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How To Support Your Mare Through Foaling

by Fiona Lane December 01, 2022

How To Support Your Mare Through Foaling

Supporting your mare through foaling can be challenging, especially if it’s their (or your) first time. One thing you can be sure of, your mare will wait until the middle of the night in the pouring rain on a public holiday to deliver!

All joking aside - foaling is a natural process, so we have a range of natural remedies that can play a supporting role, but they definitely are not a substitute for a vet, so make sure you put their number on speed dial!

Before pregnancy

Before you start breeding make sure you talk to your vet and others who have been through this process and gather as much knowledge and information as you can. You can also start dosing your broodmare with our Mares Plus remedy to support normal hormonal cycling.

During pregnancy

The first thing you should do is contact your vet. Their support, advice and regular checkups during this process will be invaluable, particularly if any issues arise.

You’ll also want to keep your mare in top condition, and that means ensuring they are getting all the nutrition they need to grow a healthy foal. Our Conditioning Tonic can help to support the normal assimilation of essential vitamins and minerals and – like all of the remedies in this blog post – is safe for pregnant and lactating mares.

Pregnant mares will naturally gain weight, and this can put pressure on their hooves resulting in chips and cracks that can let infection in. Our Healthy Hooves remedy can promote absorption of minerals from their normal diet that help to keep hooves strong. This remedy can take 1-2 months to take effect, so starting early is a good idea, especially if they are prone to hoof issues.

If you have a nervous, anxious or easily stressed mare then our Chilled Out Horse might be just what they need. This natural remedy is a feel-good anxiety supplement that calms without side effects.

Preparing for birth

If your mare has foaled before it’s likely they will follow the same pattern. However, if this is their first time, then be prepared, because anything can happen!

Waxing up is usually a sign that the mare will foal within 48 hours, although - of course - they can drop without doing this. Waxing up is caused by leaking colostrum, however if they are running milk get in touch with your vet as it means valuable colostrum is being lost.

Labour can look quite similar to colic, however if the mare is showing any unusual signs of discomfort, call your vet.

During labour

Foaling usually only takes around 15 minutes, so if your mare has been in labour for 30 minutes or is showing signs of distress, call your vet. Once labour starts, write everything down – when labour was noticed, when the bag presented, when her waters broke – just in case you need this for your vet.

After delivery

It’s important to stay with the mare until the afterbirth has been passed – usually within an hour after delivery, but if it’s been 3 or more hours, call your vet. Once delivered, hold the afterbirth up to check that it’s intact - it should look like a pair of dungarees. If you suspect any of it is missing or you have any concerns, take a picture and call your vet. A lot of people get their vet to check the foal and afterbirth once delivered, so keep it aside for a little while just in case the vet wants to inspect it.

If the mare has had a difficult birth, our First Aid Plus - Equine remedy may be useful. This natural remedy supports a normal immune response to pain, swelling and inflammation of soft tissue while also promoting healing of wounds.

Your newborn foal

Your new born foal should be trying to stand around 30 minutes after birth. If they are lethargic or unable to get up after 30 minutes, call your vet.

Within the first 2.5 hours your foal should be trying to feed – if not, call your vet. For the first 24 hours the foal will receive colostrum and after that the mare’s milk should come in. If your mare’s milk production is deficient, our Milk Plus remedy can help - it’s safe for your lactating mare and is competition safe (not swab-able) too.

It’s normal for the foal to take a few days to “unfold” so don’t be overly alarmed by poor confirmation – although if you have any concerns, call your vet.

It’s also important to check your mare is accepting her foal. If she is showing any aggression or over-protectiveness, or is ignoring her foal, call your vet – especially if this means the foal isn’t drinking. Our Mothering Plus remedy is a natural anxiety supplement formulated to support mares who aren’t bonding, are avoiding nursing or being aggressively protective of their new born foal.

If your foal starts to show signs of diarrhea when the mare comes into foaling heat around 5 days after giving birth, then we recommend using our new Foaling Heat Scours remedy. It’s been professionally formulated to help reduce the scouring and hair loss and can be dosed onto the mare’s udder if the foal is shy.  Heat scours is potentially serious in newborn foals, so make sure you talk to your vet.

Weaning

Weaning often happens at around 4-7 months old, and can be a time of emotional and physiological stress for both the mare and her foal. Start dosing with our Weaning Plus - Equine remedy a week before it's time to start the weaning process and continue dosing for two weeks after weaning is complete. 

Enjoy your foal!

 

General Disclaimer

 

 

Always follow dosing instructions. Our remedies are formulated to support the natural immune system of horses, pets, and livestock. We do not claim to treat, medicate or cure any health conditions. If you are worried an animal may be in pain or suffering please contact your veterinarian.

 

 



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