck. A newborn foal can be injured or killed, or effected psychologically by rejection very quickly. You may need to restrain the mare until she gets accustomed to the procedure and realizes that the sucking foal will relieve the pressure in her udder and her maternal instincts start to surface, if they are not totally evident at the time of birth. Restraint may be tranquilizer, or a lipchain, or holding a front leg up on the same side that the foal is attempting to suck on. Good luck.


      • #4
        Keep in mind that many mares won't wax and may hardly bag up before foaling.



        • #5
          I have had a nervous maiden who crossed her legs for nearly a month, but up to 2 weeks has been normal.
          Providence Farm


          • Original Poster

            Perhaps I should clarify and say mare is a little too touchy unless restrained. She will let us touch her, and is improving, but we do have to be cautious.

            We are working on the "touchiness" and it is getting better...but right now we are feeling it is best to address the issue when there are two of us present. I was just hoping that we would have a little more time in which to work upon it. Totally prepared to restrain the mare if necessary. She's not that bad...but we are cautious of her hind feet. She can be pretty quick to kick when she feels threatened. Maiden mare so we don't know what to expect. Generally she is very sweet and tolerant of things. Prior to bagging up, she gave us no problems with handling her udder.
            A poorly fitted saddle hampers both horse and rider.


            • #7
              If her bag is full and it is the real kind of "wax", mine have always gone within 24 hours. I know there are mares that go much longer, but that has not been my own experience. Some of them don't wax at all, however, and some just a few hours before foaling. Since I obsessively check and observe, I generally feel pretty confident about when they are getting very close.

              As for your mare not wanting you to touch her bag, I wouldn't worry about it, especially since she was fine about it before. I've had mares in the past that were really touchy about it, but it's a totally different deal with a foal. Of course everyone has a horror storry, but I'm just relating my own experiences.

              Best wishes with your upcoming foal!
              Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
              Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony


              • #8
                Then I would get a helper and milk test. Personally, when I am dealing with a mare that I am worried about, I will only do that if I am the person holding the rope/chain 3" from the halter. I want to feel what they are doing and react to it on both ends. Halter in one hand, reach for the udder with the other. That way I can keep their head/neck really turned into me, loading up the hind leg on that side.


                • #9
                  Believe it or not, we only have one mare that waxes. 3 don't at all and two of these usually drip a few hours beforehand.

                  For the one that waxes, she had wax for about 3-4 days prior, but was a maiden. We'll see what she does this year. I agree, the milk test is the best way to tell. Get calcium/pH strips (pool or aquarium) and mix 6:1 water:milk and dip, once pH gets into the LOW 6.0's you are going SOON. Calcium should be high at this point too but we've had mares go high calcium for a few days but it was only when the pH tanked that they foaled.
                  Signature Sporthorses


                  • #10
                    I also don't put a lot of stock in wax as one maiden I had ran in (literally) for dinner at about 320 days, gobbled down her grain and THUMP dropped a foal.. Most will wax 2 days to 2 weeks before delivery and there was that one holdout for nearly a month.....so since my range has been "zero days to 30" I don't put a LOT of stock in it. The best thing I have found to watch is for softening of the hips and tailhead. I have never had one go more than 72 hours once the tailhead relaxes/gets like a wet noodle. (But once again there WAS that one maiden above...the grain gobbler..that showed NOTHING!!"). The zero notice mare is rather the exception here though.
                    Providence Farm


                    • #11
                      I have NEVER, EVER had a mare wax (real wax) more than a day ahead. Maybe 2 days over the past 25 years. I foaled 10 mares here last year. Some waxed and dripped a bit of milk, some did not wax and just foaled with no wax, no dripping, and some did not even miss a beat. Those went from NOTHING (but I was following them along with Chemetrics) to down foaling. I mean nothing. No wax, no dripping, no pacing, no sweating, NOTHING. Down, and water broke. Along with a watchful eye, cams in the stall and Chemetrics I try to never miss a foaling. But, I have to admit, even the most watchful eye can miss it!!! GUILTY!!!
                      hunter/jumper ponies


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sugarbrook View Post
                        Along with a watchful eye, cams in the stall and Chemetrics I try to never miss a foaling. But, I have to admit, even the most watchful eye can miss it!!! GUILTY!!!
                        This is what I do as well -- and I am still thankful you turned me on to the Chemetrics! I get a LOT more sleep during foaling season that way! I admit that I was watching a mare last year -- had watched her ALL NIGHT -- she had high Chemetrics numbers, and was READY. All night she looked like she was going to foal any second. Around 6 am I dozed off for about 10 minutes -- woke with a start and looked at the camera and realized she was looking at something in the corner! She had popped him out under the water bucket, and I had JUST missed it!!! Oops!!!
                        Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
                        Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony


                        • #13
                          LOL. Happens to the best of us. I read somewhere, that Rox Dene foaled unattended with her first foal. Not many get more famous than that mare and she was missed.
                          hunter/jumper ponies