Foaling question

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
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I have a probably stupid question but i dont actually know the answer. Its about foaling and newborns.
I often see requests for people needing a foster mum or an orphan foal. Obviously its best if the mum can foster. I get that.
In the sheep and cow world. If a mum looses its baby we can try to foster on a baby but if we dont manage we restrict the diet on the mum to just hay and box rest and wait for the milk supply to dry up etc before turning out to grass. Can they not do this with horses.
Similar if we dont have a foster mum we bottle feed the baby. Is this not posible to do this for a foal.
 

carthorse

Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
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I'm not sure about the mares, but I don't doubt there are ways to dry the milk up. I think people offer to foster a foal onto a mare in the hope of it helping someone else out and also to try and stop the mare grieving so badly - some really are hit by losing a foal. Bottle feeding is possible, but a foster mum is far better for the foal as it means they also learn social skills. Bottle feeding is hard work for the owner and bottle fed foals can be tricky as they get older.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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I imagine it is because there was only one mare in foal so they have no substitute on site i.e. if the mare dies, they have no other lactating mare and also if a mare already has a foal she may not accept another. similarly if the foal dies, yes they could let the mare dry up but because other people are in the reverse situation if they can help out an orphan foal it is a much better start in life for the foal as bottle fed foals can be very bumptious as they don't get herd manners
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Suffolk, UK
My understanding is its more to do with the foals, hand reared horses are often not easy to deal with, lack social skills, instincts to look after themselves and respect for people so it's far better that they grow up on a mare and because of the length of time they are reliant on the mare it's far easier for the humans too.
 

CharliesAngel

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2010
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I have a probably stupid question but i dont actually know the answer. Its about foaling and newborns.
I often see requests for people needing a foster mum or an orphan foal. Obviously its best if the mum can foster. I get that.
In the sheep and cow world. If a mum looses its baby we can try to foster on a baby but if we dont manage we restrict the diet on the mum to just hay and box rest and wait for the milk supply to dry up etc before turning out to grass. Can they not do this with horses.
Similar if we dont have a foster mum we bottle feed the baby. Is this not posible to do this for a foal.
yes it is :)
 
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