Tuesday, May 31, 2016

So SO Sad

We took a phone call on Saturday that a mare Evan covered last year had given birth to a big strong colt some time in the early morning. Unfortunately this was a maiden mare and she delivered out in their pasture then ran away and left the colt. Later that morning they found the colt in the wrong pasture brought it up to the mom and they were shocked when the mom wouldn't let him any where near her. The colt lived for 2 days then suddenly got weak and died yesterday. The owner sent the video below of the colt:
THIS is why we monitor maiden mares for their first birth, why we make ourselves extra work putting them in the stall at night before they are due, closely watching their udders and testing the milk sometimes for days. If we are there when the mare gives birth and bring the foal up to the mom's face before she gets up she sniffs, then licks and instinct kicks in. Even after that we still won't trust that a maiden mare will allow the foal to suckle and stick around waiting and watching (sometimes for hours) when all we want to do is crash into a nice soft warm bed. We have seen maiden mares so worried about their foal that they won't let them out of sight and keep whirling facing the foal instead of letting the foal reach under to nurse. In this case we have someone hold the head of the mare not allowing her to move while someone else brings the foal over to the correct end. Once the foal actually nurses again instinct kicks in. We stay and watch the foal try a second time if the mare stands still for that, ah finally bed time for us.
We didn't just KNOW all of this we LIVED this.  Our very first purebred Friesian foal was rejected. Jenis delivered her first foal out in the pasture and rejected it. I found the poor thing the next morning and was shocked when Jenis would not let her near and kicked me as she was trying to kick the foal. Dr. Hoerr was called, he gave us all the information we needed to get Jenis to accept the foal but after a few hours I gave up and hauled the 2 of them to UofI. They hobbled her back legs and kept a student in with them 24 hours a day, after 4 days they still didn't trust her 100% but told us she was no longer trying to kill the filly. About then the filly came down with an umbilical cord infection and the vets there felt we should have surgery to remove the umbilicus. These 2 stayed at UofI for a little more than a week but at the end we had a live filly and a mare that would care for her. The only other time we had this happen I was better prepared and had plenty of help. This time it was a young mare who delivered 3 weeks early. The mare delivered in the paddock then left the poor thing. He was strong, up and walking when we found him and probably a 3 or 4 hours old. We kept someone in the stall with them 24 hours a day, each time the foal got up to nurse the mare was tied, if she tried to kick she was yelled at and threatened and if she persisted she was yelled at and walloped. After a few hours the foal would get up and head over, she would pin her ears and we would raise our hand and yell a long loud drawn out, "Nooooo" and she would stand ok but it took about 3 days before we felt we could trust her to totally accept the colt. I can still remember the relief the first time she couldn't see him and was worried about him. It was only because of our big helpful family we did not have to take them to UofI which saved thousands.


  1. I totally remember the second incident! that was not an easy mare to get to accept her foal! My voice was hoarse (pun intended) for a few days after that from yelling at her!

    1. It was a good learning experience for all of us but hopefully one we will never have to use again. Exhausting!