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Maddison
04-04-05, 08:00 AM
Hi everyone. I was hoping you might be able to help me with a bit of advice. I have just purchased a four year old pony (13.3hh) and have had the vet give her the appropriate vaccinations. We've discovered that she is about 5 or 6 months pregnant!! She is currently living with three other mares (aged 14 mthns, 10 years and 27 years) and has become the 2nd dominant mare in the herd (the 10 yr old being the most dominant). Do I have to separate her from the herd for her birth if the weather is good? I can put her in a day yard (approx 25 x 12m) attached to a stable if it is not. And if I have to separate her, how to I introduce her and the foal back into the herd with minimal danger to the foal?
Any other advice would be welcome.
Thanks in anticipation
Maddy

Syzygy
04-04-05, 10:57 AM
Yes, it is better to separate her from the others for delivery. Good if you have a yard and shelter or stable. Do not consider returning her until baby is at least three weeks old and then gradually. You can contact me direct if you wish. Julie

ziggy
05-04-05, 03:37 AM
Yes separate her from the herd. I do not put any of my brood Mares out with the other horses because I had one get kicked when she was about 8 months pregnant and aborted the foal. I also think 3 weeks of age is too young to introduce the foal back into the herd as I have seen them being rounded up by the other horses and kicked over the fence. This is only from experience.

Cheers

EA
05-04-05, 07:03 AM
I differ from the other responses. I would leave the mare where she is. it is perfectly natural for a mare in the herd to have a foal. You introduce more problems by taking her away and reintroducing her, as she will have to establish her position in the hierachy again.

the only reason I would consider moving her is if the other horses go off the property alot and could pick up diseases, and/or the fencing in the paddock is not adequate.

Maddison
05-04-05, 07:15 AM
Thanks everyone - but now I am really confused. I was thinking of separating her out and popping her into her own paddock with maybe the 14mnth old for company (she's a 10.0hh pony). The paddock is about 1 acre, post and wire with electric stand-off except on one side which is barbed wire (I'm having that replaced ASAP). I was of the understanding that it was OK to keep her in with the herd if the other mares were pregnant too. Any more help would be appreciated.
Maddison

Alpeony
05-04-05, 07:24 AM
I have only bred 3 foals and one was foaled away from home so my experience is very limited. I did, however, have a tightly knit herd of 4 horses that always lived together. When ever I tried to take the broodmare from the herd to deliver her foal she became quite stressed and ran around yelling. I figured that she knew what she was doing and felt secure in her herd (she was 2nd on the rung only inferior to and older gelding). Both times I put her back and she duly foaled without any problems at all. She let the rest of the herd say hello to the foal and then let me remove the rest of the herd to the next door paddock. I reintroduced them a few days later and never had a problem.
I guess you just need to assess the herd interactions and see if they are normally a tightly knit group or a bit stand offish.
Mares have been foaling in herds for a long, long time and I guess it would be silly of us humans to think that we know better than they do.

EA
05-04-05, 09:57 AM
Hope I have not confused you. Alepony is correct where the mare is secure is the best place for her.

I only raised the fencing as this is a big issue if you cannot absolutely guarantee that you will be there. If you are on any type of slope or is the mare foals near the fence you can very very easily lose the foal under the fence. If you are not there it can be chased off by other animals, or simply dehydrate. It largely depends on what the paddocks are like. that is the reason that alot of people including myself foal mares down in foaling yards, that have mesh fencing. Once they have foaled they go back with the rest of the horses. If you have alarms and can be there 24 x 7 then it is not an issue you can foal them down anywhere.

pagan
05-04-05, 01:25 PM
Poor Maddison. In the wild mares leave the herd to foal alone and re enter the group usually after a few days. I doubt your paddocks are large enough to afford the mare the privacy she will crave for foaling.
I would suggest placing her in a paddock nearby or adjoining the others, particularly if she has a best friend - you don't want her upset. It is safer for her to foal alone. Sometimes other horses try to 'help'.
My last mare to foal caught me unawares (shock, horror!!) and her friend got so excited and helped by treading on the old girl's front leg, bruising her(the foaling mare) tendon quite a lot. The friend then proceeded to attempt to claim the foal. Mind later on the filly was quite happy as she had two mothers and one milk bar!
Separate the mare to foal into a safe paddock with good supervision and shelter.
I would not suggest placing mother and child with the other under three weeks, possibly/probably longer. It depends on the horses and the dynamics of the group.
Good luck,

EA
06-04-05, 12:54 AM
Pagan I dont know what planet you have been observing herd horses on but it certainly isnt earth. The mares dont leave the protection of their herds to foal to join a few days later, that is total and utter rubbish.

The other mares in the herd actually provide the mare with protection which she is down foaling.

I have a herd of about 30 plus mares and a couple every year will foal early in the herd before we get a chance to bring them home, and I can tell you they dont stay by themselves. They will be in the herd one day without a foal and next day it will be there next to them. And we certianly do have the space for them to make themselves scares should they so choose to do so.