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Monday, May 12, 2008

Foaling time is over, now the real work begins


Everyone looks forward to the new foals each year and thanks to technology it is easier to ever to watch mares as they get close to foaling time. After years of getting up every hour or sleeping on cots in barns just to miss the wonderful event as you try to catch a nap or run a quick errand, we now have foaling down to a science.

Three years ago we invested in foal cams and a foaling alert system. Now we sleep through the night and don't feel as if we are chained to the barn. We can carry on as usual until the phone rings to alert us of mare laying down and then we log on to the computer to watch the mare in case assistance is required. Isn't technology great?

This year we had a small crop, only 4 foals. All but one were incredibly healthy. The other needed a little help. His mother had dripped milk for over two weeks and didn't provide her foal with adequate colostrum. The foal responded fine and would get up and visit with us each time we went into the stall but as we monitored his behavior from the computer we noticed he was not as active as a normal foal and spent a lot of time laying down. We called the vet early the next morning and as expected he was in need of plasma. Almost immediately the colt recovered and is now doing wonderful. Without the monitoring system we may not have noticed the lethargic behavior as quickly and been able to take the action needed in as timely of manner.

I recommend anyone with mares and foals get a foal cam and a foaling alert system. If you save one foal you will repay yourself hundreds of times over. Anyone interested in the system can contact us or go to our website and see our cameras at the farm. We also have a camera system at the racetrack where owners can log in to see their horses anytime during the day.

Incidentally one of my little boogers kicked the snot out of me a couple of days after he was born. Got to love them though... Now all four are halter broke, picking up there feet and on their way to a good start as being racehorses.

1 comment:

The Robinsons said...

We totally understand the agony and the ecstacy that you go through during foaling time. We are just coming into our breeding season with the first foals due in August.

Even the best laid plans of mice and men dont help when a mare decides that she wants to deliver NOW.

We had a mare last year - first of all she was pronounced not pregnant by the vet at 45days - however we didnt know at the time that his scanning equipment was not all that it should of been. Once you have been around a pregnant mare you know when they start to look "different" and our girl Maddey (Madely Miss) was definitely looking different with 3 months to go.

We had been living through a drought and one night we endured a very bad summer storm (the type that is very normal in Qld in summer) and Maddey decided that it was time to have her foal at 7am in the morning and in the mud.

From that day on the filly that she had (who I called Daisy, believing she was "sweet") has proved to be a candidate for Monty Roberts!

Daisy is coming up to her yearling year (1 August is the official date) and to this day she will not have a bar of me as I was the one to get her up out of the mud, into the dry stable and to force her to feed.

Still, she is healthy, her legs are straight and her feet are good. You're right though, the real work only begins once they have been delivered!

Helen Robinson
Massie Lodge
www.massielodge.com.au