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Questions for those who use "off the farm" services for breeding/foaling etc.

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  • Questions for those who use "off the farm" services for breeding/foaling etc.

    If you send your mare to facility for breeding and/or foaling I would love your input.

    Why do you make that choice specifically and what services do you like from the facility? What are the pros/cons?

    We have foaled some mares on a very limited basis for clients but have not jumped in full force. Mostly because our primary focus in the past was the TB business so breeding was almost never in the cards as even our personal mares were sent away to be bred.

    Of course I have bred many mares for clients over the years but have traditionally been ambulatory etc.

    Because my DH and I both enjoy the work, we are considering expanding a bit and offering broodmare services - breeding ( cooled and frozen) and possibly ET if we are able to develop a demand for it. I think having mares on site makes it so much easier to do a great job. Not to mention it's so efficient to not have to drive, to have good help available at all times and to be able to offer a quiet environment at all times.
    We are not interested in standing stallions, we would do mares only and we would not do any other vet work unless it was needed by the mares under our care i.e. no other horses hauling in for other vet services.

    For those who already utilize these types of services, tell me the good and the bad.


  • #2
    I just made a similar post.

    We are considering doing this as well as apparently there is no other facility in our area that is currently providing these services. I have a wonderful facility and I have been asked about this several times, so I started to look into it.

    The local vets do not have 24 hour staffing for foaling. Boarding stables are generally not equipped with large foaling stalls with video surveillance (we have 14 of the 12' x 24' foaling stalls), nor do they have 24 hour staffing and the quiet surroundings that broodmares prefer for foaling.

    Having someone in attendance familiar with the foaling process and with the experience to know what to do (or NOT to do) when something might be a problem BEFORE it truly becomes a problem is very important.

    Mares and foals need to spend time with other mares and foals. Having large safe pastures where they can socialize with others is another benefit generally not available at a typical boarding facility.

    I do not know where you are located, but I should think that the mare owners near you would welcome having your services available. I firmly believe that mares settle easier when they are comfortable in their surroundings.

    I am now doing my own ultrasounds and will be doing my own AI next year, but I will not be doing this for any mares other than my own. My repro vet will be available to provide those services to any client mares either here at the farm or at his clinic.
    Tricia Veley-First Flight Farm
    Boerne, Texas
    830-537-4150 phone/830-537-4154 fax
    FFF Page on Facebook: Become a fan!
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    • #3
      There are vets offering the very same service you're contemplating. I think you will find that it's impossible to just stay with the reproductive side of the business and will still have to offer ambulatory services for follow-up ultrasounds, mare and foal checks, etc. etc.

      As a breeder for the last 25 years, I'm looking for a vet that is very good at his specialty in order to minimize the amounts of tries. Semen is expensive, so I expect a reasonable success rate given a reproductively sound mare. Ideally, you should have a flat rate schedule for breeding in order to minimize the surprises. More ideally yet, you would participate in the risk by charging a flat rate per pregnancy (but I'm probably dreaming ), again assuming a reproductively sound mare.

      Other than that, I would expect the environment to be clean and horse friendly and the attitude professional.

      Also from my 25-year experience, here are some "don'ts"....

      Don't nickel and dime me to death with little hidden charges (i. e. bio-hazard disposal fee).

      Don't tell me that you hate your job when you're having a bad day.

      Give me some notice before you inform me that you can't find the frozen semen we were going to use on my mare that day.

      Treat me like the paying customer I am - not like you're doing me a favor by breeding my mare.
      Last edited by siegi b.; Jun. 12, 2010, 12:32 PM.
      Siegi Belz
      2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
      Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


      • #4
        Foaling stations

        I used to handle the foaling out of our mares on my own farm, however, I find it less stressful to use the services of a local foaling station. The cost is reasonable ($400 for foaling out each mare), plus a $100/month "mare management fee" if I choose to breed the mares back. This covers the time for the barn owner to schedule the vet appointments, hold my mare for the vet, teasing of the mare (there are 3 stallions on the property), etc. Well worth it for me so that I don't have to take time away from my other job. The board can become costly as they nearly double the board once the foal is born, however, if I am not breeding back the mares, I typically will bring mare and foals home when they are a couple of weeks old (we only live 20 minutes away so an easy haul).

        The barn owner is a licensed vet tech and is quite good at foaling out, even difficult foalings, and can treat many conditions that would require a vet visit. The other huge advantage is the trip charge share with the vet (roughly $95/ranch call) as there is always someone else's horse that will need something from the vet.

        I would never want to foal out at my farm again when the fees are so reasonable - no need to sit up all night waiting for a new foal to arrive!
        www.SanDiegoSporthorses.com - San Diego Sporthorses - breeders of international quality warmblood offspring. Breeder of the year and breeder of many Horse of the Year offspring.


        • #5
          Foaling station

          Just to clarify - the foaling out fees are in addition to the board which runs around $750/month. Board is all inclusive (four servings of hay a day, grain three times a day, feeding of my supplements, turnout, grooming once a week, blanketing, holding mare/foal for the farrier, daily handling of the foal, teaching foal to wear halter and lead, etc.).

          All I have to do is show up and play with my foal and leave (after I write the checks of course!).
          www.SanDiegoSporthorses.com - San Diego Sporthorses - breeders of international quality warmblood offspring. Breeder of the year and breeder of many Horse of the Year offspring.


          • #6
            I sent my mare away to be foaled out. She was foaled out by my repo vet and his wife (who breeds Arabians) at their house. I don't think you can beat having a vet/breeder team. Plus he was able to do foal heat ultrasounds for me right there so we could short cycle her. She did go to the clinic to be bred (today! fingers crossed) just because we are doing frozen and that's where the tank is.

            I want safe fencing, safe stalls, good care by someone who is very knowledgable about all the things that can go wrong, with a good system (cameras, etc.). Turnout with other mares and foals is a bonus, but separate paddocks are good for right after birth and in case something is goofy with the foal and restricted turnout is necessary. Good feed, etc.

            Having someone else do the hauling is wonderful if the mare and foal need to leave the property too. I can rent a stock trailer, but is nice to just have the option to pay someone else to do it so I don't have to take off work.

            And of course normal, polite customer service.
            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone for the replies- keep them coming!

              Seigi- I am sure I will eventually do some off the farm follow ups for expediency if no other reason. I would expect many of my clients/mares will not be as local as in many areas though- thus offering this service.

              Part of the rationale of offering this service is to offer more "flat rate" services. I can do a better job at a much better price at my home farm with good equipment and help. A set of stocks with my US machine always ready to go allows for much more effiency than hauling it all over the countryside. The mares US exams would be all included, no matter the number used per breeding. A set price per pregnancy would be great wouldn't it! But since at least part of the equation is not under my direct control ( the semen) I doubt if that is ever going to be an idea that catches on! I think I would charge a flat fee for shipped, frozen etc. Only add-ons would be drugs that are out of the normal realm etc.

              My personal preference would be to get the mares either 30 days prior to desired breeding or 30 days prior to foaling. I would return the mare or mare and foal after breeding- most likely after 30 day US.

              We would have everything you can think of including cameras, great foaling stalls etc. We already have gorgeous pastures etc.

              I am a vet and would probably hire overnight help to monitor although we would have cameras in the house and the house is 100 yards from the barn. So all foalings would be veterinary assisted if needed.

              We would ( of course) offer preventive care as needed to the mares and foals. We would also offer basic illness/injury if needed but would probably require transfer to a different facility for anything serious mostly for the benefit of our other patients. I think as a broodmare facility we have an obligation to be a "well" horse place. We are able to transport if needed. We would offer all of things it sounds like SD's barn offers.

              We are in the planning stages of a new barn so the time to decide is now.


              • #8
                When I was breeding, I kept my mare at a local breeder's farm that offered these services. They did mare care, foaling out, handled rebreeding - including scheduling/meeting the vet, ordering semen, etc. and also would raise youngsters and bring mares and foals to inspections as needed. The owner was a nurse and an experienced breeder, and her helper was very good with starting groundwork on the youngsters.

                At the time, they charged $300/month for mare care (board, meeting the vet, etc.), $400 for foaling out, another $100/month once the foal was born, and $200/month for a weaned foal, yearling, etc. Their prices included basic ground handling of a foal or yearling - teaching it to lead, stand for the farrier, etc. The young horse person charged $150 month for more advanced work with a 2 or 3 year old (learning to stand for bathing, clipping and learning to load confidently in a trailer). I believe she added on an additional $100/month if you wanted the horse started in tack, lunging, ground driving, etc.

                It was a good and safe place with a nice barn, good pastures for mares/foals, experienced people, etc. Although I am sure their prices have gone up and they have different help now for the young horses, I would still be using that farm if I was still breeding.