Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Foaling Season 2008 on the Baby Boomer's Arabian Horse Breeding Farm Part 5

Part 1 starts here

Two hours after the Arabian mare had foaled, Dave and I still hadn't gotten the foal to nurse. That window for absorbing antibodies was decreasing in size so I decided that I would milk the mare and hand feed the filly her colostrum. Supposedly that would take the pressure off and give us some time to get this filly nursing like she should.

The only problem with that plan was it, too, required co-operation. Foals I have done this with in the past, have always relaxed and participated as soon as the warm liquid hit their lips. They were happy to suckle it down without any form of protestation but that was not the case with Lucy's foal.

The Arabian mare was fine with being milked but the filly had her own opinions about being hand feed. She really resented the handling involved. Shaking that head and trying to escape she made it clear she was not pleased with any part of this process. What we did manage to get into her mouth she used for blowing bubbles if she could.

Of course, the little princess didn't like the "feel" of the bubbles on her lips. She really was offended at it foaming up into her nostrils. (I have to say that nothing quite foams like colostrum!) The red filly was pretty convinced her discomfort was all our fault. That just made her more determined not to co-operate. She'd pull her head away and clamp her lips down tight stomping one front foot repeatedly when she wasn't trying to sit down on the floor.

None of this was conducive to getting the liquid into her stomach. I did manage to get at least a couple of ounces down her. Don't ask me how I did it. I know it was more luck than sense. It sure didn't happen because she wanted it too.

According to my calculations that was only about a quarter of what I needed for her to have any kind of shot at getting her antibodies up. I was worried that trying to hand feed her any more would only end up with the precious liquid on the ground. We were stuck with either getting her to nurse on her own or calling the vet.

I've learned in the past that sometimes just backing away can turn things around. Dave and I took a break and headed to the house. We'd leave the mare and foal together in hopes that they'd get it worked out on their own. I could keep track of their progress on my computer via my live webcam

Unfortunately, Lucy took advantage of our departure to lay back down. Despite the filly's efforts to get her to rise by running around the mare and even kicking her a time or two, the mare would not get up. There was no way this was going to work any time soon. It was back to the barn again.

Previously, I had tried to give Dave instructions on how to lead the filly to the mare's udder using his fingers and her milk. He hadn't been open to how to accomplish this procedure so I decided it was time for me to take over. Dave could hold the mare while I worked with the filly.

As usual there was a problem with the plan. And again this problem was the filly. She had gotten it in her brain that Dave was her man. She totally refused to be helped by me at all. I tried to guide her towards the back end of the mare and she promptly went the other way. Everything I tried she did the opposite. It was clear this filly wanted NO part of me.

Just think about this for a minute. I saved this filly......pulling her from the mare in a shoulder locked position..........then I released her from a sack that had her caught tight.........I'm her savior............right!....... well, not in her eyes. That little varmint clearly rejected me in no uncertain terms. No way was she going to nurse if it had anything at all to do with me! Give me a break! You want to talk primadonnas..........this red filly takes the all time prize! Remind me not to wish for anymore chestnut fillies!

We probably spent another hour with dear daddy, Dave, trying to guide this filly to nurse. She actually co-operated with him a bit more once she'd managed to rid herself of me. If I sound a bit snarky here..........wouldn't you be...........rejected by a two hour old foal! What in the heck is that????

On one hand I'm worried about the minutes ticking away and on the other hand, I'm no longer wanting Dave to have the satisfaction of being successful. Things were getting just a bit personal in this current episode on the baby boomer's Arabian breeding farm.

Dave probably spent another hour trying to get this darn filly to nurse. She was now letting him guide her towards the mare and headed toward the right location but still not happy about getting hair on her face or up her nose. Also, it turns out, this filly did NOT want to work. When she did touch a nipple she immediately pulled away. She didn't once ever try to latch on. A little bump, no milk...............she quit trying!

That filly was coming out from under the mare with milk everywhere except in her mouth. At one point it was dripping off her right ear. Another time she had it in her left eye. Both situations were cause for a temper tantrum or two. I think she even tried to kick Dave because she didn't like milk on her face.

Did I secretly chuckle that she was abusing him? You're darn right I did. I was beginning to think the two of them deserved each other. Calm, cool, collected Dave was beginning to get rattled. For two hours I'd been telling this filly that she was making the colts look good and now Dave had joined in. I heard him tell her "......and I thought that colts were dumb!" Names I had never heard from Dave's mouth (but most certainly from mine) were flowing as fast as milk should have been.

It did my heart good to see that Dave wasn't fairing any better than I had done. His composure was totally destroyed by one 100 pound filly. I've never seen him so exasperated with a horse. It was clear it was time for another break. Again we headed for the house and the clock keeps on ticking..............

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

Part 6

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  1. You're always leaving us in suspense, MiKael! I hope this little one figures out the nursing thing soon. She does seem to be a princess. But just imagine what spirit this little spitfire will have! Can't wait to see more pictures of her! Any name ideas?

  2. giggle. I can think of a number of unsuitable names for this little spark of a girl.

  3. Oh my gosh, I'm going to die laughing!!! Your descriptions are hilarious, but I'm sure these shenanigans weren't at the time. I watched ALL of that and it's uncanny that I was thinking most of the same things you just described! (The filly wanted Dave to be her nurse maid, she was being a snot about your help, etc.)
    Thanks for the good belly laugh! :)
    (New name idea: Scandalous Primadonna)

  4. I have just been watching her play on the webcam. She is such a little tyke, belts around, backs up, kicks mum and takes off again. Poor mare is so stoic :)

  5. What a little cutie!!! I love the way you write about your lot, I'm less eloquent so I'll stick to the photos for the moment!

  6. haha...those red headed mares I swear! They are always trouble!

  7. Oh my! She is going to keep you busy in the next few years.

  8. OMG! She is a sassy frass of a filly. Got to love her obstinant personalitiy. LOL, Her Royal Princess. I think you need to lay out the red carpet!...LOL

  9. Isn't it always "Be careful what you wish for?" She sounds like she will be a wonderful addition to your stable.

  10. I agree you leave us hanging everytime! She is a little stinker!

  11. I've just been watching the little Princess, (hey Scandalous Princess, how does that sound?) play around her momma probably 7am your time, paw at the ground in frustration for some unknown reason, poke and prod momma's udder because she wanted a drink try the odd buck and kick headed in moms direction and all of this in a 5 minute space of time!!!

    OK I am waiting patiently for the next episode in the saga, I am beginning to feel glad that my paints are such an easy bunch to deal with when it comes to foaling!!!!

  12. I have heard and seen it first hand with some of our horses that chestnuts seem to have a lot of personality and attitude. Looks like this little fireball is heading for one heck of a huge personality with attitude to spare.

  13. I think Dave deserves being taken out to dinner. What a trooper! I'm sure neither of you wanted to be up for hours dealing with a stubborn filly, and worrying about those antibodies. She sure is adorable, though. ;)

  14. pony girl, names are flying fast and furiously but not one that has stuck yet.

    holly, you and me both.

    dj, I have had a number of opinionated foals, not to mention a couple of really dumb colts so I have reached a point where this part is funny, although stressful. Even at the time I was telling her she was dumber than colts, I was laughing.

    beckyz, I just wish mom would put her in her place a couple of times. That would sure help my job. Mom has threatened to kick her a couple of times. Guess that's better than nothing.

    laura, my photos aren't too hot, so words must do it for me. I'm glad you're enjoying the little monster's story.

    onethebit, I have another redheaded filly out of this mare, believe me.........she is nothing like this one. Quiet and regal but almost timid. However, I have a theory about how that happened. I think there's lots of fire smoldering inside Gypcy.

    kathy c, ya, I think you're right about that. lol

    molly, yes it is.....and the other saying running around in my careful what you name them....they might just live up to it. lol

    kwdhorses, hanging seems to be my writing style. What can I say? She is a stinker......but a cute little stinker.

    lori, you don't know what you're missing. lol there's nothing quite like an Arabian foal to set you on your heels laughting so hard.

    grey horse, boy you've got that one right.

    nuzzling muzzles, I don't think there's much hope of Dave being taken out to dinner. He'll be lucky to get out of dog house for not helping me pull this filly in the first place. It's a good thing I managed to get her out without losing them both. He learned a big lesson on this foaling. I'm really glad we didn't have to have it be the hard way. Which seems to be the way he usually learns.

  15. Hi Mikael!

    I've been enjoying your foaling season series so much that I decided to steal your style a bit and write mine in parts too. There is just too much to tell!!! I put the first post up and I'm writing the second now!

  16. I'd name her... "Scandalous Attitude to Spare" ... lol :)

  17. Scandalous Spitfire is a cool dude.

  18. kelly, so glad to hear that your writer's block is over. There's nothing like a new baby to get those juices flowing again.

    kim, she does have plenty of that but the registry doesn't allow that many letters. lol

    kahless, I, too, think she's pretty darn cool. But then I'm probably prejudiced.

  19. Well how many letters does the registry allow then?

    You probably already have a list of names for this filly, but I think these would be good names for her to add to the list...

    "Scandalous Princess"

    "Scandalous Attitude"

    and "Scandalous Trigger"

    I also think "Scandalous Tigger" would be cute, because she's the only foal born this year on your farm...

    "The wonderful thing about Scandalous Tigger is, she's the only one!" (born this year anyway.)

    She's kinda like a rambunctious Tigger anyway lol!

  20. oh, she's going to be filled with ATT-I-TUDE! Sounds like just the kind of horse I find myself drawn too. Thanks for giving me my "foal fix" every day.

  21. Now I understand your comment on my blog about the Mare/Foal bond! I hope I never have to deal with one so stubborn - I think you show a lot of patience and restraint.
    My vet recently told me about a study where some of the foals in the study were withheld the colostrum and fed nothing for 12 hours (this sounds like abuse to me!) - others were either allowed to nurse or fed cow's milk. What they found after testing all the foals was that it wasn't about the colostrum - it was about how clean the foal's environment was. Even the foals that had nothing but were kept clean tested fine for antibodies. I want to find out more about this, but it would take away the pressure of getting the foal to nurse - some of them just seem to have to be really hungry to be willing to put any effort into the task.

  22. kim, twenty-one and that must include spaces. I don't know how I'm going to use it with the "scarlet" yet but "scarlet" will be part of her name. It's so stuck in my head. lol

    ranchette, I wish someone would take care of my "foal fix." If I could get them some other way than having my own foals I would have a much smaller herd. lol

    linda, it's interesting how different studies can come up with opposing conclusions. I know the vet I met at the mini convention was speaking about the conclusions of a study as well. It stated that the absorption rate of the lining of the digestive tract began to change immediately after birth affecting the rate of absorption of the colostrum.

    No wonder we owners and breeders can get confused.