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Miniature Horse about to foal?

Discussion in 'Birthing, Weaning, and Raising Young Horses, Mules' started by BirdsNRabbits, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. Apr 8, 2017
    BirdsNRabbits

    BirdsNRabbits Exploring the pasture

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    Hello all! I'm new here so excuse my lack of a profile picture. It won't load. Anyhow...

    My grandparents just recently purchased a miniature horse. I believe she is a mixed breed. They had no intention of breeding or anything, they just wanted a horse around on the farm. Well when they had loaded the horse on the trailer, and paid for it, the seller decided that was a good time to inform them... it's pregnant. Very inconsiderate and unprofessional in my opinion but the sale was done so they took the horse.

    She's a sweet little thing and they've only had her for about a day now. I really wish they had asked the original owner more questions about when she was due, and to be honest wish they hadn't bought the horse in the first place as none of us have any foaling experience, but she's here now. They told us that she could have the foal any time now, which really doesn't help cause now we're totally unsure of how close of an eye to keep on her.

    So basically to sum up, we have a miniature horse, who's pregnant, due any time now, and no experience or equipment whatsoever to birth a foal. They don't have a full sized barn, just a few sheds that are just the right size for the horse and goats (cause she's in a field with goats and a sheep too) to get into. I mean small sheds too, like a person probably couldn't walk in them standing up straight. If I could I would stay at my grandparents to help them keep an eye on her, in case something goes wrong, but I have a very busy week coming up and don't think I'm able.

    So basically this birth is going to have to be all natural, unless we can keep her in one of those sheds, but I doubt she'll stay in one. I don't even know what questions to ask... we just need help :p

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Apr 8, 2017
    norseofcourse

    norseofcourse Herd Master

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    Welcome to Backyard Herds, and congrats on the new mini! Even though she's not exactly what they expected...

    Do your grandparents have a vet they can call if there is trouble? In fact, it might not be a bad idea for them to have the vet out soon if possible, to check the mini over and see how she is, and maybe give an approximate time till birth. Did the previous owners give any vaccination or worming history?

    At a minimum you'll want to have some towels in case you need to help dry off the foal, and some iodine to disinfect the foal's umbilical cord after it's broken off, and again an hour or so later if you can. There's plenty of other things you can get to have on hand: gloves and lube in case you need to assist, etc.. - google 'foaling kit' for some ideas.

    Can they close her in one of the sheds if needed? Do they have some straw for bedding for her?

    I have ponies but I've never had a pregnant mare, so hopefully some of the other horse folks here will chime in soon, too. Good luck with her!
     
  3. Apr 8, 2017
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses True BYH Addict

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    Hello & welcome from another Virginian.

    So, a few questions........where are you in VA? I'm just outside Va Beach/Norfolk.

    Any idea age of mare, & if she has foaled before? What size is she -- minis come 27" to 34", some taller if in a different registry say 36-38". You can measure from ground to withers for height. The age/foals can be possibly answered by sellers, AND what size stallion bred her. A vet on call is always good.

    Minis generally foal nicely, they will usually take a very short time once you see signs -- kicking at stomach, fleering of upper lip, nipping/rubbing at sides, etc. Once down & pushing, you will have a foal within approx. 15-20 min. There will be only one. You should see a nose and two feet, feet will normally be offset, this allows the shoulders to be on a slant when passing thru the pelvic area. So long as you see progress, let her push on her own. Head out, shoulders will generally be next push and the rest just flows on out. The cord will break when one of them gets up. There is some blood transfer to foal at first, so don't try to cut or tie offat this point. The pressure of the pull to break also helps seal some areas.

    Most mares will lay there a few minutes before getting up & generally are attentive to licking & tending foal. Foals will take a few minutes to get up, often stumbling & falling -- long legs are harder to work than those short ones on a goat. She will have amniotic bag hanging that foal was inside, do NOT pull it. It is attached to placenta and will come out, the weight of the bag helps it along. Pulling can severely injure the uterus.

    Yes on towels, in case. You may need to use them to wipe the nose and mouth of foal. (It's a lot more mess than the little goats, if you've had those happening. Just an FYI)

    Most mares will bag well. How much & how soon may depend on # of prior foals. But, they will get tight just before. You need to rub her udder so she is ok with it. When foal is born, you may want to be sure the teats are not plugged with the waxy milk first seen. I've only had one or two with that issue and squirting some out will open it...or a warm, wet washcloth. I've watched hundreds born, helped several. I raised the smaller ones.

    They can certainly foal outside on clean pasture. Mostly mine were stalled because I had several foaling at a time and used cams to watch them so I could go to barns when foaling. This was because I had a large herd of them & easier for me to monitor.

    Ask away....many of us have been there, large & small equine.
     
    promiseacres likes this.
  4. Apr 8, 2017
    BirdsNRabbits

    BirdsNRabbits Exploring the pasture

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    There are some vets around... not sure if they do large livestock though. We'll have to check around. Not sure if we could do it though, pretty expensive :/ No worming or vaccination history to my knowledge, but they didn't mention and I didn't think to ask.

    Oh trust me, I've done lots of reading this evening. Tomorrow is busy, and it's Sunday, but maybe Monday or Tuesday we can go out and get stocked up. Some towels, iodine, gloves, lube, straw all that.

    It might take some modification of one of the sheds to keep her in and keep her visible to us. Plus ventilation for her. But it can probably be done.

    (Mini Horses, you replied as I typed all this, so I will answer your questions below...)

    We are all the way in Southwest Virginia, so you're quite a ways off. I believe they said she was 4 years old. No idea if she has foaled before. I saw her today but can't estimate how big she is. Maybe I can stop by tomorrow and measure her. Her stallion was about the same size (from pictures I saw of them together) so baby should be about the same size, right?

    I've read that if the water breaks and contractions start if you don't have a baby within 10-20 minutes it's likely a problem with the foaling is happening. That's what I'm most worried about, if something goes wrong.

    Thank you for walking through the process. Without making me read many many paragraphs like some sites. Thank you both for the help so far!
     
  5. Apr 10, 2017
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Greetings and welcome to BYH. Sorry this little life event brought you to us... So nice of you to help out the grand folks. What a dirty thing for the seller to pull on them. :rant
    Hope you'll share some pics with us and keep us updated on how everything turns out. Baby animals are great, but normally more so if expected and planned for... Maybe point your grandparents to this site and they can use us as a resource going forward. Make your self at home! Good luck with the mini and potential foal.
     
  6. Apr 11, 2017
    BirdsNRabbits

    BirdsNRabbits Exploring the pasture

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    Thanks! The horse seems to be doing fine. She's so round, and we can feel the baby moving about inside her belly. We have some friends in the area that help birth foals and calves all the time, so they might come out if anything goes wrong.

    Her udder is starting to swell, but we're waiting for it to become waxy, and for her milk veins to pop up on her side. It shouldn't be too much longer, I'll try to remember to post pics!
     
  7. Apr 18, 2017
    AClark

    AClark Loving the herd life

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    Well, I've never dealt with mini's, but I have a pregnant mare right now - like y'all, I bought her and when she came off the trailer it was obvious they forgot to mention something... My parents bred horses for the better part of 40 years so this is what I know.
    Foaling out in the pasture is fine. I understand with mini's some can have complications so best to keep an eye on them. I'd say you have a couple of weeks if you're still feeling kicking, that baby isn't into position to be born yet, because you'll notice a lot less fetal activity when they get into position. Mares can bag up and leak over night, or slowly build up a bag over the period of a month.
    A maiden mare won't have the same bag as a mare that's had foals before - I'll get some pics, I have a maiden mare and the pregnant one that has had foals before so you can see.

    I would definitely have a vet you can call handy. I read recently where someone let their mini struggle with the birth for hours, pretty sure they lost them both. Even if money is tight, the last thing you want is for her to have a problem and suffer for a prolonged period, or have to put her down yourself.
     
    Goatgirl47 likes this.
  8. Apr 18, 2017
    AClark

    AClark Loving the herd life

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    Ok, first pic is my pregnant mare, she's had foals before. Not bagged up, just has some "sag" going.
    Second picture is my maiden mare, who is older but has never had a foal.
    005.JPG 006.JPG
     
    Goatgirl47 likes this.