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To blanket or not to blanket....that is the question

Equine-Reproduction.com Bulletin Board » Foaling and Immediate Post-foaling Issues » To blanket or not to blanket....that is the question « Previous Next »


Author Message
 

Diana Gilger
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Kdgilger

Post Number: 1634
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008 - 12:17 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello all, hope your Christmas holidays are all that you dreamed of. I was just thinking about foaling season, and realized I have no idea what to do. I have a mare due in the middle of February (In Oklahoma, USA)...where winters are COLD. I have never had a foal in sub freezing temperatures and was wondering this...
Is it better to blanket or not to blanket the foal. I'll be present to dry it as quickly as possible, but don't know if I'll be doing it any favors by blanketing it. Let's say, at night it's 17 degrees when baby is born (and it's likely)....and I dry the foal and blanket it. Won't it be pretty brutal to then take the blanket off when it's (let's say)34 degrees? (which i'd consider a pretty mild winter day)
Or would it be best to simply dry the foal and not blanket it? The foal will be born inside the barn, out of the wind and weather, but it's still COLD! LOL I also intend to leave mare and foal inside for a few days anyway....how long until foals can regulate their own body temperature well? About a week, right? Or no? I'm dying to hear your suggestions. Thanks

(Message edited by kdgilger on December 25, 2008)
 

judy cervantes
Neonate
Username: Coloredpony

Post Number: 9
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008 - 12:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dianan,speaking from my own experience,and keep in mind i live in calif and the colt was born in march,he was very cold and shakeing when he was born my vet said yes he is cold and to put something on him,i had a blanket on him at knight for about 2 weeks, if i were you i would keep the blanket on him/her all day and knight in those temps you have if need be,i think the foal will answer the question for you when it arrives...just my thoughts.
 

Diana Gilger
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Kdgilger

Post Number: 1635
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008 - 12:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

yes, it's going to be pretty brutal going from 100 degrees in utero to wet and 17 degrees after birth! I've had foals in March who never wore a blanket, and then it snowed in April, leaving them freezing...blanketed them then for just a day or so at a month old. I just wondered how the people up north do it when they have winter babies....knowing it's even colder there.
 

Suzanne Paulette
Yearling
Username: Spaulette0001

Post Number: 80
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008 - 08:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We blanket out January and February babies. Most live in their blankets except for those VA days of mid 40's to 50's. We also keep heat lamps in the stall corner so if they need the extra warmth it is there for them.
 

Diana Gilger
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Kdgilger

Post Number: 1637
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008 - 09:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks everyone! I love the idea of heat lamps, but don't think I could sleep at night worrying about burning down the barn....it's so dusty and windy. I just bought a couple of foal blankets online..so I am prepared.
 

Terry Waechter lady in waiting
Breeding Stock
Username: Watchman

Post Number: 359
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Friday, December 26, 2008 - 01:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

another help is deep bedding...the foal can snuggle down into the straw and stay warmer....but I would blanket as often and as much as necessary to keep the foal warm....
 

Bobbi Govro
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Hh_farms

Post Number: 1178
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Friday, December 26, 2008 - 10:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Diana: Coming from Missouri...I'd have to be another one that would say "yes" to the blanket as much as possible. At least for the first few weeks, then I'd take it off when its above freezing temps but put it back on during those below freezing temps. The good thing about foals is they usually have a thicker coat so that helps. I think you're right on with eliminating the wind block and the wet eliments. That in itself is a big boost.
 

Diana Gilger
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Kdgilger

Post Number: 1644
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Friday, December 26, 2008 - 11:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought this would probably be the result, but just wanted to ask. I always wondered how people have foals in winter, especially up north! YIKES
 

Michele
Breeding Stock
Username: Mich

Post Number: 120
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 12:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Foals can't regulate their own temps until a certain age so I would most definitely blanket.
 

Diana Gilger
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Kdgilger

Post Number: 1649
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 12:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

thanks michelle, i knew that was the case, just didn't know what age?
 

Michele
Breeding Stock
Username: Mich

Post Number: 121
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've always considered a neonate to refer to their age up to about 3 weeks old.
 

Tahra Sky 3/14
Breeding Stock
Username: Tahra

Post Number: 215
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 12:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Diana Christmas was everything we could hope for. When Sky was born it was a lovely 9 degrees out. I did have a blanket for him when he went out for the first time and I would put it on him at night. He had a pretty decent coat on when he was born so that helped. I used a heat lamp in the stall and it really helped allot. Remember my stall was a converted garage. The big main door was just a heavy tarp snuged down. I would look into one of the bar heat lamps. The have a reflective back side and you could put it lower for your girls.
 

Diana Gilger
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Kdgilger

Post Number: 1654
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 01:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Tahra, glad to hear your Christmas was enjoyable....bar heat lamps,huh? Do you have a pic or a link? I can't seem to find that? I wonder though, if I hung one from the rafter, not near anything if I'd have to worry about catching anything on fire....I'm going to do some looking into it. I find that my barn is usually about 15 degrees warmer than the outside temperature, just from the way I have it constructed. Then in summer, it's nice and breezy! Of course, the foals will all be bedded well in straw as well.
 

Diana Gilger
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Kdgilger

Post Number: 1656
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 02:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10052&storeId=1000 1&langId=-1&division=FarmTek&productId=168307

these look safe, has anyone ever used them?
 

Tahra Sky 3/14
Breeding Stock
Username: Tahra

Post Number: 216
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 02:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Diana Yes that is what I ment when I said Bar lights. They work reay well and you will be surprised at how warm they are. Also you don't notice it much on your electric bill
 

Diana Gilger
Senior Stallion or Mare
Username: Kdgilger

Post Number: 1669
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 02:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

cool! Thanks Tahra!
 

Cjskip
Breeding Stock
Username: Cjskip

Post Number: 844
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Friday, January 02, 2009 - 02:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm moving to cold country too (Northern Ca.) Lots of snow and some ice. I don't have a foal due of my own, but will be foaling out a mare or two at the community college where I'll be taking classes. It will be interesting to see what they do there for heat. At the present, I don't know when the mare/mares, are "due.:
 

Cjskip
Breeding Stock
Username: Cjskip

Post Number: 845
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Saturday, January 03, 2009 - 09:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

An added note: I learned that horses prefer the temp. of 40's-50's degrees F. Thought it might be useful info.
 

Michele
Breeding Stock
Username: Mich

Post Number: 123
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2009 - 12:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Isn't that a bit cold, esp for a neonate? I read horses prefer 64F (+-18C).
 

Dee Jay
Nursing Foal
Username: Djscoloredcorral

Post Number: 12
Registered: 01-2009
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2009 - 10:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I live in Canada, so we have very cold winters with lots of snow and blowing winds. Personally, I blanket my foals, which I dont start having until late March at the earliest.

I do know of a breeder of very expensive warmbloods that does not blanket at all. The foals are born in the fields and thats where they stay. They have run in sheds to shelter them from the wind, but no blankets, no barns, nothing extra.

It sounds horrid to me, but lets think about it for a second. 100's of years ago, nobody blanketed horses, and what about the wild horses that have survived for generations without any help from mankind.

I try to take a middle ground. I dont blanket my adult horses in winter at all. THey have a run in shed that blocks the wind, but thats it. THey grow very thick coats and are never sick.

WHen the foals arrive, I usually keep them at a neighboring barn for a few weeks so they are not home until mid APril, and even if there is still a foot or two of snow on the ground, the sun is alot warmer and I can blanket on a cold day if necessary.
 

Cjskip
Breeding Stock
Username: Cjskip

Post Number: 850
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2009 - 12:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Michele, I apologize for the confusion, as I was speaking of an adult horse and the thread is about foals. My bad. But I thought it might be a good gauge.

I definitely will be taking note of what the college does to keep their babies warm and if I see anything worth adding, I'll let people know.
 

Tica Clarke
Nursing Foal
Username: Fwsptappy

Post Number: 16
Registered: 03-2009
Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 11:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I find this thread very interesting. I asked my vet this very question when he was here last, if I should buy a blanket for the foal, he didn't even take a second to think about it before he said no. I live in S.W.Colorado.
 

Linda Bauer --Rebel foaled day 333
Breeding Stock
Username: Llazyt

Post Number: 252
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 01:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My foal was born hours before we were in the middle of a big blizzard. I dryed her off and once she was dry she was still shaking so I put a blanket on her. The next morning we were in a full out blizzard and I could not get her to stop shakeing with just 1 blanket I had to put 2 on her. Today is 30+ and sunny and she is out side without a blanket doing great, but I will blanket her at night until I feel she can stay warm on her own.



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