So my mare lost her foal a week ago today. This foal lost its mom yesterday.The foal is about 5 weeks old. I would love to hear some of the ways that have worked and not worked for people to have a mare take another mares foal. I have a call into my vet also...
I have heard of horses taking another foal. I am not sure how to go about it. But mares do steal foals, so perhaps it will work out? I hope the vet can help you. I am so sorry and I echo Diana's comment that some good comes out of this.
From seeing foals being fostered before the mare was blindfolded and sedated and held, the foal was introduced to her, it takes a bit of time sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. Hopefully it'll work out well for your mare and the orphan foal
So, in a case like this, it would make sense to call a Nursemare service and ask questions. They have experence in putting Mares and Foals together for a liveing. Sandy gets calls like this all the time. Its what the do.
Leonard - perhaps seeing as you are experienced in this (being Sandy's Nursemare's husband) you can add something to the thread publicly that will assist? It would be most appreciated, and will help other people rather than just the one that's on the phone... The idea is that it's a public board! We're all here volunteering our input and time to help others!
OK, First, I am not in the Nursemare Business. I don't have the hands on experence Sandy has. Yes, I have foaled out over 800-1000 mares over the almost 30 years with maybe only a handful of real bad foalings. I haven't had the exerence of putting foals on different mares. Nursemares except their foals. Now Jos, befor putting some ideas on this thread, I want to say,that in the past years people used to except advice I posted on different boards. Today things are different. Because a person is connected to a Nursemare business, the advice is not taken as good advice. Some would rather put a foal on a bucket or a water cooler than provide the foal with a real mother, of course there are exceptions. There are those that seek to distroy the Nursemare business,even the breeding business. An activist or rescue operation person would not seek the advice of a Nursemare service. They would rather exploit it. It would not serve the egos of those to ask for help. The foal would loose out because of the way people feel about a Nursemare service. This is why I don't readlly post advice anymore . People don't take the advice anyway. With that said, lets go on. So, in this case there is a 5 week old foal. First the age makes it harder to get a mare to except it in the first place. Contrary to what people believe, it is not normal for horses to let other foals nurse other than their own. When it does occure it is an exception to the rule. Not to say some mares do let other foals nurse. So we are trying to fool the mare in excepting this 5 week foal. As stated above a blindfoald is helpful, add some Vix or other strong smell to the nose of the mare. Aways be careful you don't burn the nose or use some harmful substance. Use a foal blanket or make a sheet to go over the foal. Make it so it will stay on the foal, maybe for days. If the mare just lost its foal put the blanket on the dead foal or rub its sent all over the blanket. Then put it on the live foal. put the vix or.. on the exposed parts of the foal. Holding the mare is ok but, make sure she doesn't get to smell the foal at first. Let the foal nurse and as this relaxes the mare and she is ok with the foal let her smell the foals blanket first. Watch her reactins. always watch her reactions, (especialy a Maiden mare) If things don't seem to be working at first wait a while and get someone to walk a stallion down the isle. Even another mare will sometimes work. If you see any signs of protection from your mare, things are looking up. Now if all this is still not working, you have to take other measures. You can't stand in the stall with her forever. You will have to construct a barrier accross the stall. Sandy likes to use a cargo strap. 2 inch wide or you can use a plank 2x8-10. It has to be the height of the mares side and the width of the mare. No bigger. Constrain the mare to standing in that one spot. Put hay bales behind her, up tight to her. Tie her tight to the front of the stall leaveing enough slack so she can eat and drink. Put up a hay bag and a water bucket in front of her. Sandy like to use a muck tub for water. It catches the hay too. If you do this the foal can nures under the board witout the mare bitting it or kicking it. If the mare is a real kicker, tie one leg up to her halter. ( I know this is so inhumane) But sometimes we have to put the foals well being befor making the mare. uncomfortable. Some mares will take the foal in a heartbeat and others will take longer or not at all. Keep in mind your trying to fool the mare, be strict. Pay attention. This is hard work, not a lovey dovey experence. The key is fooling the mare into thinking the foal is hers. Every mare is different. This will work with most. The younger the foal the better the chances. Of course the handler of the mare be experenced or have common sense tward mares and foals.Best to all
To do with my above post. It should be noted, that any process, that has to do with putting a foal on a mare, (getting a mare to except an orphan foal) can be dangerious to the person or persons attempting it. Even the foal can be hurt or worse. The above post can be used for Maiden Mares that are not excepting their foals. Mares that have been brought into milk with drugs and Mares that have weaned their foals. Always use methods like this with Mares that are not so aggressive,hyper or just plain nuts. You get what I'm saying. Mare that have been brought into milk with drugs can be a real handful. People don't understand that the mare has to want the foal. Just because she has milk don't mean that she will want to be a mother. Now you have to get her to except the foal. Sometimes its a walk in the park so to speek. Other times its a nigtmare. I have heard of handlers being sent to the hospital and even worse. At one Vet college, there were 3 people hurt by a TB mare and I mean real hurt. My wife gets calls on this subject all the time. She ends up bringing a Nursemare in mist if the time. With any of the above problems,most of the time a Nursemare is the best way to raise an orphn foal. People don't get hurt useing a Nursemare. Law suites are mostly unheard of in cases of a nursemare hurting someone. Now one other thing. I see this on many boards when talking about orphan foals. Its the asking the Vet. I once seen a post where a person that I reconized as a Knowledgable Breeder and Orphan Foal raiser. He gave advice that was on the money. The reciever of that advice wanted to ask her Vetabout it. OK thats fine but Vets as a rule know nothing about the interactions of Mares and Foals. How to get them together or anything that will help get them together. Vets give shots and speculate,save lives and mend hurts. They are not experts in te field of Nursemares or orphans. later
Leonard, I am a real novice, but what you say makes a lot of sense to me. Sometimes, an experienced handler will know more than the vet does. We have to choose who we listen to.
There are extremists everywhere, who, as you pointed out, want all breeding to stop. I respect that the activists have good intentions, but it is my opinion that there has to be a middle ground. With that being said, I think this board would be a receptive place for your valuable information to be posted. As you probably know, Jos does not tolerate abuse.
Okay, having said all that, I found your information very interesting. Seeing my mares (who live side by side and are great buddies) reject any advance of the other's foal, I've often wondered how anyone would manage to have a mare foster another's foal. Thanks for the education.
When a farm ends up with an orphan Foal, for whatever reason, it costs money to raise that foal. A decision has to be made as to wether to get a Nursemare. Some ask the vet. Some have to make their own decision. Questions are.... is there time to care for an orphan,feeding, cleaning etc.? is there someone at the farm to do this.? Does the family get short changed by the foal taking up so much time? Does the owner have a time comsuming job. There are lots of questions to be answered befor a Nursemare can be ruled out. Most of the time the cost of a Nursemare is cheaper than trying to raise the foal without a Nursemare. A vet can't make the decisions for you. But if your going to raise the foal without a nursemare, Someone with the experence should be asked for pointers. Vets don't raise Foals. Nursemare farms do. My wife has a Nursemare Service. A little different than a nursemare farm. Some of her biggest clients are Vets. These Vets are either residents of big farms or own them. Some vets call her for advice in raiseing foals and putting Mares and Foals together. Thats an example. Nursemares are exceptionly good at raiseing another mares foal.its their job. There are times when a Nursemare won't except and there is most likely a reason. Like the smell of dsmo. There are also ways to counter those problems. As for activists, they have no reasons only their agendas.
What do you think about hobbles in the hindlegs if the mare's a kicker? Wouldn't that work the same, particularly with bales of hay behind the mare?
After being involved with a few fosterings over the years (employing the services of a Nursemare Service) I've noticed that the breed of the mare does make a difference. The cobs we've had have rarely disappointed, whereas I can't imagine a TB taking a strange foal. Am I correct with this?
Some Nursemare people use hobbles, Yes even use whips, blindfolds and screem harsh words and comands to try to intimadate the mare into excepting the foal. Ya gota wonder. ( my wife used to run into this all the time) She replaced many of these mares with her Nursemares. If you have to, the best way is to tie a rope,strap to the hind leg and tie it to the halter, tight enough so she can't kick. Keeping the hind leg foward. Breed of mare, most likely comes into play, yes. Sandy has mostly Apps or App cross. She has TBs. too . Not many but she has had good suckcess with the ones she has. She also has shires and crosses.Not many of those. Quaters and Hanavarian cross. Most all have the App somewhere. Its all in the disposition of the mare after she has foaled. Some mares are just as sweet... then after they foal they are completely different, and the other way around. Apps seem to have a more motherly way about them, thats why Sandy uses them and started her herd with them. It all started with the mare she rode accross the USA in the great American Horse race back in 1976, Sugar. Sugar was the first Nursemare. Most of all Sandys Nursemares are generations of Apps. Arabs are the only breed I would stay away from as a Nursemare as they are the most common to reject their own foal.
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