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When mama mare decides not to be a mom

Hi guys - I wanted to write a little post on here to maybe give someone else who is looking for advice on what to do in the same situation that I have been through. To start from the beginning, I bred my wonderfully sweet, maden thoroughbred mare to Cornerstone Farms Amazing. I have had my mare for about 7 years now. Originally, I got her just as a resale project, but after falling in love with her and after she had a minor injury, I decided to keep her. The breeding went super! Very easy AI breeding! She did super all the way through her pregnancy. She went into labor at about 5:30am on the 11th. She did fairly well with pushing him out, but that is when things started going wrong. She laid comatose for probably 20 minutes. I let her lay there for the first maybe 15 minutes knowing she was exhausted but she never acknowledged her colt. She never nickered at him, never picked her head up to look at him, no nothing :frowning: Her colt was born very healthy and HUGE. He was up on his feet before mom. When mom was finally on her feet, we immediately had to put a halter on her. She started acting like a stallion getting ready to breed - bowing her neck, getting blown up, acting aggressively. Then she noticed her colt and got very, very aggressive towards him. We spent the first 14 hours holding her constantly to keep her from trying to hurt her colt. We tried ace, twitching and getting firm with her about him nursing. She would try her darnedest to kick him every single time. He so badly wanted her attention and affection but she wanted no parts of him what so ever. Vet came out to check on them both, they were both very healthy but she wanted to see how mom would act without us holding her or in with them. Her best friend was in the next stall over and mom basically tried to attack her foal every time he even considered coming over to them. My stalls are divided by tongue and groove boards about 3 feet from the floor and then are bars. We had to separate the foal and mom by putting about 2 feet of the boards back up. Every 2 hours for the next 4 days, I brought the mare over to the boards so her colt could nurse. She HATED it and started biting herself whenever it was time for him to nurse. Luckily, we had her best friend in the barn who was practically begging us to give her the colt. She had 2 foals for us in previous years and is a super wonderful mom. So after discussing with my vet, we decided to try hormones on this mare and try to get her to adopt the colt. This is where things started to finally look up. We slowly introduced them by bring new mommy over to meet the colt over the boards we had previously put up. They clicked immediately! The hormones arrived that Tuesday. Amazingly, that morning, she had a small bit of milk! We assume her maternal instincts had kicked in ahead of time! My vet came out and we began the process. First, Annie (adoption mom) was given a sedative, plus the hormones that basically trick her body into thinking she was going through labor and magically having a foal. This was an amazing process to watch! The colt, Cal, was suppose to stand in front of her with his butt to her nose. Somehow, it was like he knew this! He stood right where he was suppose to without us having to hold him there. As she woke up from the sedative, she started licking and nuzzling her new, adopted baby! After she was fully awake, we took down the boards and let them be together. I have never seen a horse be so excited and happy as Cal was! He started running around and jumping in the air! I could’ve cried! :sad smile: I knew I would need to supplement him with milk replacer and was able to pick up a tub of the Land O Lakes mare milk replacer. This took some time to figure out how to get him to drink. I tried a calf bottle, a plastic bottle with a goat nipple, a bucket with a nipple on it and just trying a bucket - none of these worked. I then tried a human baby bottle and kind of blocking him from nursing from mom. This worked super! After a few days of this, I tried having him nurse from the bucket again and he’s totally happy with it! I have never been through any of this with other mares and it was quite difficult. I was very disappointed that Foxy did not want to be a mom but I now understand that some mares just don’t make broodmares. I am so thankful for our older mare being willing to take care of this sweet baby. She is doing a beautiful job with him and loves him like one of her own. I do hope someone who is going through a similar experience can gain some insight on how to make their way through this. If anyone has questions, please feel free to ask away :slight_smile:

Wow, what an amazing story! With a wonderful ending. I’m curious about the hormones given to Annie to make her think she was in labor? So glad Cal has the mom he always deserved.

Thank you for sharing. And what a happy ending.

What a story!! Sounds like a Disney movie spin off!! Sooooo glad it worked out for you and Cal. We had a Clydesdale mare that raised each of her own foals AND 4 that weren’t even hers…and two times… her foal PLUS and orphan and had plenty of milk for all !! There is a special place in Heaven for mares like that!!! Hope things continue to go well.

It happens, glad though you have a mare who is willing to raise him. Will make it much easier on you.

How lucky your other mare took to him so well! Glad it worked out as best it could :slight_smile:

Wow! I’m so glad that worked out! I have a pregnant maiden this year and I worry about this…

What an amazing story. Very happy that you had a willing barn mate to be a surrogate Mommy!!

Maiden mares are scary in that you really have no idea what they are going to be like as a mom. My maiden Mare gave birth this past July. I owned her mom for 19+ years, so I saw how she raised my current Mare.

I was so shocked that this maiden Mare behaved exactly like her mom! I was even calling her the wrong name for the first few days.

I have appreciated all the help my Mare gave me in those first few days. When her filly didn’t want to be caught, my mare would actually block the wall with her butt so the filly couldn’t run around behind her.

On the second day when I was working with the filly on leading with halter and lead rope, Mom actually walked behind her baby and would gently nudge her forward!

I am still in amazement that at least this Mare remembered how she was raised by her momma!