Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Foaling Season 2008 on the Baby Boomer's Arabian Horse Breeding Farm Part 4

Part 1 starts here

I don't even know how we ended up getting this new little Arabian horse to her feet. Each time she tried to rise without her legs in front of her, we tried to "fix" the situation only to have her get mad. She'd put them back where they were and shake her head clearly telling us to butt out and leave her alone.

The filly made a lot of attempts at getting up but nothing was successful because those front legs were never where they needed to be. I remember putting a foal blanket on so that I could use it as a handle to help her find her balance. I needed to roll her from one side to the other to get the straps under her and fastened but she wasn't co-operating with that either. It was more like a wrestling match than the usual pliable newborns I've dealt with before. As I tried to "flop" her over, she got rigid and rolled back into her original place. All the while shaking that head and blowing at me.

I did eventually get the blanket straps fastened despite her best attempts to stop me. Then I tried stimulating her to rise like I have many foals before but this darn filly was determined NOT to do anything that we wanted. She even managed to thwart the "urge" to rise that comes with running finger down each side of her spine. All I got was head shaking and little hops on her knees.

There was no way I could lift this big filly using my grip on the blanket back seam without her providing some of the impulsion. She was just too heavy for me to lift all that dead weight. I had to give up and turn it over to Dave. Something I am not prone to do since he doesn't follow direction well. Because he really doesn't handle the foals much he hasn't a clue what it takes to get things done with them. I rely on Dave only as a last resort.

This was definitely one of those situations. It was clear it was going to take muscle to get this stubborn foal to her feet. By grabbing the center back of the blanket Dave was able to literally pull the filly straight up off the ground. While the newborn horse wasn't happy with his interference she was glad to be upright. She fought Dave's assistance but was clearly trying to avoid falling. Dave managed to not get tangled in her protestations and next thing I knew, the filly was standing.

Somehow in that struggle she had managed to get a feeling of how her legs should work. It didn't take long from there and she had the hang of being on her feet. The filly fell a few times but managed to pop right back up without any help and make her way around the stall.

A good part of this time the mare was still laying down, resting from her long extended labor and a difficult delivery. Lucy watched the activity with her baby closely and seemed to know when it was time to get up and move onto the next phase our our after foaling chores....getting this filly to nurse.

Because how well a foal absorbs colostrum is directly related to how soon it nurses after birth, the sooner a foal is on its feet and nursing, the more effective the colostrum will be. This filly's little temper tantrums were ticking away precious minutes and still we didn't have her standing, let alone getting anywhere near the milk bar to nurse.

This part of the process is always frustrating to me. I feel the pressure of the clock breathing down my neck. I have had to have several foals tube feed their colostrum because they've not nursed in four hours on their own. Following along with that lateness, I've had foals that needed to be transfused because their antibodies were not high enough.

That combination makes me feel like I'm under a colossal gun which doesn't help with getting a newborn to nurse. Dave has managed to do a fair job of getting the job done with the last couple of foals so I enlisted his help this time as well.

Let's just say that this filly is NOT like most of the other foals we have had. Her determination to do things her way has permeated ever step of the way. Helping her to nurse wasn't any different than getting her on her feet, she didn't want our help and she countered every attempt.

Lucy wasn't helping much either. By now the mare had decided if the filly didn't want our help, maybe we should leave her alone. Lucy was now pinning her ears and circling the stall adding to the confusion. I ended up catching the mare and haltering her to stop her interference.

If that wasn't enough, seems this filly has a bit of a princess ego. Not only did she not want help, she didn't want loose hair on her face. Since her mother is shedding profusely, loose hair is a given. There's really no way to eliminate it from the scene.

Imagine our surprise when this filly finally would but her head in the right location only to remove it instantly. Shaking her head and snorting, the filly was blowing hair out of her nostrils or shaking it from her face.

Sometimes she would even get that loose hair into her mouth. The filly would back up shaking her head and working her lips trying to get rid of those unwanted hairs. She was far more interested in not being bothered by loose hair than finding her next meal. Meanwhile the clock was ticking.

To be continued...............

Part 5

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  1. Stubborn, determined little thing isn't she? I guess I was lucky with Jacob. He was born, up and nursing within 22 minutes of his mamma really getting down and pushing. It was fast, quick, 'text book', and he was up fast and hungry. Now he's the laziest horse in the world lol.

    Nice to know the 4 hour window thing. I was always told 6 hours. So, now I have something else to write down in my notebook.

    I've been watching her and I have to laugh at her little bucking cirlces. She's gonna be a handful.

  2. OOOH boy MiKael! Do you ever have your hands full with that little lady! Best of luck to you- cant wait to hear more about her!!

    Rubs to the critters from the Southland!

  3. Oh MiKael - she sounds like she's difficult but sooo much fun. I love a horse with a strong personality like that. She's going to make you work for sure, but when you two learn to get along it will be so rewarding. Can't wait to keep hearing about this one.

  4. Awww, What a great guy Dave is to come through when you need him most! I have a feeling this filly is going to be a pistol!

  5. This baby is just so wonderful! I can't wait to hear what you name her. Maybe Dave should have tried to keep her away from Lucy's udder, so baby would fight to get to it ;)

  6. loc, there's lots of different information on absorbtion of colostrum. At a convention I was at I heard a reproductive specialist who was connected to a study on colostrum absorbtion. Those findings stated that it wasn't changes in the colostrum that caused the loss of absorbtion but changed in the lining of the foal's digestive tract.

    The longer away from foaling the foal ingests colostrum, the less effective that absorbtion will be. The colostrum molecule is large the lining is loosely "woven" so the molecules can go bettween the "holes" to be absorbed into the system. From the point the foal quits getting nourishment from the mare's blood, that "loose woven" lining begins to tighten maken it progressively more difficult to absorb colostrum.

    The best absorbtion is right after birth with the possible absorbtion rate getting less and less effective as time passes. Based on these findings this vet recommended getting colostrum into the foal asap for the best results.
    He recommended not more than four hours saying that after that a foals are more likel to have low IgG scores.

    Since I have gone by his recommendations (and I have hand feed a number of foals due to his recommendation to do so when having difficulty getting a foal to nurse quickly) my foals have had great IgG numbers. So I stick by this.

    mrs mom, boy isn't that the truth. She is definitely a pistol.

    jackie, I love the foals with strong personalities like this as well. I am having a blast with this filly.

    callie, not going to be.......she is a pistol! lol

    molly, I think we're going to be doing lots of things to second guess this filly. lol

  7. I'm loving this story, even though I saw it all on the cam! The details are fascinating and explain a lot of what was going on that night & morning. Keep up the great work (with the horses & your writing)!

    Ooo, I had another name idea just pop into my head... Scandalous Flare!

  8. Yep a little spitfire, also watched her backing up to mommma and trying to kick her not one or two little bucks, about 5 or 6!!!!! I can also swear that she has grown already, there is more butt sticking out at the back than on the first day!!

  9. I am so enjoying this story about the filly's birth. Very interesting and I am learning alot. I have helped with numerous births and emergencies when I worked for the vet. But normally when we got there something was wrong and it was fast moving and left my head spinning! I am looking forward to breeding my mare, hopefully in a couple of years. Need to get another horse for Savannah to ride. Thanks for sharing her story! I have watched last night and just a minute ago, she is going to be a pistol!

  10. This little one is a riot. I'm sure you're not impressed by all her antics, but I find them hilarious. What a brat!

  11. I'm going to go look at the cam, I really wish I was one to stay with this story from day 1!

    Stubborn, determined, sounds like Ink lol ;D
    But that personality could mean great things, what do you think?

  12. dj, I know you can't really tell all the little details from the web cam so I try to share what happened. Writing it down helps me to process it as well.

    Scandalous Flare is interesting. I'll add it to the list. I am so persnicikity about names who knows what will strike me. I dont' know that I have a clue for it stribkes me. lol

    Lori, you are right. She has grown already. I'm going to have to pull out a larger blanket. lol

    dj, yes the camera is sagging. I've fixed it once and so has Dave. He says he's going to have to do "something" with it tomorrow so it stays in place. (the man plays cards tonight...so that's why tomorrow. lol)

    kwdhorses, you're right about it being fast moving. If you don't know what you're looking at, it's over before you have a chance to figure it out. But fast moving is good, the ones that don't move fast are the ones that can turn into real trouble.

    This filly was born a pistol.......there isn't any "going to be" about it. I love it! lol

    grey horse, sometimes her antics are frustrating but if the truth be told, I love it when they're like this. I really enjoy the challenge of dealing with such a smart horse.

    inkeq, I think personalities like these are great if they get channeled in the right direction. I am already working with this filly to teach her that I am the leader.

    She already knows she's not supposed to bite or kick me so we're on the right track.

  13. This is really entertaining and fascinating, bringing back memories of my little boy, who was similarly feisty after birth. We named him Justa Royal Handful. (Sire: Windsong's Justa Firestorm, Dam: Royal's Last Lady).
    Maybe your filly is getting back at you for your undignified examination of her "girl plumbing" on camera? ;-)

  14. enlightened, if you're right, the only thing I can tell you is she holds a grudge for a really long time. lol