My mare is due March 2017. This will be my first time with foaling a mare that I own. Besides the usual foaling kit items, what other things do you find necessary or helpful?
I found a baby monitor quite useful. I invested in one for about $100 that was both sound and visual. Allowed me to sleep comfortably in the barn owner’s house for the few days preceding the birth. After two or three days of hearing and seeing the mare’s normal pattern, it was easy to tell when her time had come! I kept the monitor as someone else was breeding the following year, but you could donate it later if not needed. You may also be able to find a used one on eBay or some other used item place.
Also, the swimming pool pH sticks are cheaper and just as useful as the expensive horse milk testing ones.
Good luck and enjoy the process. I did it for the first and probably only time two years ago and loved every minute of it! Jingles!
Okay great! I’ll add that to the list! Thank you!
Towels if you are going to be there to imprint. You can rub baby down with the towels. doing so also helps get their blood circulation going.
Towels no matter what. Birth is a wet experience. I used the swimming pool/aquarium pH sticks, which worked great. I bought a foal saver blanket in case it was a cold night (April baby in the south), and never unwrapped it, but was glad I had it anyway as the two previous nights had been quite cold. The baby monitor is a great idea, I was spoiled in that I have a pretty good quality remote camera in the barn with night vision that could be remotely operated/turned etc, and boy is that a step up from sleeping in the barn! I had an app on my tablet (and my husband had it installed on his phone and could cast it to the TV in our bedroom), we would wake up many times during the night to check on her remotely and never got out of bed or woke the other person.
If you want to interact with the baby soon after birth, just be mindful not to interfere with the mother/foal bonding process. Too much intervention can harm that crucial bond and exhaust the baby. Let nature take its course (assuming the birth is smooth and uneventful) and be content to be the observer for at least a couple of hours after the birth. That’s what I learned, anyways.
I have always given the new foal a dose of coli endotox to help them from getting the scours.
I like to have some frozen colostrum on hand just in case.
Also ivermectin wormer to give the mare about 4 hours after birth to help prevent the foal from getting infected.
A good foal cam is priceless for allowing you to get some sleep,during those last days. And even better if you upload to the Internet even if you do not make it public, so you can enlist friends to take shifts in foal watch.
Have a twitch handy just in case the new mom won’t let baby nurse at first.
Also a human baby bottle in case baby is slow to get on his feet to nurse. That way you can milk her and feed baby with the bottle to give him well needed strength to help him be strong enough to get on his feet to nurse later.
Heat lamp if you live in an area where it might be cold at time of birth.
The usual saline enema and probiotic paste for baby.
A strong willing person to help if their is a distocia and you need to reposition the foal.
A really sharp folding knife in case you have a thick bag the foal can’t get out of.
Iodine for the foal’s navel.