Preparing for a Foal at Foot

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For those with a mare in foal this is an exciting time of year with many horse owners welcoming new arrivals. Luckily for the majority of equines the foaling process generally runs smoothly but it is important to have an experienced pair of hands available and to have your veterinarian available on call. Scientific Nutritional Products takes a look at what horse breeders will need to consider and prepare for! 

Once the mare is safely through the 11 month gestation period and the big event of the foaling is on the horizon the attention turns to the birth. In order to foal safely your mare will need a clean, safe and quiet place. For some this will be out in the paddock, but for many it feels more comfortable to be able to monitor our four-legged friends more closely. If you choose to stable your mare the area should be a minimum of 14’ x 14’ and be equipped with ample straw bedding. As mares tend to foal at night ensure you are making regular checks or utilise a video monitoring system for remote surveillance.

In the run up to the birth mares show a variety of signs in the last few weeks and days. These can include the engorgement of the teats, the udder filling with milk, known in equestrian circles as ‘bagging up’, and the presence of colostrum on the teats leaving a yellow waxy secretion visible.

When the exciting moment finally comes and the foal arrives after following the necessary procedures to ensure the umbilical cord has separated and the placenta has been fully passed, encourage the pair to rest as long as possible and give them the time they need to bond.

During this time the mare and foal should be observed closely. The foal should pass the meconium and be bright and alert and making attempts to stand within the first thirty minutes and to feed within two hours. The mare should be supplied with plenty of fresh water and hay and it is important to make regular checks of her temperature to ensure any infections can be picked up and dealt with quickly.

After the initial day it is important to let your mare and foal have access to outdoor space. Weather-permitting short periods of turn out daily in a small grass paddock is ideal.

Correct nutrition will help the mare recover from birth and supplementing the diet is a great way to ensure the mare’s needs are met. Competition Horse Supplement from Scientific Nutritional Products is ideal for broodmares in order to reach their increased need for nutrients, containing over 30 essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, phosphorus and selenium, Vitamin E, A and D.  Click here for more information about our Competition Horse Supplement essential for your broodmare and foal.

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