Whether you are a first-time breeder or an old hand at welcoming new equine life, you can never be too prepared in the run up for the arrival of a foal. It is an exciting but anxious time for all involved so reminding yourself of the basics will only prove beneficial, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.
The process of a mare giving birth typically encompasses three stages, which we will look at in further detail later in this article. First, we share our tips for preparing your mare for foaling – don’t worry though, foals are born after 11 months in the mare’s womb, so there is plenty of time to get ready for the event! Thoroughbred breeders work on an average gestation length of 340 days to work out their ‘due dates’, but some mares foal slightly earlier and some slightly later.
How to prepare your mare for foaling
Preparing a mare for foaling involves a number of important steps to help ensure a safe and successful delivery. Here are some key things to consider:
- Provide proper nutrition: A mare should be in good physical condition before foaling and should be fed a balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients for both the mare and the developing foal. Your veterinarian can recommend a specific feeding plan that is appropriate for your mare’s needs.
- Monitor the mare’s weight: It is important to monitor your mare’s weight during pregnancy to ensure that she is gaining weight at a healthy rate. Excessive weight gain or loss can be a sign of health problems that need to be addressed.
- Provide adequate exercise: Exercise can help keep the mare healthy and promote good circulation, which is important for a healthy foal. However, you should avoid strenuous exercise during the last few months of pregnancy to prevent injury.
- Monitor the mare’s health: Regular veterinary check-ups are important to monitor the mare’s health and ensure that there are no underlying medical issues that could complicate foaling.
- Prepare the foaling area: The foaling area should be clean, dry, and free from hazards that could cause injury to the mare or foal. The area should be well-ventilated and provide enough space for the mare to lie down comfortably. You should also provide clean, fresh bedding that is soft and absorbent.
- Monitor the mare closely: As the due date approaches, you should monitor the mare closely for signs of impending foaling, such as restlessness, milk production, waxing of the teats, softening of the muscles around the tailhead, loss of appetite, changes in behaviour, and dripping milk. You should also be prepared to contact your veterinarian immediately if there are any signs of distress or complications during delivery.
- Prepare for emergencies: It is important to be prepared for emergencies, such as a difficult delivery or a foal in distress. You should have a foaling kit on hand that includes such items such as clean towels, scissors, iodine, and a flashlight. You should also have your veterinarian’s phone number and emergency contact information readily available.
By following these steps, you can help ensure that your mare is properly prepared for foaling and increase the chances of a safe and successful delivery.Top of Form
Signs your mare is about to foal
- Restlessness: The mare may show signs of restlessness and discomfort and may frequently lie down and get up.
- Milk production: A few days before foaling, the mare’s udder may start to swell and produce milk.
- Waxing: A mare’s teats may produce a waxy substance, called “waxing,” that indicates that foaling is imminent.
- Softening of the muscles around the tailhead: As the mare’s body prepares for foaling, the muscles around the tailhead may begin to soften.
- Loss of appetite: Some mares may experience a loss of appetite in the days leading up to foaling.
- Changes in behaviour: Some mares may become more protective or aggressive, while others may become more subdued and calmer.
- Dripping milk: Shortly before foaling, the mare’s udder may start to drip milk, and she may show signs of discomfort and pacing.
If you suspect that your mare is foaling, it is important to monitor her closely and call your vet as soon as possible if you notice any signs of distress or complications.
Shelter for a foaling mare
When it comes to providing shelter for a foaling mare, National Timber Buildings can help. We offer a range of solutions tailored to the specific needs of the animal. Here’s how National Timber Buildings can help:
- Stable design: We can design and construct stables specifically suited to a foaling mare. We can consider factors such as the size of the mare, the space required for foaling, and any additional features needed for the comfort and safety of both the mare and the foal.
- Construction materials: Timber is an excellent choice for constructing stables due to its durability, insulation properties, and natural aesthetics. National Timber Buildings can use high-quality timber and other suitable materials to build a study and secure shelter for the foaling mare.
- Ventilation and natural light: Proper ventilation is essential for maintain a healthy environment within the stable. National Timber Buildings can incorporate features such as windows, vents, or skylights in the design to ensure adequate airflow and natural light, promoting a comfortable and stress-free atmosphere for the mare.
- Safety measures: Foaling can be a critical time, and ensuring the safety of the mare and foal is of utmost importance. We can implement safety features like sturdy stable doors and proper latches to prevent any accidental escapes or unwanted access to the animals.
- Customisation: Each foaling mare may have unique requirements, and we can offer customisation options to meet specific needs. Whether it is additional space for a companion animal, storage areas for supplies, or any other specific requests, we can collaborate with the owner to design and create a tailor-made solution.
This bespoke 16×18’ mobile shelter was recently constructed for a customer for the specific purpose of horse foaling:
Overall, the team at National can provide a well-designed and well-constructed timber stable that prioritises the comfort, safety, and well-being of the foaling mare and her foal. By considering all the necessary aspects and using quality materials, they can help create a shelter that promotes a positive foaling experience.
If you are looking for a mobile field shelter, it’s not a problem. We can offer mobile shelters that combine mobility, durability, and customisable features to create a comfortable and safe environment for the mare and her foal, allowing for easy monitoring and adaptability to changing circumstances in the field.
Do not be afraid to give us a call on 01233 515879 to chat through your options, we’re here to help.