I have a question about moving my mare and her 5 day old foal into a different pen. I've heard about how a mare should be in the same area she is going to foal in for a few weeks prior to foaling in order to build up antibodies for that specific environment that she can pass on to the foal. Will moving her to a different pen make a difference? The pen they are in right now is the same pen the mare has been in for the last couple of months. The reason I want to move them is because this pen doesn't have a shed in it and we have just had a change in weather, as in several inches of wet snow, so poor baby is wet and cold with no overhead shelter. I would like to move them into a pen with a large shed which has straw left in it from when some cattle were staying in the pen a few weeks ago. Will this be much of a problem? How soon does a foal start producing antibodies of it's own? And will a short move like that make much difference as far as what kind of antibodies they need? I would really like to get the baby in an area where she can have shelter and a nice warm bed.
Another question I have is about my other mare who is due to foal soon as well. I only have the two pens to keep my horses in and I have the two mares seperated right now because I don't want the expecting mare to be in with the other mare and her foal. Once she foals I would like to put them together. So will it make a difference moving her one pen over after the foal is born? Or is the antibody thing mostly just an issue when moving to a different farm?
If you're moving a few stalls down in the same barn, it's probably not an issue. If however you're moving to a completely different barn, or the mare has been kept out at pasture and is then being brought into the barn to foal, that may be a significant issue. It takes 30-45 days for maximal antibody levels to be reached.
Think of it as a family living in a house that all have the 'flu. Right next door, the people may not have the 'flu. Then a few months later, another outbreak of 'flu occurs, and the family that was already exposed doesn't get it (as they have antibodies to the 'flu), whereas the family that didn't get it before do get it this time, even though they lived right next door to the family that had it previously.
It's all a matter of exposure.
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