How Long For A Horse To Give Birth? (Solution found)

What time of day do horses give birth?

  • What time of day do horses give birth? Mares typically foal very late at night through the very early hours of the morning. The Cooperative Horse Extension found 80% of foals were born between midnight and 6:00 am.

How long is a horse in labor?

The foal is usually born after 12 to 18 minutes of heavy labor. Maiden mares (mares foaling for the first time) are more likely to take about an hour to expel the fetus. Handlers should be ready to assist if it goes much longer than an hour. Mature mares in labor for more than 30 to 45 minutes may also need assistance.

How long does it take for a mare to foal?

As foaling season approaches, horse owners who are expecting foals this year should know how to recognize the signs of labor in a foaling mare. The normal gestation length for a mare can range from 320 to 360 days, with the average being around 340 days.

How long do horses take to have babies?

Normal mares have a broad range of gestation. It is very normal for mares to carry a fetus for 320 to 380 days. In general 330 days ( 11 months ) is the most commonly cited gestation length.

How do you know when a horse is about to give birth?

The visual signs of a mare’s readiness to foal are:

  • Udder distension begins 2-6 weeks prior to foaling.
  • Relaxation of the muscles of the croup 7-19 days prior to foaling; relaxation around the tail head, buttocks, and lips of the vulva.
  • Teat nipples fill 4-6 days prior to foaling.
  • Waxing of the teats 2-4 days before.

Do horses feel pain during childbirth?

But while they may keep their pain more private, it’s known that many animals show some signs of pain and distress. During labor, horses sometimes sweat, llamas and alpacas bellow or hum in a way similar to when they are injured, and many animals become more aggressive.

Do horses make noises during birth?

A mare makes strains and grunts but otherwise makes little noise while giving birth. Once the foal is delivered, she typically expresses her affection by nickering softly and licking the foal. Her actions indicate that, unlike a human, delivering a baby for horses is not unpleasant, most of the time.

How long do foals stay with their mothers?

Some horsemen wean at around three months, while others leave mare and foal together until the baby is four, five, even six months old. The foal’s precise age isn’t as important as his physical, mental and social development.

How long can you ride a pregnant mare?

Most mares benefit from exercise during pregnancy. Many owners use their mares for rigorous athletic competition (including racing and jumping) up to five months with no problems. You can continue light trail riding until the start of the last month of pregnancy.

Why do horses lick their newborns?

She may lick him to remove any remnants of membrane that remain and to help dry his coat. New mothers tend to be protective of their foals and they may be very aggressive toward other horses.

How many babies can a horse give birth to at once?

How Many Foals Can a Mare Have at Once? Mares typically give birth to one foal per pregnancy. On very rare occasions, she can have twins.

How many times can a horse give birth?

A mare (a female horse) can only produce one foal per year. A mare is capable of producing a foal at about 18 months of age but it’s healthier if the mare is at least four years old since it will have reached her full size. A mare may continue having foals until she is in her late twenties.

How long can a mare delay labor?

The first stage of labor can last one to four hours. The mare, if she feels threatened, perhaps sensing predators or bad weather, is able to delay labor at this point by hours or days.

How long after a mare waxes will she foal?

Waxing occurs in about 95% of mares 6 to 48 hours before foaling, however it can also occur several days before foaling or sometimes not at all. Other tests that are sometimes used to predict foaling in mares are testing of the chemical make-up of the milk and a drop in body temperature the day before foaling.

How can you tell if your horse is pregnant at home?

8 Signs That Your Horse is Pregnant

  1. Absence of An Estrus Cycle May Indicate a Horse Is Pregnant.
  2. Changes in Behaviour & Responses Can Indicate Pregnancy.
  3. Elevated Progesterone Levels Are a Sign a Horse Is Pregnant.
  4. Bloated Stomach Can Be a Sign of Pregnancy.
  5. Changes to Mare’s Udders Can Indicate a Horse Is Pregnant.

How Long It Takes a Horse to Give Birth- the Foaling Process

Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. Thank you in advance for your assistance — I much appreciate it! Several years ago, when my first mare went into labor, I was curious as to how long it took horses to give birth. Knowing how long a mare should take to birth her foal is crucial because you may need to contact a veterinarian if there are any issues during the delivery. After the water breaks, it takes around 15–25 minutes for a horse to give birth.

In general, if a horse takes more than 30 minutes to birth or more than three hours to discharge the placenta, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.

Some people mistake symptoms of labor, so it’s critical to understand what’s going on with the horse, recognize the signs of labor, and realize when things aren’t going as planned during the birth.

How long are horses in labor for?

I’m always concerned about how long my horse will be in labor for when she’s truly pregnant. I once had a foal born in less than 10 minutes, which was completely unexpected. When determining the amount of time a horse is in labor, there are a few other factors that must be taken into consideration, both before and after birth. The length of time your horse is in labor varies depending on the mare. If everything goes perfectly throughout the birth, the labor process might be completed in as little as two hours.

  1. It is possible to split equine work into three stages.
  2. Due to the irregular nature of these contractions, they can cause considerable discomfort.
  3. A person’s strange or distressing conduct may be a sign that labor is imminent.
  4. This phase lasts somewhere between one and four hours on average.
  5. You can tell the difference between this and urinating because a large amount of fluid pours out when the water breaks and the horse often falls down or stops moving.
  6. In about ten minutes, you should be able to observe the amniotic bag and the foal’s front feet emerging from the belly.
  7. The foal should be on the ground in no more than 30 minutes at the maximum.
  8. The third phase begins after the foal is born and finishes when the placenta has been removed from the mare’s womb.
  9. The placenta normally emerges one hour after the birth of the foal.

In most cases, vets consider the horse to be in danger if the placenta has not been removed from the horse’s stomach three hours after the foal is born. It is possible that the placenta will be retained, causing serious issues such as equine laminitis, and in rare cases, death.

What time of day do horses give birth?

I had heard the expression “the foal selects the day, but the mare chooses the hour,” but it had never made any sense to me until I started looking into the foaling schedules of different breeds of horses. One intriguing thing about horses that I learnt is that they have some influence over the time of year in which they give birth. One of the most bizarre things I’ve discovered about horses is their capacity to control the time it takes for them to birth their calves. So, is there a specific time of day that the majority of horses like to work?

  • I know this to be true since it has been true with my horses.
  • Horses have survived in the wild for thousands of years because they have depended on their instincts.
  • According to the notion, by giving birth at night, the mare minimizes the likelihood that predators would attack them while they are in their vulnerable posture.
  • Although it may appear fair that horses choose to give birth at night for their own protection, there may be another explanation, melatonin, explaining this preference.
  • Melatonin has a variety of functions in animals, including acting as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Additionally, the importance of melatonin is linked to other factors connected with horse pregnancy.
  • Melatonin levels that are appropriate for the foal’s age also contribute to the foal’s healthy circadian rhythm.
  • Rather than using a white light source to create melatonin when your mare is giving birth in her stall at night, you should instead use a low-intensity red light source to help her sleep.

Do horses give birth lying down?

People frequently inquire as to whether horses prefer to give birth while laying down or standing up. Perhaps the misconception arises from the fact that giraffes, the strangely resembling horses in appearance, always give birth while standing up. Equine mothers often give birth while lying down on their sides, and the foal emerges from the womb in a position known as the “diving position.” Horses have been known to foal from a standing posture, so if your horse tries this, you should be prepared to hold the foal with your hands.

The umbilical cord provides nourishment and oxygen to the foal while it is still in the mother’s womb, and this process frequently continues after the foal has been born.

As mares give birth to foals while they are laying down, the umbilical chord normally splits when the foal begins to move around or stand.

Because horses give birth standing up, there is a larger likelihood that the umbilical chord may be severed earlier than it should be. Alternatively, the foal gets injured as it strikes the ground.

Can a horse stop labor?

I’ve heard of a couple instances in which a horse seemed to have stopped working on purpose. According to reports, the mare had indications of labor many days before giving birth to the foal. So, is such a scenario even conceivable, let alone safe for the mare? Although a horse cannot stop labor forever, if they are upset during the start of early labor, they can cause it to be delayed for many hours or even days, depending on the circumstances. This method, on the other hand, is not encouraged and may be detrimental to the health of the mare or foal.

At no point should they be bothered in any manner throughout this period.

When riding a pregnant horse, it’s important to keep this information in mind as well.

What is it called when a horse gives birth?

Due to the fact that we are talking about horse birthing terminology, it’s worth noting that the term “foal” is more commonly used than the terms “labor,” “delivery,” and other similar terms to refer to the birth of a newborn horse. In a similar vein, the terms “in labor” and “delivered” are replaced with the terms “foaling” and “foaled,” respectively. “In foal” refers to a pregnant mare who is about to give birth.

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Do horses make noises during birth?

Horses appear to be more at ease when it comes to childbirth as compared to humans. According to research, there is no substantial presence of adrenaline or stress hormones in mares when they are in the process of foaling. While giving birth, a mare emits strains and grunts, but otherwise makes very little noise at all. Typically, when the foal is born, she will demonstrate her appreciation by nickering gently and kissing the newborn’s face. Her behaviors imply that, unlike giving birth to a human child, giving birth to a horse’s child is not unpleasant the majority of the time.

As with many other animals, once a foal is born, the mare does not demonstrate a considerable care for its well-being, with the exception of sometimes calling the foal back if it wanders off.


In most cases, yes, it is possible to ride a pregnant horse. However, keep in mind that horses are individuals, and some horses endure pregnancy far better than others. Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about whether or not your pregnant mare is safe to ride. However, the general belief is that a human may ride a pregnant horse for the most of the time she is pregnant. Here is an article on the subject that you might find useful: Riding a Pregnant Horse (Mare): What to Do and What Not to Do

How Long Are Female Horses Pregnant?

Photographs courtesy of IJupiterimages/ Images Your mare – female horse – is entering her 11th month of pregnancy with her four-legged foal.

If you or someone you know has gone through a long human pregnancy, you will understand and feel compassion for her. Horses have an average gestational period of 335 to 342 days, which is approximately 11 months.

Variations in Gestation Length

You shouldn’t be alarmed if your pregnant mare reaches the one-year mark without giving birth; 360 days, or slightly shy of one year, is still within the usual gestation length for horses. A preterm birth that happens a few weeks before her 11-month due date will not often be considered premature as long as she is healthy and the pregnancy has proceeded normally, says your veterinarian.

Deciding to Breed

It is important not to take breeding decisions carelessly. Make certain that both your mare and the stallion you choose have good characteristics. To determine when your horse is “in heat,” which is when she is receptive to the stallion or likely to become pregnant through artificial insemination, you’ll need to keep track of her reproductive cycles. If something goes wrong during the pregnancy or birth, you stand to lose time, money, and the lives of the mare and the kid.

Factors That Can Affect Gestation Length

In part because of seasonal factors, if you breed your mare during the months of February, March, or April such that she would be due in January through March of the following year, the odds are that she will carry her foal for approximately one week longer than if you breed her later in the year. References Resources Photographic Credits Writer Karen S. Johnson’s bio Karen S. Johnson is a marketing expert with more than 30 years of experience who specializes in business and equestrian issues.

Many of her writings have appeared in trade and business media, such as the Houston Chronicle, and she continues to write.

She graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor of Science in speech.

How Long Can a Horse Stay in Labor?

Photographs courtesy of IJupiterimages/ Images A horse will normally give birth to her foal during the night after a gestation period of around 11 months. The foaling procedure can take up to eight hours, while labor is usually shorter and most mares are able to deliver their foals without the aid of a human being. However, an equine labor is divided into three parts, and understanding how long each stage might take is critical in determining whether or not a veterinarian should be summoned.

The First and Longest Stage

The initial stage of labor might take anywhere between one and four hours. If the mare feels threatened, such as when she detects predators or inclement weather, she has the ability to postpone birth for several hours or even days. Furthermore, it might be difficult to determine when this period begins. Due to the mare’s uterus being more active as her foal progresses towards the delivery position, the majority of the action takes place there. When the first uterine contractions begin, the mare may get restless, pace, and break out in a cold sweat, which is normal.

These manifestations are generally fleeting, and the mare may not exhibit any of them at all.

They can also be a sign of colic in some cases. If a mare is constipated before foaling, she may become colicky, and if the indications are severe or continue for many hours, she should be sent to the veterinarian.

Fast and Furious

The second stage of labor begins when the mare’s waters burst, releasing 2 to 4 liters of amniotic fluid, signaling the beginning of the first stage. Because of the foal’s entrance into the birthing canal, harsher contractions are induced, and the mare is forced to lie down and struggle in order to push the foal farther into her pelvic opening. After a little while, the foal’s front feet should appear, one slightly ahead of the other, and then his muzzle, head, and chest should appear. The foal’s movements should generally be enough to rupture the fetal membrane, and the foal should be breathing within a minute.

This stage of labor is quick, taking only five to 15 minutes.

Almost There

Once the foal’s head and shoulders have out, the mare will cease pushing for a little period before the hips and hindquarters glide out. At this point the mare will take a longer break, possibly for up to 40 minutes. This resting time is important as it helps to prevent the umbilical cord from breaking before the last of the blood supply from the placenta flows to the foal. It may help protect the mare’s uterus from infection. When the mare finally stands up, the now-brittle umbilical cord will generally break in the correct place and is less likely to get infected or bleed from the stump.

Expulsion of the Afterbirth

Following delivery, further contractions aid in the expulsion of the placenta or afterbirth from the mare. Labor has progressed to the third stage, which can occur within minutes of the foal’s arrival, although it can take up to three hours in certain cases. The placenta should be ejected within three hours of giving birth; otherwise, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately since the afterbirth must be removed within six hours of giving birth. A failure to do so may result in a significant infection, and such infections may result in laminitis.

Even a little portion of placenta that is left in the mare’s uterus might cause an infection to develop.

How Long Is a Horse Pregnant?

How long does it take a horse to become pregnant? Well, the quick answer is 10 to 12 months, or around 326 to 354 days, depending on your perspective (although there have been cases where gestation for a mare has gone as long as 365 to 370 days). The majority of mares only give birth to one foal per pregnancy, while twins do occur on rare occasion. If you’re thinking of breeding your horse, there’s a lot more information you should be aware of. Mares are polyestrous on a seasonal basis. Put another way, it indicates that the mare behaves somewhat similarly to a cat in that she will go through numerous cycles throughout a specific season.

This is assumed to be an evolutionary trait to guarantee that the mare gives birth at the most favorable time of year, which is believed to be in the springtime.

A mare can only have one pregnancy every year, and she will typically only produce one foal in a given year as a result of these considerations.

The Mare’s Cycle is Key

A thorough understanding of a mare’s life cycle is essential for managing mares in general, and it is absolutely essential for designing a successful breeding program. Due to the fact that mares are seasonally polyestrous, the mare will respond to light stimulation. This implies that when the amount of daylight increases, her cycles will begin to begin by reducing melatonin levels. The following are crucial dates to keep in mind for horse breeders:

  • In the United States, the Summer Solstice is celebrated on June 21, which is the longest day of the year and the apex of the natural mating season. During the Fall Equinox, which occurs on September 21, when there is equal daylight and darkness, and the mares are shutting off as the season changes, Horses are in their deepest anestrus on December 21, which is the shortest day of the year and the shortest day of the year. The mares are in Spring Transition 1 during the time of the Spring Equinox, which occurs on March 21 when there is equal light and dark.

These are, of course, estimates based on current information. When it comes to the commencement of cyclicity, temperature can also play a role because it is thought to be regulated in part by a neurotransmitter that is also involved in prolactin release. The lowering of opioid inhibition of the gonadal axis may also have a role in the initiation of the breeding season, according to certain theories. Normal horse cycles are said to begin around the Summer Solstice, which coincides with the start of the natural mating season.

  1. Those mares that are bred early in the year (typically during the first quarter) will often carry their foal for a longer period of time than anticipated.
  2. 2 In addition to these considerations, whether the foal is a colt or a filly is another aspect that may influence a mare’s gestational duration.
  3. Body weight can also have an impact on gestation times; mares that are thinner have a tendency to bear their offspring for a longer amount of time than mares who are heavier.
  4. Due to this, the mare will go into heat earlier in the year, which will result in the foal being born earlier in the year, which is typically a benefit for the owners and managers of performing breeds.

Gestation Stages

During their pregnancy, mares go through three trimesters, which are called trimesters. The first trimester begins with conception and is usually completed within two weeks of confirmation. 3 It is critical to have the mare examined by a veterinarian during the first trimester in order to safeguard her and her foal’s health throughout the whole pregnancy. When the foal is roughly 25 days old, the veterinarian can do an ultrasound to identify the foal’s heartbeat and establish that the foal is still alive.

  • If twins are discovered, the veterinarian may inquire as to whether the owner or management would be interested in having the second embryo removed in order to offer the surviving embryo a greater chance of survival.
  • A horse-like appearance may be recognized in the foal at three months by ultrasound testing; important characteristics can be identified, and the gender of the foal can be confirmed.
  • 3 In this period, the mare can begin receiving deworming and vaccination treatments.
  • The mare will begin to exhibit her abilities after six months.
  • At this point, it is necessary to increase the number of veterinarian visits once more.

Regular exercise can be continued up to the seventh month of the pregnancy. As the mare approaches her due date, it is critical to maintain a pleasant and stress-free environment for her, avoiding any dramatic changes that might cause her to become worried.

Leading Up to Foaling

On average, the day of foaling should occur between days 326 and 354 of the calendar year. There are test kits available that some breeders use to assist them anticipate the day of foaling. These can be particularly beneficial if it is the mare’s first foal and the mare’s foaling procedure is unknown. 2 When it comes to the days leading up to delivery, the mare is likely to display signals that her body is preparing for childbirth. Her udder is likely to appear large, and she may even be dripping milk.

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To ensure the mare’s comfort, a big stall with plenty of straw, fresh water, and hay should be supplied.

It is possible that she will get up and down a couple of times, but she will give birth while laying down.

Once the amniotic sac is seen, it is usually just a matter of minutes until the horse is delivered.

Labor and Delivery

Approximately 85 percent of mares give birth at night, which is likely a survival strategy that permits the foal to be ready to run with the mother as soon as daylight appears. This will cause the mare to get agitated during the initial stage of labor. She may begin to kick at her stomach and engage in nesting behavior. A large number of mares sweat throughout the process of foaling, which is referred to as the mare “heating up.” Wrap the tail and thoroughly clean the perineal region. This period normally lasts around an hour and fifteen minutes.

  • The foal’s front hooves, nose, ears, and other features should be revealed as the foal grows.
  • This can be elicited by softly massaging the foal’s nostrils with a blunt item, such as a pencil.
  • 3 Other recommendations and warnings include cleaning any biologics with iodine before using them.
  • After delivery, some experts believe that a little amount of blood enters the foal through the umbilical artery, which is connected to the mother.
  • According to the literature, if the placenta does not discharge within three hours, it should be considered an emergency needing the care of a veterinarian.
  • The mare herself should not require any post-partum care in most cases.

Emergency Situations

The development of the amniotic sac as a “red bag” during the second stage of labor is one of the more prevalent complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The amnion (also known as the amniotic sac) is the first item to appear during a normal foaling. It is a white membrane that surrounds the foal. When the placenta separates from the uterine wall prematurely, blood will collect within the amnion, giving it a deep crimson look. This is an uncommon occurrence, but it does occur. This is a life-threatening emergency that might result in the foal’s death if not addressed immediately.

1 Eilts, B., et al., Equine Seasonal Cycle.

How Long Do Female Horses Stay Pregnant?

Johnson, Karen S. “How Long Are Female Horses Pregnant?” Animals –, November 21, 2017, accessed October 7, 2018. Pregnant Mare: Ensure the health and well-being of the mare when she is pregnant. The American Association of Equine Practitioners published a statement on October 7, 2018.

About NexGen Pharmaceuticals

NexGen Pharmaceuticals is an industry-leading veterinary compounding pharmacy that provides sterile and non-sterile compounding services to veterinarians in the United States and Canada. NexGen, in contrast to other veterinary compounding pharmacies, concentrates on pharmaceuticals that are difficult to locate, are no longer accessible owing to manufacturer discontinuance, or have not yet been commercially released for veterinary purposes, but which nonetheless fill an essential need for our clients.

  • It is also urged that our pharmacists establish excellent working connections with our veterinarians in order to provide better treatment for our animal patients.
  • Disclaimer The material provided in this blog post is of a general nature, and it is intended to be used solely as a source of information.
  • Neither is the information intended to serve as medical advice or diagnosis for specific health problems, nor is it intended to be used in making an assessment of the risks and benefits of using a particular medication.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has not examined the information and assertions provided, and the FDA has not authorized the drugs for use in diagnosing, curing, or preventing illness in humans.
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  • NexGen Pharmaceuticals, LLC is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this blog post or any linked website.

What to Expect When Your Mare is Expecting

A few fundamentals of equine reproduction and pregnancy include mating, the gestation period, and foaling, among other things. In most cases, a mare (or female horse) can produce one viable foal every year on average. An adult mare is capable of delivering afoalat at the age of around 18 months, but it is healthier if the mare is at least four years old, since she will have grown to her maximum size by that time. A mare can produce offspring until she is in her late thirties, if she is in good health.

A veterinarian should always be present when horses mate and give birth, but many difficulties may be avoided by having the stallion tested before breeding, as well as having the mare assessed and cared for appropriately during the gestation time.

Average Gestation Period

When it comes to horses, the gestation period is normally between 330 and 345 days, or 11 months. A breeder’s ability to recognize if a mare is more likely to foal earlier or later than the norm is essential for success in the breeding industry. In a natural context, the stallion will breed the mare in the summer, and the foals will be born the next year, either in the spring or early summer of the following year. This guarantees that the foals are born when there is plenty of forage and the weather is moderate, which is ideal for raising them.

These seasonal estrus cycles occur typically every three weeks during the spring and summer.

Because of the artificial sunshine, the mare’s brain is stimulated, causing it to release the reproductive hormones necessary to induce estrus.

Checking For Pregnancy

Mares may not display any obvious indicators of pregnancy during the first three months of their pregnancy, other from the absence of an estrus cycle. Ultrasound can be used to confirm pregnancy roughly two weeks following the breeding event. Two to three months after conception, blood and urine tests can be performed to confirm the pregnancy. Instead, a veterinarian may be able to feel the little embryo in the mare’s uterus physically by rectal palpation at roughly six weeks into the pregnancy, and in some cases even sooner.

Horse twins are extremely unusual, however they have been known to cause spontaneous abortions.

As a result, it is frequently suggested to “pinch off” one embryo at a time.

It is not uncommon for a mare to miscarry her pregnancy, and it is advised that she get an ultrasound and have her blood or urine tested again after around three months.

Later Stages of Gestation

After around three months, the foal will be growing fast and will begin to resemble a little horse. After around six months, the mare may begin to show signs of pregnancy. Mares that have already given birth may exhibit signs of an enlarged abdomen more quickly than a virgin mare. While still pregnant, the mare’s abdomen will continue to develop in size as the foal near the time of foaling or the due date for birth. The mare’s udder will begin to develop around three to six weeks before the due date, and the teats will begin to produce a sticky yellowish fluid a few days before the due date of the birth.

  • If the yellowish fluid is allowed to ferment, it will transform into the first milk or colostrum.
  • It is possible that her stomach will appear to lower as the foal aligns itself for delivery.
  • The mare will appear restless shortly before giving birth; she may paw the ground or continually glance toward her flank (hip) area on either side (similar tocolic symptoms).
  • The mare may lie down and rise up several times, but she will most likely give birth while lying down on the ground.
  • At this point, the foal is usually born within a few minutes after being conceived.
  • Sometimes a mare or foal gets damaged during the birthing process, or the mare or foal may be suffering from another problem that needs immediate or expert treatment.
  • This is a life-threatening situation that cannot be postponed (not even for the arrival of the vet).
  • The foal should be protected by this membrane.
  • The placenta is responsible for supplying the foal with oxygen, and if it is prematurely removed before the foal is able to breathe on its own, the foal will be deprived of this vital source of nutrition.
  • In such instances, every second matters, and the mare must be physically aided in the birth of the foal, and the’red bag’ must be burst as soon as possible to allow the foal to take its first breath.
  • If you have any reason to believe your pet is unwell, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Always consult your veterinarian for health-related inquiries, since they have evaluated your pet and are familiar with the pet’s medical history, and they can provide the most appropriate suggestions for your pet.

The Birth of a Foal: What We Look For and What We Do

Throughout the time that we are waiting for our mare, My Special Girl, to give birth to her foal on the liveNew Bolton Center Foal Cam, we would like to describe what may occur during the foaling process. A mare’s gestation time is one of the most variable in the horse’s reproductive system, ranging from 10 12 to 13 months and making it difficult to predict when she will give birth. The typical gestation period is around 11 months. My Special Girl is expected on March 14, when the foal reaches the 340th gestational day of her pregnancy.

  1. According to the clinical symptoms, most likely not.
  2. Although it is uncommon for a mare to give birth to a foal without showing any visible indicators, it may happen, and they will be prepared when she is ready to give birth to this particular baby.
  3. It is typical for some mares to experience mild, periodic discomfort during the day or night, which often corresponds with the movement of the foal.
  4. There are three phases of parturition (giving birth) that occur at the moment of conception: Stage 1 refers to the time of uterine contractions that precedes the onset of foetal development.
  5. Horses exhibiting the following behaviors during stage-one labor: restlessness in the stall, going up and down, sweating; curling of the upper lip; pawing; weight shifting; picking up of the hind legs; tail swishing; frequent urine and feces; and pawing.
  6. Beginning with the rupture of the chorioallantois, often known as ‘water breaking’ in humans, stage 2 is characterized by a rapid increase in body temperature.
  7. To show properly, the foal should have two front legs (one slightly in front of the other) with his or her nose lying in between them, about at the level of the foal’s knees.
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The foal is propelled forward by uterine contractions and strong abdominal contractions.

The passing of the fetal membranes is the third stage.

When the mares are experiencing uterine contractions, they will frequently express some degree of discomfort.

In addition to mammary gland growth and teat fullness, we check for waxing (crystallized colostrum) on the teats, dripping/streaming milk from the teats, and relaxation of the muscles around the pelvic area in the newborn.

Prepare the mare’s tail by wrapping it during the first step of the process.

Observing and evaluating the foal’s position and presentation: In order to determine whether or not the water has broken, we look at the foal’s posture and presentation.

If the mare or foal is abnormal, we obtain a sample of the fetal fluids for study.

When the foal is delivered, we will examine its posture and presentation before allowing the mare to proceed to the second stage of her development process.

During she pushes, we apply moderate pressure to the foal’s back.

The vulva will be opened as soon as the nose begins to emerge and any fetal membranes that are covering the nose will be removed so that the foal’s breathing will not be obstructed in any way.

The shoulders of the foal are the broadest sections of the foal that can go through the pelvis, therefore after they pass through the pelvis, we may withdraw our grip and the foal will typically be delivered.

It is necessary to examine the foal’s heart rate to confirm that it is breathing on its own and to determine its degree of activity.

It is important to see if the foal is holding its own head up and how sensitive it is to different stimuli.

We should anticipate to hear some crackles and damp sounds at the beginning, but they should fade fast after that.

– We collect a sample of blood from the foal’s umbilical cord to be analyzed later.

For evident congenital issues such as limb contracture (flexion) that may make it difficult for the foal to stand up, we search for them immediately.

If the quality of the colostrum is poor, we can administer a supplement.

In order to strengthen the relationship with her foal, the mare would lick and nuzzle him.

Some mares stand up soon after the foal is delivered, while others lie down for a length of time after the foal is born.

After the foal is delivered and the fetal membranes are passed, some mares will exhibit signs of pain while uterine contractions persist in the mare.

It is expected that the foal will make many efforts to stand.

It is quite rare for a foal to sustain an injury during this phase, especially if it is being monitored.

We want the foal to conserve energy while it learns to suckle from its mother.

It’s always fascinating to see a foal learn how to locate the mammary gland and suckle from it.

Some will begin to nurse on their own legs, on the wall, or on various body parts of the mare, while others may suckle on the ground.

Some seasoned mares are ready to position themselves for the foal, however other mares require a bit more time to become acclimated to the foal as it learns to synchronize its suckle and tongue curl movements.

It is common to watch mares move around and occasionally lift a rear leg and’squeal’ when they are in good spirits. During this procedure, the mare will frequently nicker to the foal and nuzzle or lick the foal on the face.

Foaling Mare & Newborn: Preparing for a Safe & Successful Foal Delivery

CARING FOR THE FOALING MARE AND NEWBORNI If your mare has made it through 11 months of pregnancy, you’re almost finished with your work. Labor and delivery, while momentous, are generally uncomplicated. Every effort should be made to be present during foaling. In the majority of cases, you will simply need to act as a neutral observer. Mares seem to prefer to foal at night in privacy, and apparently have some control over their delivery. Hiring a foaling attendant, installing a video monitor or using a birth alarm system can save the life of the foal if a problem should arise.

  1. A SAFE PLACE TO FOALWhat your mare will need, however, is a clean, safe, quiet place to foal.
  2. Allowing the mare to foal in the pasture even has some advantages.
  3. You won’t have to worry about the mare crowding into a corner or foaling too close to a wall.
  4. Should you choose to foal your mare in a stall, provide one that is a minimum of 14′ x 14′.
  5. Dirt or clay floors make sanitation more difficult.
  6. Remove manure and soiled bedding promptly and disinfect the stall between deliveries.
  7. However, the timetable is far from absolute.
  8. The following is a general guideline, but be prepared for surprises: · The mare’s udder begins filling with milk two to four weeks prior to foaling.· The muscles of the vulva and croup relax.
  9. · The mare becomes anxious and restless.
  10. She may kick at her belly, pace, lie down and get up, look or bite at her flanks and sweat.

Generally, this is the first stage of labor (however, be aware that colic remains a possibility; if such behavior is prolonged for more than an hour or two without progress towards foaling, contact your veterinarian) (however, be aware that colic remains a possibility; if such behavior is prolonged for more than an hour or two without progress towards foaling, contact your veterinarian).

It usually is best to allow the mare to foal undisturbed and unassisted.

What you can do: · Write down your veterinarian’s phone number well in advance of the birth and keep it by all phones.

When you’re worried or anxious, your perception of time becomes distorted.

Take written notes so that you won’t have to rely on memory alone.

Be sure that the wrap is not applied too tightly or left on too long as it can cut off circulation and permanently damage the tail.· Wash the mare’s udder, vulva and hindquarters with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly.· Clean and disinfect the stall as thoroughly as possible.

These strips aid the owner in predicting when the mare will foal because sudden increases in calcium are associated with imminent foaling.

Even in a normal delivery, the mare may stand up, lie down and roll several times in an effort to properly position the foal for delivery.

The fetal membranes (allantois) may become visible at the mare’s vulva.

The rupture of the allantoic membrane and rush of placental fluids may be confused with urination.

This phase moves relatively quickly.

If there is no significant progress within 10 to 15 minutes after the membranes rupture, call your veterinarian immediately.

Normal presentation of the foal resembles a diving position, with front feet first, one slightly ahead of the other, hooves down, followed closely by the nose, head, neck, shoulders and hindquarters.

If you suspect any deviation from the normal delivery position, call your equine practitioner.

The foal is detached from its blood and oxygen supply.

Stage threelabor begins after delivery and is the phase during which the afterbirth (placenta) is expelled.

If the placenta has not passed within 3 hours, call your veterinarian.

POSTPARTUM CARE FOR MARE AND FOALI n the excitement of birth, it is important to remember some tried and true guidelines: Allow the foal time to break the fetal membranes (see “Red Bag Delivery” exception above).

If it has not broken during delivery, it will usually break when the mare or foal gets up.

If it is necessary to manually separate the cord, it should be held firmly on either side of the intended break site, then twisted and pulled to separate (never cut the cord) (never cut the cord).

If bleeding persists following cord separation, pressure can be applied to the stump for several minutes by squeezing with a thumb and finger.

Foals will not typically lose enough blood to become anemic and there is significant danger of trapping pathogens in the umbilical stump when you suture it closed.

Give them an opportunity to bond undisturbed.

Diluted (1:4) chlorhexadine solutions are preferred over strong iodine for naval dipping.

·Observe the mare and foal closely for the next 24 hours.

·Foal is bright and alert to its new surroundings.

Occasionally a mare will reject her foal.

Foal rejection is more common in maiden mares.

If the foal has not nursed within 3 hours, call your veterinarian.

· Foal should pass meconium (the first sticky, dark stool) within 12 hours after birth.

Female foals do not urinate until about 11 hours after birth; male foals may take six hours to urinate after foaling.· Mare should be bright and alert.

The afterbirth will be Y-shaped and should have only the hole through which the foal emerged.· If you suspect the mare has retained part of the placenta, call your veterinarian.

· You may wish to check the mare’s temperature and other vital signs periodically within the first 24 hours to make sure they are normal.

IMPORTANCE OF COLOSTRUM It is essential that the foal receive an adequate supply of colostrum.

It provides the foal with passive immunity to help prevent disease until its own immune system kicks in.

If a foal is too weak to nurse, it may be necessary to milk the mare and give the colostrum to the foal via a stomach tube.

This pre-foaling milk is not typically colostrum-rich.

For orphan foals, or mares without an adequate supply of colostrum, it is important to locate a back-up supply.

Your veterinarian can test the colostrum to determine whether it is rich in antibodies.

The majority of absorption (85 percent) takes place within the first six to eight hours.

If you wait until the foal is 24 hours old to evaluate IgG absorption and it proves to be inadequate, your only option will be a plasma transfusion.

ADDITIONAL FOALING WARNINGS Please contact your veterinarian immediately if a mare looks to be in need of help throughout the foaling process.

If your veterinarian is notified of the pregnancy early enough, he or she may be able to reposition the foal for a normal birth.

Do not attempt to remove a foal unless it is an emergency situation.

Under no circumstances should you ever use anything other than your own muscle force to pull, and you should only pull while your muscles are contracting (when the mare is straining).

Many foals are born with weak legs, and improper tugging can exacerbate this condition.

They will, in most cases, straighten up.

If possible, have your veterinarian do a post-partum examination of the mare and foal, as well as of the placenta, after the birth of the foal.

Preparation and knowledge will allow you to appreciate the marvel of birth while keeping your anxieties under control and assisting the new mother and foal in getting off to a good start.

In order to obtain further information, consult with your veterinarian. Ben Espy, DVM, DACT, is a contributing author to this article.

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