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Caring for Orphaned Foals & Young Stock

It’s a situation no horse owner looks forward, but it’s one you have to be prepared for during the foaling process – orphaned foals & young stock. Learn how to cope in this article.
Caring for Orphaned Foals & Young Stock

It’s a situation no horse owner looks forward to, but it’s one you have to be prepared for during the foaling process – orphaned foals & young stock. If a foal is left orphaned, it’s important to stay calm and collected and plan a sensible schedule of care.

This process is not always easy, but it’s something that several horse owners have to face every year. Our guide below takes a look at the steps you should take should you find yourself entrusted with caring for an orphaned foal.

Foals & Young Stock: Caring for an Orphaned Foal


In the event of the mare dying, a foal will need regular access to colostrum, or ‘first milk’ as it is sometimes known. Some specialist vets may have a stockpile of colostrum, but if not, a milk replacement will be adequate. Milking should be carried out a regular basis; usually every two hours during the first couple of weeks of the foal’s life.

If you own several horses, there may be merit in seeing whether another mare is prepared to share her milk with the foal – however, this should be observed very carefully, as the mare may reject the foal. If this is the case, bottled milk will suffice.

In the first couple of days following the foal’s birth, consult with a vet on a regular basis – they really will be best placed to advise you should you have any questions in relation to foal care. A vet can also offer practical advice on appropriate care away from feeding, such as when to start introducing training techniques and discipline.

Finally, if at all possible, try and ensure your foal integrates with other horses at an early stage. Unsurprisingly, if the horse is not socialised from an early age, later training may prove challenging, and problems such as depression or lethargy can occur.

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