When your mare is close to foaling it can be a tense time until your foal arrives safely. The majority of mares do not experience difficulty during foaling however a small handful do which can result in death of the foal or even the mare if assistance is not provided immediately.
Pepper Tree Farm offers supervised foaling for both resident and seasonal mares. Mares are foaled under 24 hour supervision to ensure timely intervention should your mare experience any difficulties. Our facilities are purpose built to provide a clean, safe foaling environment for your mare.
Once a foal is delivered safely, it is observed closely for normal behaviour including standing, walking, urinating, defecating and suckling. It is vital that a foal drinks enough quality colostrum (first milk) so that it achieves adequate immunity to infection. To ensure this occurs, the mare’s milk is tested at Pepper Tree Farm to check the antibody level is sufficient to provide immunity. If the mare’s milk is inadequate then foals are given supplementary colostrum from stored supplies. The foal’s immunity (IgG level) is also evaluated at 10-12 hours following birth via a blood test. If immunity is poor, steps are taken to ensure the foal’s immunity is boosted to adequate levels. This includes further colostrum supplementation or a plasma transfusion. Other management protocols to ensure the health of your foal include umbilical disinfection, treatment of meconium (first manure) impaction and antibiotic treatment if required.
Postnatal care of mares is also important to ensure that there are no lacerations or excessive bleeding, the placenta is expelled intact in a timely manner and that the mare is bright and alert and tending to her foal. The mare is thoroughly cleaned shortly after foaling and appropriate treatment is given if required.
We recommend that mares be brought to us a minimum of 4 weeks prior to their due date in order to minimise stress. It also allows the mare time to produce antibodies against local environmental pathogens so that immunity may be passed to the foal through colostrum.
Pepper Tree Farm is committed to the health and safety of your mare and foal. Through purpose built facilities, 24 hour supervision and attention to detail we are able to provide your mare the best chance of safe foal delivery. For further information regarding our protocols feel free to contact us.