Are you expecting the arrival of a new foal?
In that case this post is for you! Many decisive things happen in the very first few hours of a foal's life and it is important to keep in mind what is normal, just in case the newborn foal or the mare need any assistance.
The average pregnancy in horses
takes approximately 11 months but it can range from 321 and 365 days so in many cases, anxious owners will need to be a little patient.
Once a foal is finally born the first thing to make sure is that it is breathing normally.
The less we intervene the better but if you notice the mare does not clean the membrane covering the foal's muzzle straight away, you should remove it and clear the foal's nostrils of any mucous that may prevent the foal from breathing properly.
The foal will try to stand and walk as soon as it is born.
Foals will usually sit up one or two minutes after birth and stand within two hours. They will also present a suck reflex two to ten minutes after being born.
It is very important to observe the foal suckling the mare within the first hours of birth
, as ingesting the mare's colostrum is essential for the foal's immune system and general health. Afterwards it is expected for the foal to feed at least every twenty minutes during its first week of life. Feeding at this rhythm foals will usually pass their first droppings and urine during the first day.
Newborn foals should be kept in clean conditions, away from other horses and protected from extreme weather conditions. It will be necessary to treat the foal's navel with an antiseptic product several times during the first day in order to prevent any infections.
It is also recommended to have both the foal and the mare checked by your vet
on the first day to make sure they are doing well, to ensure they are healthy and to thoroughly check the foal for any deformities.
Would you like to know more about horses? Check our Equine Courses: