Sunday, April 18, 2010

Solidare............The Foal

Part 1

With Solidare now standing, I called the vet to confirm we had managed to get the mare to her feet. He gave me a time table of what I might expect if a torsion had occurred in that process and a few other things to watch for with this mare. Until the mare's uterus quit contracting, there was also still a possibility, although slight, her uterus could still prolapse.

With that out of the way I focused on getting the wet stall cleaned up. I didn't want there to be any slick spots that might be a risk for Solidare or the new foal. The wettest part, of course, was underneath where Solidare had lain. That's were all the amniotic fluid had collected. I went to cleaning out all the wet straw and getting new bedding down while Solidare visited with her foal. Once I got the bedding done, I headed off to the house to cook the mare her bran mash.

Dave stayed at the barn keeping an eye on the two, playing with the foal. That's the part he likes best. He loves those funny new babies on their teetering legs and he's very good at getting them to nurse. He has lots of patience for this task and I'm more than happy to leave it to him since patience is not my thing in this particular situation.

For foaling mares I like to make my mash with more bran than grain. I stopped by the other barn and picked up a bucket filling it with two scoops of bran and one of rolled oats. Once in the house I also woke Lindsay up telling her the news and asking her if she would feed breakfast to the rest of our herd. Then I went to the kitchen to finish the mash.

I added about a half cup of molasses and chopped up some carrots (I normally add some beet pulp and apples but we were out of the latter and I forgot the former). I put the whole thing in a big pot. Added lots of water and then put it on the burner. I like to heat it until it's steaming, stirring the whole time so it doesn't stick and burn. Once it's cooked I poured it back into the bucket for transport to the barn.

When I returned to the foaling stall, Dave still had not managed to get this foal to nurse. He had been close several times but was having trouble keeping the foal on task. By this time I was thinking this foal really reminded me of Chance. I guess I should have realized then what was going on.

When I walked into the stall, Solidare began nudging me to get her mash. I couldn't pour it fast enough into the feed pan for her. The mare tried sticking her head into the bucket making it more difficult for me to pour, then stomped her foot at me for taking so long. It was good to see Solidare was already feeling better.

While Solidare slurped down her hot mash, Dave and I worked at getting this foal to nurse. First off it looked like it was going to be fairly easy. Dave made comments about how smart fillies are because the foal was right there where it belonged. The only problem was the foal sucked every place on that udder except for the nipples and it easily lost focus.

Right from the start of working with this foal to nurse, I was concerned. While the foal had a suck reflex it was not as strong as I like to see. The overall demeanor of this foal was a little more subdued than what I expect too. I was beginning to suspect that this was a "dummy foal" not to the extremes...... but enough to make the going tough, complicated if you will, as in needing more human intervention. Again, I thought about Chance.

Lindsay stopped by a few times on her way back and forth cleaning stalls checking in to see how things were going. It was on one of these trips she told me she'd been thinking that "Serenade" would be a good name for Solidare's foal. Since the last three of the mare's foals have had musical names, Serenade sounded good for a filly. Lindsay was pleased. Her names are not always the ones I pick.

After a couple of hours.........and I do mean hours of trying to guide, coerce or whatever other way we knew how to do, coax this foal to nurse I gave up and I quit letting Dave tell me it would be ok. The clock was ticking and we still had no colostrum into this foal. Not knowing exactly what time this foal had been born, we only had a ball park figure on how old this foal was. I didn't want to waste anymore precious time without getting colostrum down the foal.

I went back to the house for a clean container and a large dose syringe. When I returned, I rewashed the mare's udder and then milked enough colostrum off the mare to fill the syringe. Then I hand feed the little varmint. The last thing I wanted was a foal that needed to be transfused because of low IgG scores.

It took Dave's help, however, to get the liquid down the foal. It's not that the foal was fighting me but it wasn't willing participating either. Dave had to hold the foal's head in the correct position as well as hold the mouth open so I could manage the syringe without spilling any of the vital fluid.

It was necessary to go very slowly. This foal wasn't spitting out the sticky foamy fluid but was not visibly swallowing it either. The upside was the foal wasn't choking on it. The fluid was going down.........but ever so slowly. It worked more like a plugged up drain gradually diminishing than a foal swallowing the precious colostrum.

I had to gauge my additions of more liquid by the level of bubbles in the foal's mouth. I've never been all that patient but at times like this I seem to muster up enough to get me through. I managed to not get ahead of this foal so we didn't get into any choking. None of the precious fluid rolled out of the mouth. Only a little got wiped off on the foal blanket when Dave once lost his grip and the foal rubbed its face across the blanket. Other than that pretty much all I milked off the mare got down the foal. At least that was good.

Even though it was a slow protracted process the foal got the much needed colostrum. We managed to get six ounces down. I figured, guessing at size and weigh, based on what we'd done with the twins, this would be right for now.

Then we went into the house for breakfast and to give the mare and foal a break from our intrusions. I hoped when we returned, the foal might be a little more lively......... a little more vigorous.

Once back out at the barn, there was more stall cleaning. I was glad to see that Solidare had actually pooped while we were in the house, not just once but three nice piles. That spoke volumes about the condition of the mare. We were probably out of the woods for colic and maybe even torsion. I worked at getting the piles cleaned up before they got mushed into the straw.

It was while I was working on cleaning the stall this second time, I spied something unusual on the foal. Well, unusual for a filly......... I went closer, lifting up the tail and sure enough, there they were. Two of them, nice big testicles hanging down for all the world to see. Another Legs colt born with both testicles down. Whodda thunk!.........especially when it was as quiet as this one. Just another reason for me to suspect I was dealing with a dummy foal.

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

A Routine for the Foal

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  1. This one is determined to keep you hopping! Is his swallow reflex better now? is he sucking ? Am I getting ahead of the story?

  2. Glad that Solidare was feeling okay. What a surprise that your filly wasn't a filly at all. Milking and hand feeding sounds like a chore. Hope he decides to do more for himself soon.

  3. Oh no, it's never easy for you, is it? I certainly hope the foal perks up and everything turns out okay. He has a lovely little face.

  4. fernvalley, you are getting ahead of the story. So far I've just covered the first few hours and there is more to come. Let me just say, the only thing this colt did easily was pee.

    Arlene, Solidare is definitely feeling much better. That's been a relief. I was surprised to see something hanging down underneath a half cocked taik. To be honest at first it didn't compute. Had to lift the tail to see what was up. Then I was disappointed. Had Dave gotten it right in the first place, I'd have been OK with a colt. LOL

  5. Fantastyk Voyager, Actually I have had some very easy foalings and easy after care, this one just wasn't one of them. I suspect Solidare laying down as much as she did at the end of the pregnancy had an affect on this guy.

    He does have a very sweet face and so far I've not really captured it well in pics. His face really reminds me of Rhythm. Hopefully I'll get a shot that shows the similarities with him and his full brother.

  6. Goodness I wish mine would be born with both nuts down! My last one we went to cut was a crypt so he's still uncut until some better weather and conditions.

    Is he sucking?

  7. What an absolutely adorable face! He sure is a cutie. Hope he is doing better--he seems to be bright and interested in everything. Or are looks deceiving??

  8. this really does sound like a lot of work. Such a little beauty he is.

  9. I'm so glad Solidare had her baby okay--I was praying for her to foal safely. I hope you aren't waiting to upload some bad surprises on that front... And I hope the foal is okay too. His face is so adorable!

    Our first foal was born a week premature, what you've written so far reminds me of him. I've been following Solidare's story closely cause once I was offered a free breeding to a nice stud for my older Arab mare (who's still my best bud now at 27) and I desperately wanted another baby out of her. I have one purebred filly, but she is very narrow and tiny (personality-wise though, I couldn't ask for any better). Anyway, my vet told me another pregnancy might be too much for my girl, so I never bred her, though I still long for a baby that more resembles her badly. Reading about Solidare makes me feel as though I made the right decision to not breed her then.

  10. Danielle, I don't know if you really want one born with them down, they usually are much more studdy when they're like that. But dealing with a crypt I can understand why you'd rather see two.

    He is sucking, just not well.

    phaedra, bright is not a word I would use at this time. If he looked bright, I'd be happy. He is alert and that's good.

    Tammy Lee, you're right about the work, it's a lot right now.

    PPG, surprises, who? me?

    Solidare was checked out ok to bred by more than one vet. That's what has been so frustrating. Like you, had I been told there was any risk, I would definitely not have bred.

    Can you do an embryo transfer from your mare? That shouldn't stress her.