Pregnant mare How to's

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Sassy_Frazzle, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Sassy_Frazzle

    Sassy_Frazzle Senior Member

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    Today I Traded My Arab mare off for an older, greenbroke and pregnant...Paint mare. Of Course I was ecstatic when the owner told me about her being in foal. However...The only other pregnant horse I ever owned was my first and she died due to unknown causes as did the foal. Ever since then, I stayed away from owning or breeding any horses. I was afraid that it was I who had done something to cause Lady to die early (she was only 15!!).:no:

    But, this was a good Idea for both me and my level of experience. The owners loved my farm, loved sassy and thought that trading their horse would give her and the foal a good chance. :wink:

    SO...
    here are some questions for you avid breeders..
    I have been told to go to my vet, but I want to know what I can do to keep her healthy.

    When during the pregnancy is best to have the vet out to check?? Should he come out multiple times to make sure the mare is going along safely?

    What do I feed and how much?

    How do I prepare for the foal? the birth?

    Is there any particular way to tell she is coming into labor?

    Are there any signs that she is in her third trimester?

    Would It be a good Idea to separate her from my gelding before she gives birth?

    How do I wrap her tail before she gives birth?

    Imprint Methods?

    Weaning Methods?


    Thanks in advance for all of your awnsers to my questions...

    It is storming here and I just about jumped clear outta my chair from the thunder..lol:)
     
  2. Palleh

    Palleh Full Member

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    Okay I got this from a website. :)
    Managing Your Pregnant Mare

    Proper mare management is essential to ensure the birth of a live, healthy foal with the greatest probability of survival and success in performance.
    To breed efficiently, your mare must be in proper body condition. Thin mares do not become pregnant or maintain pregnancy as readily as moderate or fleshy mares; however, lower milk production and foal growth are observed in very fat mares.
    It's advisable to do a follow-up pregnancy check on all bred mares in the fall even if previous checks and pregnancy determinants were done.


    Health care

    To provide the best protection for your mare and her foal, follow your veterinarian's recommended vaccination, deworming, and hoof-care program. Deworm your mare every 2 months throughout pregnancy except in the last 30 days. Do not give your mare unnecessary drugs during the first 60 days, nor during the last 30 days of pregnancy.
    Feeding

    Keep your mare in a consistent body condition rather than allowing her to gain or lose weight. If the mare is in proper body condition and the pasture plentiful, supplementing the ration probably is unnecessary. If the pasture is questionable, adjust your horse's diet according to its individual needs as assessed by body condition. Make sure clear, fresh water and trace mineralized salt are available at all times, and at all ages, weights, and periods of gestation. (You can calculate feeding rations by using NRC feeding recommendations.)
    Mares have only a maintenance nutritional requirement during the first 8 months of gestation. Most fetal growth occurs during the last third of pregnancy, thus the nutritional requirements, especially for proteins, minerals, and vitamins are greatest during this period. Pregnant mares need to be in desired body condition prior to the last trimester, thus the second trimester is the best time to feed them to achieve the desired healthy condition.
    The mare's greatest nutritional demands occur during early lactation. Milk production increases during the first 30 to 60 days, then steadily declines.
    Your mare should have access to a properly balanced ration that satisfies her increased lactation requirements. A mare can, however, lactate successfully on pasture alone if her nutrition requirements are being met. If pasture is not available, adjust your horse's complete ration to maintain lactation and body condition according to the NRC feeding guidelines.


    Foaling preparation

    Foals are born with a low level of immunity. Colostrum, the first milk, contains immunoglobulins, which provide protection until the foal's immune system becomes functional. About 30 days prior to foaling, move the mare to the stall where she will foal. This allows her to produce protective antibodies against the microorganisms in the environment, and subsequently, to pass these to the foal in the colostrum.
    Length of gestation normally is 342 days, plus or minus 20 days. The mare's udder may become noticeably distended about 2 to 6 days before foaling, and the teats enlarge. "Wax beads," which actually are drops of colostrum, appear on the ends of the teats about 2 to 4 days prior to foaling. The mare may be uneasy for several days before her labor starts.
    Just before foaling, the mare's croup muscles relax, producing a sunken appearance over the hips, and the point of the buttock becomes very accentuated. The vulva also relaxes and swells. Also, the mare may become restless, walk the stall (if confined), urinate frequently, and start to sweat. Some mares foal with no visible sign of impending labor. Keeping a record of each mare's pregnancies also may be helpful, as they tend to repeat gestation length each year.
    A properly prepared foaling stall reduces the risk of disease and death to newborn foals. You may allow mares to foal outdoors in small, clean, grass paddocks with shelter; however, other horses should not be with the mare when she foals. The preferred box stall size is 14 by 14 ft. Size is important, but cleanliness is critical. Diarrhea, a major health problem of foals, can be greatly reduced by good management practices.
    Locate the foaling stall so the mare can be observed inconspicuously. If foaling problems occur, such as a wrong fetal position, time is critical, and assistance is required immediately.
    Straw (wheat, rye, or barley) is the preferred bedding material-not shavings or sawdust. Shavings and sawdust cling to the foal and afterbirth, making it difficult to clean the foal and inspect the afterbirth.
    Any material used may harbor microorganisms that can infect the foal. This is why it's advisable to thoroughly disinfect the foaling facility prior to foaling, and to use good hygiene in preparing mares for foaling by disinfecting external genitalia and udder, and wrapping the tail.


    Foaling

    Labor occurs in three distinct stages. In stage one, the mare is restless. This may continue for 12 to 24 hours. During this period, the fetus is positioned for delivery and the cervix is dilated. This stage ends with the rupture of the chorioallantoic membrane ("breaking of the water bag"), which lubricates the birth canal and aides in delivery of the foal.
    The actual birth or hard labor is stage two. It usually is rapid, with most foals born in 20 to 30 minutes. In a normal presentation, the foal's front feet appear first, with heels pointed down toward the mare's hocks. If you do not see the foal's front feet and head after 5 to 10 minutes of hard labor, get the mare up and keep her walking until the veterinarian arrives.
    In a normal delivery, the foal's nose should be lying on or about the knees. One front leg usually is slightly forward of the other, speeding the foal's movement through the birth canal. After the head exits the vulva, you may see a clear, transparent membrane (amnion), which covers the legs and head. If this membrane does not rupture and free the foal's head, open it and free the head so the foal can breathe. The foal's hind feet usually remain in the mare 5 to 15 minutes after foaling, while the foal and mare lie resting. It's best not to disturb them while the umbilical cord is still connected. Premature breaking of the umbilical cord by the mare, foal, or human may result in a loss of very important fetal blood supply.
    In stage three, the uterus shrinks and the placenta (afterbirth) is expelled normally without assistance. Never try to remove the placenta. If the placenta is still attached after 2 to 3 hours, call your veterinarian because it may result in a medical emergency. Save the afterbirth for the veterinarian to examine. Store it in a clean garbage bag.


    After-foaling mare care

    It's important to monitor the mare and foal for the first 48 to 72 hours. Even though foaling takes only 20 to 30 minutes, it tires the mare. It's important that the dam and foal bond, so it's best to leave them alone if there is no problem requiring immediate attention.
    Some maiden mares try to move away from the foal, especially when it tries to nurse. It's advisable to attend the foaling of all maiden mares to ensure safe delivery and bonding. If the mare does not accept the foal readily, you may need to restrain the mare while the foal nurses its first few times.
    Mares usually are thirsty after foaling. Offer your mare slightly warm water; but do not let her drink too much at once. She also may be hungry, and one option is to try feeding a wet-bran mash. The bran mash may help move material through her digestive system, and keeps her feces soft. This aids in the mare's comfort since her reproductive tract probably will be bruised.
    Allow the mare and foal outside for exercise in a small paddock or pasture the day after birth. Exercise may aid the mare in expelling uterine discharge and speeds the return of the uterus to normal condition.
    A foul-smelling uterine discharge indicates a uterine infection, which requires medical attention. A swollen, feverish udder is an indication the foal has not nursed or the mare may have mastitis. If the foal has not nursed within the first 3 hours, there probably are problems that require medical attention.


    Conclusion

    The mare owner who decides for pleasure or profit to breed a mare and raise a foal will find it a challenging but rewarding experience. A working knowledge of pregnant mare management should help you properly prepare for a safe, healthy delivery for both mare and foal.
     
  3. PrincessNSH

    PrincessNSH Senior Member

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    Do you have pictures of your new girl? She sounds like she will have a good home. Good Luck
     
  4. Sassy_Frazzle

    Sassy_Frazzle Senior Member

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    Nope, I have only seen photos of her on the lady's cell phone. She's a tri-colored bay tobiano. Doubt she's registered, but papers don't matter to me since I'm not much of a shower.

    You should expect pictures around or on the 3rd of July, when she will be trailered here. Maybe some vids. in between if the owners can figure it out.

    Thanks Palleh! that info'll come in handy!


    mmm...another question. My horses and farm are now just getting cleared of strangles, so should I quarantine the new mare for a couple of weeks before I turn her out with my gelding?

    Also, I know the strangles is cleared up because the bacteria don't survive, but would it be a good Idea to get this new mare vacc. with the strangles med..?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  5. pantha11

    pantha11 Senior Member+

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    You have been given some really good advice, and I wish that was all there was.

    If this mare has foaled before, have a chat with the owner and find out if she had any problems...and what signs did she dispay.

    Here is some more info for you.

    When she is getting closer to foaling....this is what you will notice/see.
    Jelly like on the rump either side of the tail...up to two weeks prior.
    Top of tail hair will become frizzy.
    Udder will become firm and milk may drip....but there are the few that milk up as the foal is being born..and some do not at all....(this is not very often, but still worth a mention)...but have a chat with your vet about it.
    Teats may get wax on the tips.
    There poo also becomes smaller and they wee more often...this indicates the mare is cleaning herself out preparing for labour.

    Many mares’ exhibit behaviour changes-during the last few weeks of gestation a mare can become cranky, restless and as she enters the 1st stage of labour, the mare usually wants to be left alone.
    She may walk continually in pasture or stall, switch her tail, look at her sides, kick at her abdomen. These signs are also indicative of colic, but if the mare eats, drinks, defecates, urinates frequently then the first stage of labour is probably in progress.

    Within the last 24-48 hours before foaling the mares vulva will swell and relax in preparation to stretching several times it's normal size...it becomes really smooth (no wrinkles).
    If you can look inside the vagina, it will change colour from normal red/pink to very red....a real tell tale they will foal within 24 hrs.
    Check the tail…if it is so relaxed that you can bring it up and over her back with no resistance, you are getting REALLY close.

    Just before the birth.

    First stage

    The outward signs are, restlessness, sweating-As labour approaches the mare often breaks into a sweat, there neck, flanks may feel warm and damp or a general sweat over all the body may occur, as the uterine contractions become more severe, the mare may become very nervous, pacing, walking fence lines, looking at her flanks, kicking at her abdomen, she may paw the ground, may even get up and down several times to help position the foal.

    Pastured mares usually move away from other mares and may seek an isolated corner of the paddock....I would highly suggest you separate the mare from any other horses....I have seen other mares try and take foals...I have also seen some gelding try to kill foals.
    While some mares show few signs during this stage others show marked distress for several hours. Transitory contractions that occur without cervical dilatation cause the mare to show signs of distress then “cool off " several times before the foal actually moves into the birth canal.
    The end of the first stage is marked by rupture of the allantoic membrane . .This usually occurs 1-4 hours after the onset of the first stage.

    Here is some after birth tips.
    The foal start eating mums poo....sound horrid.
    It's how a foal populates his gut with "good" bacterial flora. So it's completely normal and actually a good thing.

    There are certain bacteria’s that the foal needs in its gut that it does not have, to help digest its food and this bacteria is started by eating mom's poo and taking in the bacteria through her droppings.

    Foal heat, or "ninth day diarrhea" (which actually occurs form days 6 to 14), affects nearly all newborn foals.
    The stools are soft, pasty-yellow, and not profuse. The foal appears unaffected, remains bright and alert, and nurses at regular intervals. The diarrhea usually lasts fewer than 7 days...any more and you should contact you vet.

    There may be other things that happen during the pregnancy..too many to type, if you have issues come on here and ask...or/and contact your vet.

    You will also need a foaling kit....maybe someone else can give you that info, if not pm me and I will give you the details.

    Hope that helps you.
     
  6. Sassy_Frazzle

    Sassy_Frazzle Senior Member

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    Thanks Pantha...I did not know THIS much about birthing. Before I got on and asked qusetions, All I knew was that the mare had to be kept inside and watched to make sure she dosen't have issues. It will be a chore, I know, but this will be a great experience for me!

    I only have one other horse, a gelding, and a couple of donkeys, so I will be sure to move her in during her third trimester. I have a small paddock on the west side of the horse barn that I can close off for her and the foal to play in. I will have to put up a couple of corral panels to prevent the foal from getting into the barbedwire fencing on the north end of the paddock.

    I will most likey sell the foal to wean it after it is 5 or 6 mo. old...does this sound about right?

    Also, If I decide to breed the mare (most likely with a mammoth jack donkey) when is the best time to do so??

    Expect a PM coming about that Foal kit. I don't like making small useless threads.
     
  7. pantha11

    pantha11 Senior Member+

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    Hope that help you.
     
  8. jedy

    jedy Senior Member

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    I'd say get a good book, and watch as many foalings on you tube as you can find. There's so much more to know!!!
     
  9. Palleh

    Palleh Full Member

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    Oooohkay... me got some more advice.. some stuff might be the same but yeah... hope this helps
    CARE OF MARE UP TO START OF 9th MONTH OF PREGNANCY
    1. The mare must have access to good quality grazing, with clean water and shelter available in the paddock.

    2. The mare should receive regular, light exercise.
    3. If the mare appears to be loosing condition, supplementary feeding should be started. This may only require the addition of a kilo of concentrates to her feed, but might have to be adjusted depending on conditions. A good quality premix such as Barastoc Stableking Mare and Foal pellets is recommended. This will ensure an adequate balance of minerals and vitamins with a sufficient energy and protein intake. If you mix your own rations the nutrients in the contents should add up to match the following table with the total amount of feed totalling 2 to 2.5% of the body weight per day, including good quality hay and pasture.
    In cold weather the mare should have access to good quality hay, which will help keep her warm. The feeding of just lucerne hay is not recommended as it may upset the calcium phosphorus ratio in the total feed due to the high calcium content in the lucerne.
    The feed should be given to the mare over two, preferably three meals a day. Feeding times should be kept regular.
    [​IMG]
    The feed that is to be used during the rest of the pregnancy and while the mare is lactating should be introduced to the mare gradually starting in the 8th month of pregnancy if you aren't already supplementary feeding.
    4. The worming program has to continue on a regular basis (every 6 to 8 weeks).
    CARE OF MARE FROM 9th MONTH OF PREGNANCY TO FOALING
    1. A month before foaling the mare should be moved to the foaling paddock. She must have access to good quality grazing, with clean water and shelter available in the paddock and good safe fencing. It should be easily supervised and have lights. Do not separate her from the company of all other horses, but keep one of her friends with her until shortly before she is due to foal.

    A foaling box may be used if desired, but it is safer to use the paddock. If a box is used it should be a minimum of 4 x 8 meters with clean straw bedding. The mare should be used to spending extended periods in the box but must still have access to good grazing during the day.
    2. The mare should be allowed to exercise herself in the paddock, but should not be ridden aside from that.
    3. From 9 months on supplementary feeding will need to be started regardless as the foetus starts developing rapidly from then and the mare requires the extra feed. The feed should be introduced gradually and at the start of the 11th month the concentrates should total the weight in the chart below. Good hay and pasture are also required to make up the total of 2 to 2.5% of the body weight per day. A good quality premix such as Barastoc Stableking Mare and Foal pellets is recommended. This will ensure an adequate balance of minerals and vitamins with a sufficient energy and protein intake. If you mix your own rations the nutrients in the contents should add up to match the following table with a total amount of feed totalling 2 to 2.5% of the body weight per day, including pasture and good hay.
    The feed should be given to the mare over two, preferably three meals a day. Feeding times should be kept regular.
    [​IMG]
    4. The worming program has to continue on a regular basis (every 6 to 8 weeks). A month before foaling a tetanus and strangles booster should be given to the mare. This will protect her and the foal through the colostrum (first milk).
    FOALING
    1. Mares with Caslicks (usually only found on Broodmares) operation should be opened about three weeks before foaling birth by a vet.

    2. Teats fill 4 to 6 days before foaling. A sign of foaling within 2 to 4 days may be the development of a waxy secretion on the teats. This may drop of within 24 hours of foaling.
    3. As foaling often happens at night a foaling alarm may be useful. This activates when the mare lies down flat, which would happen during foaling. Signs of first stage labour may be frequent urination, pain characterised by flank watching, sweating, anxiousness and lying down. Finally the contractions causing the pain rupture the placenta which causes allantoic fluid to escape (breaking of the water). This stage may take anywhere between half an hour to 4 hours. The mare's tail should be bandaged and her perineal area (area around anus and vulva) washed with warm water and mild soap.
    At the start of the second stage the mare is usually lying down, if not human assistance may be required to stop the foal from falling onto the ground when delivered. The mare will be straining intermittently. In a normal delivery the first thing to be delivered through the vulva is a shiny white membrane called the amnion. This may contain some fluid. Do not rupture or try to remove this membrane. Then one front foot, followed shortly by the other, and then nose will be seen. The nose of the foal should be above the feet. The membrane may be cleared from the nose of the foal at this stage.
    After further straining on the mare's part both front legs and the head will be totally outside the mare. If one of the front legs does not get delivered at the same rate as the other one, some gentle assistance may be given to it. This is then rapidly followed by the body of the foal. The hips of the foal followed by the hind legs usually get delivered after a short rest. Do not attempt to pull the foal out. Do not remove any membranes apart from over the foal's nose. Do not break or cut the umbilical cord as it is still delivering blood to the foal. All of this should take about 10 to 20 minutes.
    The mare will turn to lick the foal within 5 to 10 minutes. Movement of the mare and foal will tear and remove any remaining membranes and also break the umbilical cord near the foals belly when it is no longer needed. The umbilical stump should be painted with an iodine solution to prevent any infection.
    The tissues hanging from the mare's vulva should not be removed. The afterbirth should be expelled naturally by the mare within 30 minutes to 3 hours. Put the placenta and the breeding bag aside once expelled for examination. This is vital to make sure that they have been expelled completely and no remnants remain within the mare. This is the last stage of birth. Before the foal suckles, the mare's udder should be washed with warm water and mild soap. All soap must be removed from the udder.
    WHEN TO CALL THE VET
    1. If the mare aborts suddenly other horses should be removed from the mare and aborted foal. Do not place the removed horses in contact with other horses until a veterinary examination has cleared the mare of any disease.

    2. If the mare appears dull and goes of her feed there may be a problem with the pregnancy and she should be examined by a vet.
    3. If the mare does not foal within 11 ­­1/2 months or 345 days she should be examined by a vet.
    4. If any stages of labour last longer then they should, call the vet immediately.
    5. If the mare gives up straining or starts bleeding seriously call the vet immediately.
    6. If the delivery of the foal does not follow the same order as above call the vet immediately.
    7. If there is blood in the fluids expelled from the mare or the amnion isn't white and shiny the foal and mare should be examined by a vet as soon as practical.
    8. If the foal or mare fails to stand or appear distressed call the vet.
    9. Unless experienced in examining the afterbirth, this should be done by a vet as soon as practical (within 4 to 6 hours of birth) to ensure that it has been expelled completely.
    10. If in doubt call the vet. He may be able to give advice over the phone to put your doubts at rest or determine that attendance is required.
     
  10. Sassy_Frazzle

    Sassy_Frazzle Senior Member

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    Thanks!

    If anyone else has something to add, feel free! I'm going to go look at her on Fri. and ask questions about her last baby, so any good questions to ask would be well appreciated...
     

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