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How to care for your Foal

Posted on 25 September 2016

Foaling is an exciting time. You’ve waited 11 long months of your mare’s pregnancy and you are looking forward to meeting the new baby.

Are you ready to care for the foal?

MAKING THE ENVIRONMENT SAFE FOR YOUR  FOAL

  1. Is the paddock is safe for a newborn? Ensure there are no gaps in fences that the foal can get stuck in. A paddock with small chicken wire, or with post and rail is recommended. The foal shouldn't go too close to the fence, but they often do silly things!

  2. Is there is a shelter from prevailing weather? A simple shelter would be sufficient, however, a stable is warmer, and protect the foal from the sun, rain, wind or the cold.

  3. Is there an area big enough that the foal can run and play? This helps the foal increase its muscles and allows it to find their legs. If you watch a newborn, they are leggy and look like their on stilts.

  4. Do you have a smaller paddock that you have access to? The foal may need vaccinations or the mare may need treatment, a smaller paddock means you don't have to run after the mare whist scaring the foal.

The fence should be high enough that the mare can not jump the fence. Foals and weanlings often jump fences to be with other horses if stressed, so it needs to be at least 1.5m high.

  1. Are the feed troughs safe & have no sharp or pointy bits? Usually a rubber dish or a tyre feeder are great. You can also use a bathtub, making sure it has no sharp edges.

  2. Is water available? The mare and foal should have ade- quate water, and have unrestricted access to it. Water allows milk to be produced. Although the foal won't drink it like the mare, the foal will play with it.

CARING FOR YOUR FOAL

  1. Feeding the mare and foal. Certain feeds may need to be decreased and others increased depending on the current weight of the mare, breed and age as well as if you are showing the mare and foal or if the mare is a broodmare. The following feeds are a basic recommendation for a basic feeding ratio. Keep in mind that some feed wouldn't suit all horses and that it depends on access & availability

    • Lucerne chaff: Provides the mare and foal with the correct amount of calcium, which makes the milk and helps the foal develop.

    • Oaten chaff: A bulking feed, commonly used as a filler.

    • Grain/Cereal is often a feed that is reduced once the mare has foaled, however, it puts weight back on the mares, can increase milk production and the foals often are much better & gain weight faster

    • Vitamin supplements: Help to improve the milk and when weaning the foal.

These are the basic feeds, you can also buy pre-mixed mare and foal feeds, which are excellent.

  1. When feeding, provide the mare and foal with enough to fill 2 small buckets. You can wet the food or moisten it, which makes it more palatable. Make sure you remove any left over feed at the next feed  time,  as the feed  may become sour and may cause colic.

3.  Use molasses, to encourage the foal to nibble at the  feed.This makes it easier when weaning.

  1. In horses, "What goes in comes back out" Grown horses usually defecate about 12 times a day, depending on climate, feed and workload. Foals only defecate about 6 to 12 times a day. Watch the foal and if it has manure around its bottom and looks to be constipated, seek vet advice. Remove manure from the paddock every day, as  this will remove the worm population. Foals often will eat the mare's manure-though gross, it's normal.

  2. If you worm the mare, the worms will be gone? TRUE!  But make sure you get a wormer paste that is suited for foals, even though you are not worming the foal, the wormer will be passed onto the foal through the milk and the manure

  3. Remove any obstacles such as rugs, (on or off horse) as the foal may become entangled. As well as buckets with handles, wire or rope

  4. Have a large ball or something for the foal to play with. The foal will be less likely to crib or windsuck, even at this young age.

Monitor  your  foals  and mares progress.     If  you think that something is wrong, contact your vet.

E foal is a paste that is made for foals and weanlings

DIRECT FED MICROBIAL PASTE FOR FOALS

Containing a source of Lactase which can hydrolyze lactose into glucose and galactose and a source of live (viable) naturally occurring microorganisms. Guaranteed Analysis:

Viable microorganisms producing lactic acid , minimum 400 million CFU/gm (Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium) Lactase (Aspergillus oryzae, minimum 167 ALU (acid Lactase Units/gm

See the e-foal product

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