Foals & Young Stock: Preparing to Deliver a Foal
Any responsible horse owner needs to approach the foaling season with plenty of care, as during this time, both mare and foal could be in danger without outside assistance.
Even if the foaling process seems to be going smoothly, there is always potential for something to go wrong, and for this reason, your intervention may be required to ensure a safe birth. Learn more about caring for foals & young stock during the birthing process in this guide.
Delivering a Foal: Essential Advice
First of all, try and establish a healthy working relationship with your local vet in the weeks leading up to foaling season – remember, the expert medical advice of a vet could make all the difference should problems occur during birthing. Arrange a pre-foaling schedule of essential vaccinations and ask the vet whether they have any helpful advice for how to react post-birth.
In most cases, a little organisation prior to foaling can help to make all the difference. Try and collect together a foaling kit well in advance of the foal’s expected due date. Items to consider for the kit include towels (for cleaning up the foal), baling twine, lubricants, mineral oils, a thermometer and a syringe in case of emergencies.
Always provide a comfortable birthing environment for the mare – preferably an isolated space with plenty of straw and bedding. Clear the space of any dangerous implements and allow a small amount of light to seep into the area.
In the days leading up to birth, check the mare very closely for signs of an impending delivery. Inspect the mare for signs of milk in the udder and wax on the teats, as these signs can often indicate foaling is imminent. Finally, you can often tell when the foal is about to arrive as the mare may start pacing or lying down.
When the inevitable happens, stay calm – most of the time the birthing process will be fairly smooth. However, if the mare begins to experience trouble, or seems to take far longer to give birth than expected, it’s always best to consult with the nearest vet as quickly as possible.
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