Useful Tips

Foal care


Foil and first aid for childbirth. On the day of the foal, when the birth is near, the mare becomes restless, walks along the stall, then lays down, then gets up, often excreted feces and urine, looks around at her ass, etc. When the mare approaches, the mare lays down and her attempts begin. After several attempts from the birth canal, an amniotic bladder is shown. With proper childbirth, the fetus goes with the front legs with the head laid on them or the hind legs with the tail located between them. If the position of the fetus is correct, then the mare must be left to her own devices. Only with weak attempts can help be provided by slightly sipping the foal by the legs during the attempts. If the fetus comes with a head thrown back or legs bent at the wrists, then you should immediately call a veterinarian or paramedic. Normal childbirth lasts 20-40 minutes.

As soon as the fetus is released, it must immediately be freed from the amniotic membrane, tearing it. Then it is necessary to bandage the umbilical cord with a disinfected thread, retreating 3-4 cm from the abdomen of the foal, and cut it with clean scissors. After that, the foal’s mouth, nose and ears are cleaned of mucus, then it is wiped with clean straw and the mother is given the opportunity to lick it, which she usually does very carefully. After about an hour, the foal rises to its feet and is allowed to approach the mother’s udder.

Care for the suckling mare and foal before weaning. The placenta is separated and leaves after the foal or after 1-2 hours, but sometimes its delay is observed. In this case, the placenta is removed artificially, but always with the help of a veterinarian or paramedic. After removing the placenta, the latter, together with wet straw, is removed from the stall and fresh, dry straw is laid. The crotch, udder, hind legs and tail of the mare are washed with warm water. It is allowed to water the mare a little and about 2 hours after the foaming, and to feed it only after 5-6 hours with good soft hay and bran in the form of a talker.

Both the sucking uterus and the foal, especially in the first days after the foal, need constant supervision. Sometimes a foal is delayed in the original feces, this can be seen by some signs of animal anxiety: the foal twirls its tail, lies down, pulls its legs under it, and then the stool is removed with a finger lubricated with petroleum jelly, or an enema is made from warm soapy water.

Five days later, after a foal, in good weather, the mare and her foal can be walked for about 30 minutes. Each day, the walks are somewhat lengthened, and to prevent colds, they make sure that the foal does not lie on cold, damp ground. If the weather is bad with cold winds or rain, then walks cannot be arranged until 1 — l, 5 months, until the foal gets stronger.

For the foal to develop normally, it is necessary to provide him with enhanced nutrition, bearing in mind that in the first year of life the most intensive growth is manifested. This is confirmed by the data of measurements and increase in live weight in trotter young animals at stud farms of the NKZ of the USSR.

Measurements and weight of young growth

Measurement Time Height at withers in cm Weight in kg
On the 3rd day after birth9872
3 months120215
6 months130,2300
12 months143,5390
At full age160-

The most valuable food in the first months of a foal’s life is mother’s milk. With a low milk yield of the mare, usually explained by a lack of nutrition, excessive work or a painful condition, the foal does not grow well, and its molting begins not by 3 and 4 months, but much later. A well-fed foal by the age of 5-6 months already finishes molting and is covered with new hair, which serves as a good indicator of its normal development. Under-mare weighing 500 kg under factory conditions should be given at least 8.7 food. units at 0.7 kg of digestible protein, while the best combination of feeds is good pasture with top dressing concentrated feeds, especially bran and rolled oats.

During the stall period, the most favorable feed combination in a daily dairy for an idle mare or performing only light work would be approximately 4 kg of bean hay, 1 kg of bran, 3 kg of oats, 2 kg of carrots and, in addition, to provide the foal with mineral nutrition, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of table salt and chalk daily to the mare.

For nursing mares in the stall mode prof. I.S. Popov and V.P. Dobrynin recommend approximate rather plentiful diets (see table).

The daily diet should be fed to the mare in three dachas and, in addition, give roughage at night.

Regarding the use of suction mares for work, the following rules must be followed:

1. According to the decree of the Plenum of the Central Committee of the party of July 1, 1934, it is necessary to start working on suction mares no earlier than 15 days after the draw, while first using it for passenger work on your farm.

2. If the foal is at work with the uterus, then it should not be harnessed to tools - plows, mowers, reapers, etc., since these machines can easily cripple the foal.

3. Since the foals first suck the mother often, it is necessary to give the mare at work, first after an hour, and then after 2 hours rest for feeding.

4. The most careful way to comply with all the rules of rational care: cleaning, clearing hooves, timely feeding and watering, etc.

Foals from about 1.5-2 months of age are taught to concentrate feed, first from one feeder with their mother (for this, the feeder should be set low), and then self-feeding is done either on a pasture in a special pen or in a stable in a special stall, eating flattened oats, starting from 200 g and bringing the cottage to 2-3.5 kg at the time of weaning.

In order to avoid diseases, the foal in the stable rooms should always be clean and dry, and the foal should be cleaned every day and in case of illness call a veterinarian.

The grazing content of foals is especially good for strengthening their body, contributes to their growth and resistance to disease.

Weaning foals and winter weaning. Foals are weaned at the age of 5-6 months, and the practice of stud farms has shown that it is more convenient to take away not gradually and not individually, but in groups, from several queens at once, whose foals have achieved the same development.

Foals withdrawn and deprived of mother's milk in order to avoid a slowdown in their growth, it is necessary to provide adequate nutrition and careful care on the part of the best experienced people attached to them, working on the basis of piecework-premium labor rates. In accordance with the decision of the Plenum of the Central Committee of the party of July 1, 1934, bonus payments were introduced to collective farms ensuring the implementation of the foal rearing plan, with up to 25 workdays and state farms charging up to 100 rubles for each foal raised.

It is better to wean the most in the morning or in the afternoon after preliminary feeding of foals. The latter are usually placed two in a stall, and couples are selected according to their fatness, character and gender. Mothers are driven away into a herd or harnessed to their usual work. The next day, weaners are relegated to levada, in the absence of their foals are driven away to a previously allocated, possibly dry and with good grass, pasture. In order for the foals to graze calmly, it is recommended that they let a calm old gelding. On the 3rd day, the foals are already grazing calmly. With the onset of autumn colds and rains, grazing ceases, and the foals are transferred to winter stable keeping, limiting themselves to a systematic daily walk for 1/2 to 2 hours. After weaning, the foals are gradually accustomed to brushing. If they are approached carefully and stroked lightly, they quickly become accustomed to cleaning. Raising one leg or the other slightly while cleaning and clearing the hooves of dirt, they prepare them for the upcoming clearing of the hooves and forging. Careful handling of foals makes them calm and trusting.

In stable housing, the same care rules apply to weaners as for adult horses. Foals need to be given as many free movements in the fresh air as possible for the good development of muscles, heart and lungs, which makes animals more resistant to diseases.

For the successful rearing of a good horse, the specific daily routine of the stable adopted for the period of winter keeping the horse is of great importance. In accordance with the instructions of the Glavkonupra of the NKZ of the USSR, the following procedure for the care and feeding of foals is recommended: in the winter at 6 a.m. watering, distribution of roughage and half the daily norm of oats or a mixture of concentrates with chopped carrots, then cleaning the young, cleaning the foal and removing manure , at 10 am - a watering place, distribution of part of concentrated and roughage and letting young animals out for a walk, at 3 pm - driving from the walk and giving roughage, at 8 pm - watering, giving the rest of the concentrated ma with carrots, then giving roughage and cleaning the stalls for the night, at 12 o’clock at night the stable groom. or the watchman distributes the remains of roughage.

Sample rations recommended by Glavkonuprom
as foals providing normal development (in kg)

Stern Weaners and yearlings One-and-a-half and two-year-olds
Oats2 — 2,52 — 2,5
Legume Hay2,08
Hay meadow43

These average rations are differentiated and clarified as applied to young animals of different sizes and are adapted to the presence of certain feeds on the farm.

Summer content of yearlings. In order to avoid gastric and intestinal diseases, the transition of yearlings from winter to summer should be gradual and not too early. Foals are split before release into the pasture into groups by sex and fatness. Dry pasture should be allocated for them, since raw animals often get helminthic diseases. In order to shelter foals from heat and rain on pastures, it is advisable to arrange canopies. In addition to grazing, foals need to be fed with concentrates, the size of which will not be the same, depending on the quality of the pasture.

The degree of development of foals at stud farms is judged by weight gain and measurements corresponding to established standards on the basis of many observations at stud farms in relation to trotter, riding and working breeds.

At an older age, the measurements should be as follows (in cm):

Measurements Trotting and riding Workers
Height at the withers150 — 160158 — 162
Chest circumference175 - 182190 - 210
Metacarpal circumference19 - 2022 - 25

Given the importance of the tasks of the party and government regarding the expanded reproduction of horse young stock and its significant qualitative improvement, it is necessary to use all efforts to avoid repeating the mistakes and omissions made in the work of previous years on this crucial front of the construction of socialist animal husbandry. The main foundations of successful work are:

1. In a careful selection of brigades and the arrangement of people, not forgetting that the collective and state farm stables are a favorite place for the manifestation of subversive activities of pests and loafers.

2. In the complete elimination of depersonalization and the implementation of all directives of policy makers regarding the piece-rate system of labor prices, stimulating the achievement of high quality indicators.

3. In the development of techniques for the conservation of mares from miscarriages and the proper upbringing of young animals and for the implementation of all generally zootechnical and zoohygienic and veterinary rules regarding the reproduction of horse stock and its conservation.

Features of caring for a pregnant mare

In order for a foal to be born on time, and also not to suffer from diseases, it is worth starting with caring for a pregnant horse. Pregnancy lasts about a year, this is how much the mare carries the baby. Throughout this period, the animal will need special care.

First of all, a mare foal should receive the highest quality feed, which will take into account all its vital needs. It is also necessary to create conditions under which the animal will be protected from stress and worries as much as possible, because these factors can become the cause of spontaneous abortion. A miscarriage may also occur because the horse has been overfed.

Below is a list of recommendations for caring for a mare in position:

  • It is worth abandoning the use of low-quality feed in food, giving preference to better first-class hay and grain. The same goes for water: you need to ensure that it is enough to keep it clean and fresh. As for water, it is worth abandoning the cold during pregnancy, since the animal can get sick if he drinks it.
  • Feeding should be done strictly on schedule, preferably three meals a day. However, in the last trimester it is recommended to increase the number of meals to 5, at this time, portions of the diet should, on the contrary, be reduced. You need to drink the mare in the same amount.
  • It is necessary to try to protect the mare from injuries, fractures and bruises, especially injuries to the abdomen, where the unborn foal is located.
  • During the course of pregnancy, especially in recent months, it is necessary to free the animal from work and any physical activity: this can adversely affect the condition of the foal.
  • It takes more time to walk the filly: this will benefit the future mother and child.
  • As for the conditions of detention, the filly should live in a well-ventilated, warm room, where she can give birth to a foal and later raise it.

It is also worth mentioning that during the birth, the presence of a veterinarian will not be out of place in case something goes wrong. It is especially not recommended to take the foal to those who have just recently been engaged in animal husbandry. Although usually a mare gives birth herself without assistance.

The foal is born

Everyone is looking forward to the moment the foal is born. It is important that the mare give birth normally, without complications: this will be a certain guarantee that the baby will not have health problems. So, when this treasured day comes, although usually the birth itself takes place at night, it is worthwhile to properly prepare the stable for a new resident. For a mare, you need to create a place with a new clean litter, on which she can give birth to a baby. Lack of bedding or drafts will harm both the mother and the baby.

At the most crucial moment, when the foal passes through the birth canal, you need to stand in such a way that the horse does not see either the owner or any other people. The fact is that the natural instinct at the moment commands the foal of the mare to retire in order to remain alone with his task.

With independent regulation of the birth process, when there is no veterinarian nearby, you need to make sure that after birth, the foal is not in the amniotic membrane for a long time. If the mucous membrane did not tear on its own after contact with the floor or the mother did not lick it, immediately help the newborn, otherwise there is a risk of self-suffocation.

How to arrange foal care after childbirth

After the foal has lost the amniotic membrane, it is time to cut the umbilical cord, although it also happens that it breaks automatically. It is worthwhile to prepare all the necessary sterile instruments in advance. You need to take a silk thread and tightly tie it around the umbilical cord stump, forming a tail. Those who are faced with such a procedure for the first time should also study in advance how many centimeters you need to retreat from the baby’s stomach. Usually, doctors recommend a retreat of about 15 cm.

It is also necessary to ensure that the foal’s head is not covered by intrauterine mucus, special attention should be paid to the nostrils. Cleansing the nasal canal may require a piece of gauze and a douche. This step cannot be neglected, because sad statistics indicate that many deaths occurred due to the mucus on the head entering the airways of the horse.

If all the preparatory stages went without problems, the horse and the natural instincts do the rest. Unlike a human baby, a foal is able to stand on its own in two to three hours, after which a new stage of grooming begins - feeding the foal.

Feeding baby

As in the case of a man, there is nothing better than breastfeeding, because no artificial formula can replace the unique composition of breast milk. If a domestic foal does not resist the fact that the foal is sucking milk, the baby, along with calories, will receive an indispensable supply of vitamins and very important substances. It is believed that the strongest and most enduring riding horses are those that have been nourished naturally. It is worth saying that during the first month of life, a dairy stallion does not need any other food except milk: it currently contains everything you need.

Once the animals reach 2 months of age, it is worth considering that his diet should be enriched with other products. The first lure should be oats, but always chopped to a state of flour. При желании давать целое зерно его необходимо предварительно размягчить — отварить, и только осле этого давать малышу. Если исправно придерживаться графика питания жеребят, вводить новые продукты постепенно, то отъем малыша пройдет без проблем.

Лошадь в вашем хозяйстве. Выращивание жеребят до отъема

Halves are used when foals are improperly erased due to sweeping, clubfoot or rapprochement of the hocks. However, sometimes it is possible to correct the setting of the limbs and improve the movements of the foal even without shoeing - by only regular processing of the walls of the hooves with a rasp.

How to care for hooves and shoe a horse.


Foals should spend most of the time in the air: in the summer in the pasture, in winter (in good weather) they should be let out for a walk. Insufficiently moving foals are distinguished by a weak skeleton, weak tendons, and poorly developed muscles.

On the 2nd-4th day after a foal, a mare with a foal is driven off in fine weather. The first time the wiring lasts no more than 40 minutes, and subsequently its duration gradually increases and in clear, warm weather reaches several hours. On very cold days, foals-suckers are not allowed out for a walk so that they do not catch a cold.

It is recommended to enter the mare into the stable after a walk slowly and carefully, as the foal at the entrance to the stable does not see well, may lag behind the mare and bump into an object or stick to another horse that might hit it.

Foals should spend most of the time outdoors

In the first 1-1.5 months, the foal eats exclusively mother's milk. If the mare has fallen, it is necessary to feed the foal with cow's milk. Since cow’s milk is much fatter than mare’s milk, cow’s milk is diluted twice with boiled water to drink the foal and 2 tablespoons of sugar are added to 1 liter of diluted milk. Before feeding, milk should be heated to 25-27 °. At first, the foal is watered from the bottle, and then he gradually gets used to drinking from the bucket. Dishes should be thoroughly washed when drinking foal. It is necessary to drink the foal up to 4-5 months of age regularly after 1.5-2 hours.

In the first months of life, a foal eats only mother’s milk

Starting from 2 months of age, the foal should be fed with concentrated feed. Flattened oats are considered the best food at this age. By the time of weaning, dressing is brought to 2-3 kg per day. In addition to concentrated feed, foals should be given hay, as well as salt and chalk. Hay should be of better quality. Especially valuable for foals is hay early harvesting.

So that the mare does not eat oats intended for the foal, it is recommended either to tie it during feeding the foal, or to make special wells for the foals, which should be placed in a fenced place. The fence should be done in such a way that the foals could easily pass under it, and the mares could not pass.