Monday, April 19, 2010

Solidare............a Routine for the Foal

Part 1

Last year, I am the one that made the mistake about what gender the foal was. Now it was Dave's turn to take the heat. There's nothing I like more than getting the opportunity to "catch" Dave in a mistake. It doesn't happen often, not that he doesn't make them, because he does. It's the catching him in one that doesn't happen often.

Dave can finagle his way out of most anything but it would be hard to get out of this one. His wishful thinking about having a filly had jinxed me and set him for a fall. He saw what he wanted to see..........instead of what was really there. I'll be rubbing it in for a while.

I had to be the one to break it to Lindsay. "Serenade" is not my idea of a colt name. That meant back to the drawing board on names for this guy. As much as Lindsay was disappointed, I think she was excited at the possibilities of colt names too. So far she's had no recommendations but I'm sure they're coming soon.

While I finished cleaning the stall for the second time, Dave went back to work trying to teach this foal to nurse. This time I heard his mumblings followed by giggles about "stupid colts." Dave was building his rapport with this dude no matter what gender and getting frustrated at the time it was taking.

Not long after this, Dave did finally get this colt to nurse. I watched carefully and listened even more carefully. This colt was just not "latching on" like he should nor was he nursing for any length of time. There was good reason to believe he wasn't getting all the milk he needed.

Not that Solidare didn't have enough milk. From the time the foal touched a nipple the milk was streaming. The colt was getting more milk on his face than in his tummy, I suspect. That made it important to keep him on task. When he'd wander away wanting to lay down, we'd turn him back towards mom. It was just like the early days with the twins making sure they were nursing long enough to get what they needed.

Because of this lack of focus and weak suckle reflex, I checked the colt every two hours to be sure he was up and nursing. I'd also watched for behavior that said he was getting stronger........not weaker. Dummy foals can "forget" to nurse or go off task before they've gotten enough fuel to sustain them. They can go down hill really fast.

Running over the regime in my mind, I realized I'd been so focused on Solidare, I'd forgotten to iodine the foal's umbilical cord. I also had not gotten to an enema yet. While I knew the colt's bladder was working normally, there were no signs that anything else was. At least for the moment, the focus was shifting from Solidare to the foal.

Before I left for the house again, I thought about Solidare and the way she's lain in this stall for months. It's been a consistent protective position. She's always laid with her butt facing Dare's stall (so a herd mate had her back) keeping her face turned towards the road (the most likely place a threat might come). I thought these facts could work for us in keeping Solidare safe from injuring her leg.

I realized the foal was once again laying in the corner tucked in under the water buckets. I knew if he stayed there, when Solidare laid down she would probably lay down so she could keep an eye on him and still maintain her protective manner . That meant she'd be laying with the weak leg underneath her so I pulled the foal out of that corner and laid him in the one where Solidare could see him laying with the strong leg underneath her hoping I could influence how she laid down.

When the mare did go down, she went down just as I hoped. The colt was still laying in the corner I'd moved him to and Solidare laid down in her usual spot. She had a perfect view of her new baby and her strong leg was underneath her.

That's pretty much how most of the day went. I monitored the colt for his nursing habits and strength as well as his position when laying down. I was hoping we could "teach" this colt to lay in one place so we might avoid Solidare laying down on her weak leg.

Most of the time when I checked I had to rouse the colt to get him to nurse. Once up he seemed to find the udder pretty easily but he still wasn't nursing as strongly as I thought necessary. He did, however, seem to be strong enough for his age, although still way too quiet for my liking.

A couple of times I found the colt up and the mare down. Solidare didn't want to get up and the colt was too young to have figured out how to nurse from a laying down mare. I suspect it won't take that long for Solidare to "teach" him how to accomplish this, however.

I did notice that even in the first day, Solidare was teaching this colt what she expected. By the end of the day, if they were both laying down and people arrived, Solidare would "tell" her foal to get up and move behind her. She didn't have to get up. He just did as he was told. One nicker and the colt got to his feet taking refuge behind her. He wouldn't come out unless the mare told him it was ok.

Half the time I found the colt down he'd be in the corner under the water buckets and I'd move him out to the "right" corner. The other half he'd be in the corner I wanted him to use. At least we seemed to have just the two choices. I was beginning to think maybe we could get him trained about where to sleep without a further incident with Solidare.

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

The Fall

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  1. Sounds like a struggle still. Hope you and Dave are starting to feel better

  2. He's really just too adorable. I wish he would just nurse properly already and be done with it. You must be so frustrated at this point. Hope he finds out how to nurse and keep getting the nutrients he needs.

  3. I knew I shouldn't have tried to do the filly never works! Heck, yours even changed sexes.

    Glad to hear you finally got him up and nursing. I hope both he and Solidare continue to make positive progress.

  4. HHC, I guess it has washed out from burgundy to pink over the years. LOL

    fernvalley, yupe, still a bit of a struggle here and we're still using heating pads on our poor backs.

    Arlene, I'm with you. It would be a relief to have him get "it."

    Story, yupe, filly chants would definitely be taboo unless you really want a colt. That's the way it seems around here anyway. LOL

  5. Sure sounds challenging but at least things are working out so far. Here's hoping that the worst is over now.

  6. Oh what a beautiful baby-man! That's what I called scratchie. My baby-man!
    So thankful he got here okay. Sometimes it just takes a bit for em to get the nursing part down.
    Congtrats to all of you! What a team effort!
    Love ya!

  7. He is so adorable!! Love his little blanket!