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Anybody experience how to improve mother-foal relations?????

Have here a 8 year old mare who got her first foal, we had to hold her to allow the foal to drink which is not a first. Have had many mares like that but usually it passes.

This one doesn't seem to care for the foal, yesterday afternoon she allowed drinking without holding the mare but in the late evening we had to hold her again. During the night she sometimes started biting at the foal when it came to drink and this morning she chased the foal even away?

She still alows it to drink when somebody holds her or stands next to her with a reprimanding finger?!

Any tricks available or just patience???
Leider ist mein English nicht sehr gut, kann jemand diesen Text für Patrick übersetzen?

Patrick, könnte es sein, dass Deine Stute eine Euterentzündung hat? Reagiert die Stute nur abwehrend, wenn das Fohlen versucht zu säugen? Wenn ja, würde ich den Tierarzt einmal holen, denn es gibt Salben, die die Entzündung wegnehmen und das Fohlen ungehindert wieder trinken kann.

Wir hatten ähnlichen Fall, uns riet man, der Stute eine Nasenbremse anzulegen und diese nur zu lockern, wenn das Fohlen trank, so entstand bei der Stute der Eindruck: wenn mein Fohlen trinkt - geht der Schmerz weg. Wir müßten dies 5 Stunden tun und dies in der Nacht, aber danach nahm die Stute (Maidenstute) das Fohlen an. Mag grausam und schmerzvoll klingen, aber es war zum Wohle des Fohlens, denn ein Flaschenkind ohne Mama, ist ein armes Geschöpf.
Hi Patrick,

I'll give a quick translation of what Guest suggested.

"Patrick, can it be your mare has an infection of the udder? Is your mare only trying to repel the foal when it tries to drink? When yes, it might be a good idea to get a vet over to check her over. There are remedies for an infection like that.

We had a similar case and we've had the advice to put a noseclip (can't find the right word) on. One on, whenever the foal was drinking, we loosened it. The mare got the idea that the pain went when the foal was drinking. We had to do this for 5 hours in the middle of the night, but afterwards the mare (first foal by the way) accepted the foal. It sounds horrible and very painful, but all was done for the best of the foal. Else it would have been the bottle for the foal."

I don't think the suggested handling of Guest is the best. It will cause pain and stress to the mare who might already just be distressed. I do agree however the best thing is to get a vet over to have a look at her. Generally, these cases have a medical reason to them. If not, I think you'll have to find a way round it. Always keep the interest of foal AND mare in mind whatever you do.

Tnx, we had in fact years ago the same situation "Guest" describes with the mares dam and also had to put a "noseclip" on her (assisted by the vet), otherwise no way of holding her. After a few hours she allowed drinking. In this case she didn't have an infection, she just was very sensible.

With this (maiden) mare she however allows drinking just by holding her by the halter, preventing her from moving on but she really doesn't appreciate the foal. I already checked the udder and nothing seems wrong although a month ago she had a pimple on the udder. What worries me most is that she really doesn't like her foal and since the early morning she also started biting at her.

Guess having a vet checking her over won't hurt.
I have heard (fortunately not my own experience) that a mare may have so much pain caused by the drinking of the foal which causes contractions, that she'll chase it away. This should pass in two or three days. It helps to feed her something good while holding her to allow the foal to drink. It seems to be a hormonal thing. I'd never follow guest's suggestion since that is not the way it works (it works through endorphins). I'd suggest patience, help both with the situation by holding the mare and feeding her goodies, oats or something, and if it doesn't pass whithin 2 or three days, call in the vet. If it is really bad, the vet may sedate the mare a bit, just so as to relieve her pain, which will make her accept the foal better. You may also not want to wait and call in the vet right now, to see what the cause of the mare's aggression is. If it is pain, which is probable, do be patent with her. She is not a "bad mother", she is just in pain. I have this from a very experienced breeder who had a mare with the problem. No doubt there are more ecxperienced people here, who know more. Good luck!
Good advice, Bterlaan!

You are considering what could be "causing" this mare's rejection of her foal as opposed to making assumptions that she's just a "bad" mother. There's always a reason. Horses don't make the choice to be "bad."

I hope they can help her and I hope they act sooner, rather than waiting.

--Susan sad.gif
Hi,your problem is one which,confronts stud masters season after season,the mares udder is tight and painful to the touch,being a maiden it`s all a bit bewildering and stressfull,whilst normally the least amount of human interference the better in this instance the application of a twitch to the mares nose to allow the foal to drink is the easiest method of overcoming this problem.Unfortunately this procedure may have to be followed for several days though this is rare,more often than not acceptance of the foal is achieved within 12 hours.In some cases the mare will react violently to having the twitch applied,a danger to both the handler and the foal,in cases such as this simply apply a front leg strap and allow the foal to suckle.If all of the aforementioned have failed,a mild sedative can be administered to the mare without harm to the mare,foal or attendants.The most important thing when dealing with these sorts of problems is perseverence.Pete.
Four days later. Vet has checked udder nothing wrong there.

We still have to hold her to let the foal drink, nothing changed.

We'll try this evening or tomorrow with some sedative in her food to see if that helps and have to start thinking about feeding extra with a bottle 'cause the foal seems to be loosing weight.

Have had situations as described above in the past, usually it goes away after half a day. In this case I'm really worried 'cause she doesn't care at all for the foal.
Having had similar experience with my mare and her foal some years ago I would also suggest to start feeding the foal with instant foal milk and not to wait any longer. You may still keep trying to bring both mare and foal together but to be on the safe side feed the foal in addition.
I nearly lost the foal after 1 week since it started to dry out, although we put her to the mare every 2 hours day and night. The vet had to give the filly some infusions to keep her alive and from that moment on I started to feed her with instant foal milk 6 times a day. But I still continued to bring mare and foal together and to teach the mare to let the filly drink. I finally managed after 3 weeks - but it was a hard time for me and for the mare. Nevertheless, I continued feeding instant milk for the next 6 months to be sure the filly gets enough.
Today, both mother and filly - 4 years old meanwhile - are fine.
Hi Dana,

Wish you posted earlier, yesterday we noticed a seriously weakened condition.

The vet was brought in, he gave her an infusion and we have started feeding instant foal milk.

Hi Patrick,

Good you noticed it in time. I do hope you'll get the mare to accept the foal one day, but this is probably the better solution for the safety and health of all.

Let us know how you all are doing when you get some time,
Hi Patrick,
sorry, that my reply was a bit late. It's good that you started to feed instant milk. Feed the foal with it as often as possible if it does not get milk from the mother. I fed my foal both instant milk and let her drink from her mother. So I was sure the filly gets enough.
But if your mare does not let the foal drink it is important that your foal gets instant milk regularly day and night every 2 - 3 hours at least for the first 2 - 3 weeks. But I guess the Vet has given you instructions about the feeding intervals.
Good luck!
We had to hospitalise her today. Around noon she stopped drinking, because of the extreme heat she suffered from dehydration on top of it. Don't know yet if she's going to make it.
I'm so sorry to hear this and I sincerly hope she will make it though. I can feel your sorrow..
all my best wishes!
Regards, Dana
She's more or less stabilized but far from sure but she managed to get up alone this morning which is the first positive news.

The current heat makes them constantly dehydrating. She's in a private hospital non stop guarded 24hrs by two veterinary students who are only dealing with her under supervision of a specialised vet.

I filled in her registration application this morning, sent it to the studbook and wired over the registration fee so now she has no choice but to get well.
i have read on other posts that if you bring another mare around, that the mother will possibly be protective of her foal and thus the whole mothering thing will come in to play. are there other horses around?
HI Patrick,keep your chin up,we`re all rooting for your kid,you`ve given it every chance.Sometimes things just don`t pan out the way they they should.I`ve foaled over 2000 babies and now and then you get a situation which makes you feel totally inadequate but as long as you`ve given it 100% thats all any one can expect of you.Sometimes nature is trying to tell us something.Kindest regards,Pete.
She passed away this morning 5 A.M. Rangani (La Mirage x Rifala) looked as she was one of the best horses we've bred so far but it wasn't to be - without that damn heatwave she would have had a better chance.
We have sire and dam, so maybe another year we'll have a new filly like her
Patrick, I feel with you. This is a so badly news. I wish you next year more luck!

best wishes,
Patrick, I am so sorry to hear this! But it is as PeteB said: if you have done all you could, it just had to be. My thoughts are with you.
Patrick, I am so sorry to hear this! But it is as PeteB said: if you have done all you could, it just had to be. My thoughts are with you.

I'm really sorry to hear this. As others have already stated, you did everything you could for her. I hope you'll have another little sister or brother of Rangani next year. My thoughts are with you.

Best regards,

This is really sad news!
I really liked your filly.

Best regards,
Tnx, she's being autopsied right now to see if there was not another reason or virus.
Patrick, I was so much hoping she would recover and get well again. And now I'm really sad to see that she could not make it anymore. She was a really nice filly as I can see from the picture. I wish you better luck for the next time.
Please, let us know the result of the autopsy.
Regards, Dana
Dear Patrick

So sorry to haer of your loss. I know what you are going through as I too lost a lovely filly foal this year. The pain is still there and I am crying as I type this. However, we both still have the mares so we must look to the future. There is no love without pain but the good times outweigh the bad and the pain gets less as the weeks go by. I couldn't even mention it at first; in fact most people didn't even know about the foal as I didn't want to talk about it..

I share your sorry and also your optomism for the future.

All the best.

Acorn Arabians
Hello Patrick,
I am so sorry to read of your loss, you did all you could, I too like Barbara lost a foal (in June 02) I was heartbroken,I never thought I could think of her without weeping but I do, and I console myself that at least I got to breed the most perfect filly -once in my career.
My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a foal.
Dont blame yourself, take heart that you still have your mare and that she is well.Nature is a wonderful thing and so is a mares instinct.She knew there was a problem which is why she acted as she did.
best wishes
Helen wink.gif gbfahne.gif
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, and I'm sure you've done all you could.
Sometimes I've seen mares push their babies away. Sometimes it happens because the mother knows there is something wrong with the foal. It could have happened because of many reasons.
I'm sure almost every breeder has his or her share of sad stories of losing horses.
Horsebreeding has it's heartbreaks. There is always another foal waiting to be born.
Keep the faith!!
Naughty Pine
I am so sorry to hear about all the trouble you are having. Thoughts are with you during this stressful time.

Too often this happens and I feel for the most part it is due to human interference at the birth and bonding time. From the moment the foal is delivered there is a crucial bonding time where the mare and foal need to be left alone. The best thing is to stand back out of the stall and let the mares instinct take over. let her talk to and smell her baby, let the foal struggle to it's feet on it's own (I know this is hard because we feel the need to help).In otherwords be a spectator only and only one spectator is required. They need to have this quiet private time, don't handle the foal if you don't have to as your human scent will rub off on the baby. Watch over them to ensure the foal gets up and nurses and that the mare expells the afterbirth. It is a time consuming process so be patient.

As the saying goes "An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure"

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