Foaling season is right around the corner. Some of us have already seen our first 2014 foal. Please remember to take your mares off fescue in their third trimester and also to get their prefoaling shots done 1 month before foaling. Also, mares that have been caslicked will need to opened up several weeks before their due date. Begin preparing a clean dry stall for your mare and getting her used to the routine of coming in at night beginning 1 month before foaling. It’s good practice to check her as often as possible (at least twice daily), especially in cold weather. Mares can surprise you with early deliveries, and quick response may be required to keep new foals warm.
Remember that it is imperative the foal get adequate colostrum within the first twelve hours after birth. This means the foal must be nursing well and the mare must be producing good quality milk with adequate colostrum in it. The best way to determine this is via a blood test on the foal 12 hours after birth. This test measures the amount of antibodies that the foal has absorbed from the mare’s milk. If this number is not adequate, there are several ways to improve this number, improving your chances of having a happy healthy foal.
As always, call your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.