I was given a mare that turns two this month (June '09). I noticed her teats becoming more pronounced and her weight increasing. It is lying low and today I actually felt legs against her belly. The only studs who could have gotten her are her father and her full brother... she is a petite little thing and I do not want to lose her. I can't afford to have the vet out as I was laid off from my day job today. My farrier practice is still in the begining stages, so money is an issue. What can I do to help my Pixie? If she is already bagging up how long are we looking at? HELP!!!!
Have you any pictures of her so assess how far along she looks? When did she start bagging up? Does this mean she was covered as a yearling either by her father or brother? When did these stallions have access to her?
I don't have any pictures but her brother has been with her the entire time and her father is notorious for busting fences. She turned two today, so she must have been covered as a yearling. She is just starting to form teats and you can see how her side bulges (especially on the near side). If her weight was just from feed I don't think it would be dropped below and foward of her ribs. I can feel little legs in there and actually saw her side jump earlier.
If she's already bagging up it depends on the size of the bag, they can start bagging up 6 weeks prior to foaling. Just out of interest why did you keep a yearling filly with her full brother and why are you surprised that she may be in foal having been turned out with a colt for the last two years, she probably is in foal.
I just got her... the woman who gave her to me thinks that mares can't come into heat until they are two or older, so runs all her horses (except her main stud)together. She also thinks that the three year old stud colt doesn't know how to breed, thats why she isn't in any rush to have him cut. Now my pixie is on my farm and no longer has access to either stud, no use griping about the conditions i had no control over... She has stunted growth because her mother died while she was still nursing, so she is very petite... how worried do i need to be?
You were handed some less than favorable conditions. There are definately risks to a pregnancy at her age. While domestic breeders would never consider a breeding that young, it does occasionally occur in the wild. At this point, good feed, worming and current vaccinations are about all you can do for her. I would make sure her area is as foal ready as possible, keep her separated from other horses and keep watching.
It is possible for her to have a completely normal uncomplicated birth - you should just be prepared in case she has trouble. Do you have someone with a lot of foaling experience to assist?
If she does foal, it is going to be imperative that a vet check the foal between 12 and 18 hours old. You may want to see how much the vet charges and find a way to cover it. The foal really needs the IgG test and hopefully the levels will be good. If the foal does not get the proper colostrum from the mare the vet can correct it during that time frame - after that time you will be looking at a very large vet bill or a dead foal. It is one of those things you really can't afford not to have done.
The test is around $25 thru my vet, and a very small price to pay considering the outcome if the foal doesn't get the proper antibodies. This is one thing I do RELIGIOUSLY with my foals..even if they seem to be doing well. A foal without proper antibodies can go downhill quickly. Find a vet who owns horses and is willing to trade your farrier service for farm call fees....that's what I'd do! Not only would it save you for the moment in a low income situation, but you might get a new client out of it too!! I am not worried about the fact that her sire or brother bred her, and you're right, there's nothing you can do about that anyway. What I am worried about is her age vs size. You say she's very petite....how big are the stallions?? If you're just now noticing baby belly and she's already bagging up, you might have a pretty small foal. I'd continue to check her udder and look for the usual signs ...try www.yellowhouseranch.com she has an excellent and helpful website. I don't think I'd have her in pasture with her buddy.....If there's some way to separate them, I'd certainly do it if she were mine. As far as time line goes....some mares bag up 6 wks prior to foaling, and some don't. Maidens are notorious for waiting until the last minute. If you have a digital camera, or access to one, I'd strongly suggest posting photos here, as many of us have been thru this time and time again....it's ALOT easier to help with photos. Also, if you can express milk from her teats, you can test the calcium content to determine how close she is to foaling. Hope anything I said helps. Good luck with your mare, and you've come to the right place!!
I'm sorry James you were put in this situation by the lady who gave you Pixie. What size is the sire, it's probably a good indication of the size the foal will be. If she is small though hopefully she's carrying a small foal. I'd be trying to organise a safe foaling environment either a clean paddock or pen where she is alone or a stable. You'll have to keep a close eye on her as you may need to assist with the foaling considering her size. I'd also be making sure her worming is up to date and she's getting adequate feeding. On the plus side there are a lot of very good equine vet practices in KY, I worked in KY a few years ago, the cost of the IgG depends on if the vet practice can do the IgG in house or of they need to send it off to a lab for testing. The cost should be between $20-$40. If you have access to a digital camera it would be good to see pics. Best of luck with the filly
Thanks a lot. if i get access to a camera I will post pics. A fellow farrier friend of mine came by earlier and palpated her- i know she isn't a vet but she has lots of experience. She is fairly certain we are going to have a baby. The two males that could be the father are both under 15 hands, so I am hoping she will be throwing a little foal.
Jamie, if she is just starting to form her teats and you are definitely feeling the foal kick, she has about 4-6 weeks to go, give or take. The average gestational length is about 340 days, average, but can be as early as 320 and up to even 370 days I read somewhere, although I've never had a mare go that long. Her bag should get increasingly bigger and she will be very sensitive to touching it. Despite her sensitivity, you should handle her udder daily now so the mare won't be bitchy with the foal trying to suckle.
We can try to guestimate when this happened. Prime fertility with mares is between late April to about end June, with moderate fertility still until mid September. Your filly was born in June 2007, so she would be having her first heat by about April 2008. Probably wouldn't take on that first one or two, so we could say she was bred first on June but didn't take, and bred again in late July or even early August. Based on her teats just forming, we could roughly put her at a potential due-date range of between July 15 and August 15, but again, this is give or take! But this can help you narrow things down somewhat. You'll be able to narrow it down further as her bag fills and when and if she starts to form waxlets on her teats. When (if) she starts waxing, she can be 3-14 days away from foaling. Not all mares wax. Not all mares drip either. And just to complicate it further, not all mares fully bag up until they're smack in the middle of labor!
Watch her bag, but also watch the muscle tone of the area beside her tail. If it gets saggy and lax, you are getting close as her pelvic muscles are relaxing to prepare for birth. Her belly might get rather pointy-looking as foal shifts position too. These are just all signs you can watch for to help you determine when foaling is imminent.
You might find her rather hormonal and acting almost heatish to other horses, even mares. This just indicates a change in her hormones.
If you can, start her on Step 1 or other broodmare formula as it has minerals in there that she needs, as well as the foal, because in this last couple months the foal really hogs the nutrition out of a mare. Because your mare is so young, I would also consider putting her on some granular minerals/vitamins complex and keeping her on that indefinitely.
Now would be the time to ensure she is up to date with her Innovator-5 (Eastern/Western Encephalitis, Rhinopneumonitis, Tetanus, influenza), plus Potomac Fever (if indicated in your area), West Nile virus, and in your area of Kentucky, you should consider Rabies if your vet recommends it, because there have been several horses with rabies in a neighboring state.
Now is also the time to deworm her with an Ivermectin based dewormer, such as Eqvalen. Others forms of dewormer are contraindicated in pregnant mares.
Within 12 hours of her foaling out, deworm her again with Quest Plus to remove tapeworm - make sure you measure her body weight and dose her appropriately. This protects the foal from picking up worms in her feces as they tend to nibble on mamma's manure.
She is young - a 2-year-old mare is like a 14-year-old girl having a baby, and the delivery is a bit more high risk. Do make sure you attend the delivery because this can be scary for a maiden mare and you may need to help her realize this critter that suddenly appeared in her stall really is her own baby that she needs to look after. And possibly you may need to halter her and tie her so she will stand still for the foal to nurse the first time.
At least you have the possibility of selling the foal and making some of your money back! Good luck and keep us posted, okay!
All I said, Jos, is that I have never personally had a mare go to 370 days. I'm not arguing with the stats from other sources.
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