Class Log: Careing and Feeding of Orphaned Foals

Caring and Feeding of Orphaned Foals - Taught by Sr. Apprentice Dalaynia - Aug 07, 1998

Breeding Pastures
A favourite place of many herders and visitors as well, this lush green pasture houses newly born runners, their mothers, and mares at many different stages of pregnancy. Carefully maintained by the runner breeding specialists, it is clear of rocks and other potentially harmful debris leaving only acres of green grass and large trees to provide shade on those harsh Summer afternoons. Down a small trail to the west is a large shelter erected to house the runners during extreme weather and threadfall. Following a gentle slope to the south is a large, clean pond filled with fish is where the runners drink, play and swim.
Overall, this pasture has a very peaceful feeling to it, and it's not a wonder why so many spend their free time here.
This place is neat and clean, the work of busy Apprentices.
Standing quietly are Aislinn's Foal, Wi'nd, Song, Shetana, Ra'in, and Melody.
Obvious exits:
Upper Pastures

Brittanie walks in from the Upper Pastures.

Dalaynia nods to Brittanie as she arranges some of her notes.

Arilynne tumbles energetically in from the Upper Pastures.

Brittanie smiles as she walks in. She finds a shady place under a tree and sits down. Quietly she watches as Arilynne walks in.

Dalaynia smiles at Arilyne as she comes tumbling in as well "Okay, are you too appy's eager to learn?"

Arilynne tumbles in, brimming with energy. Foals! Ari loves baby animals… they're always so kawaii. She plops next to Brittanie, a large smile curling her mouth up.

Brittanie nodnods. She's ready to learn..

Arilynne nods eagerly at Dalaynia's question.

Dalaynia smiles as she begins "To many a birth of a long-awaited foal is an occasion to celebrate. All of the planning, breeding dates, pregnancy checks, and hopes finally are realized. But what if the unthinkable happens, and the mare becomes ill, doesn't produce any milk, or worse yet, she dies. What do you do with the foal? How do you care for him/her? How and what do you feed the little one?"

Brittanie looks curiously at the foals.

Dalaynia looks at Arilynne and Brittanie "We will discuss some of the options and considerations for caring and feeding of orphan foals.Those of you who are new to breeding and raising runner's might have never experienced the dilemma of raising an orphan foal or feeding a foal whose mother is producing little or no milk. This is a very real problem and can be a very time-consuming ordeal."

Arilynne nods solemnly, thinking she has a grasp on how time-consuming raising a foal can be, but it truth really has no idea. She's never had to do it before.

Brittanie never did it before, so she has no idea..

Dalaynia she glances at the two " Foals can lose their dams for any of a variety of reasons, can you name any of them?"

Dalaynia hmmms as she looks at the very silent apprentices "Well, they can lose their dams to things such as colic, uterine hemorrhage, or the mare can even reject her foal completely.Other problems can occur that result in the inability of the mare to produce adequate milk for the foal, such as mastitis (infection of the mammary gland), metritis (infection of the uterus), or any other serious illness. If a mare is grazing fescue pastures while in late pregnancy, there is a fungus that can live on the grass. which if ingested by the mare will block her ability to produce milk for her newborn foal. The foal is not an orphan technically, but another source of milk must be found immediately. This fungus also can lead to other serious problems with foaling, such as dystocia or weak foal."

Brittanie listenss to the question and thinks to herself.. "How the foals can lose their dams.. hm.." She pause to think some more.

Arilynne raises her hand in question.

Dalaynia nods to Arilynne and nods "Yes?"

Arilynne wonders aloud, "What would be the reasons that a mother would reject her foal?"

Dalaynia smiles "Well it's possible she isn't ready to be a mother, just the same as some human mothers. Other times if she's ill she'll reject the foal. Another possible reason is if she has twins, though this is genrally a rare occurance, she'll sometimes refuse to nurse the second foal."

Brittanie nods as she listens. Thinking for an answer to the question, she realizes that she has the same question…

Arilynne nods mutely in wonderment.

Brittanie decides to take some notes. Listening and taking all the information, she scribbles some notes down on her notebook.

Dalaynia smiles as she gets on with the lessen "Newborn foals rely entirely on their dam's milk for nutrition. The first milk a foal ingests is colostrum. It is essential as it provides much-needed immunoglobulins that help a foal fight off infection, since foals are born with a virtually inactive immune system. Therefore, if a foal is orphaned at birth, it is a particular emergency to find another source of not only milk, but of colostrum."

A worried look comes over Aril's face, but she patiently waits for Dalaynia to continue before asking a question, sure that the Senior Apprentice with undoubtedly cover the information she was wondering about next.

Brittanie nods and listens more carefully.

:Dalaynia smiles as she catches Arils' look and continues "Now a thing to remember is that a foal is only able to absorb the immunoglobulins from the colostrum ideally for approximately 12 hours. This decreases after 12 hours with minimal absorption occurring around 24 hours after birth. Therefore, it is imperative that colostrum be administered as soon as possible. If colostrum is available, the newborn foal needs about 250 ml of colostrum every hour for the first six hours, total of two to three liters of colostrum should be divided into three to four doses given at hourly intervals, then free-choice every one to two hours."

Arilynne raises her hand again, a question evident on her face.

Dalaynia nods to Arilynne to indicate she should ask her question.

Brittanie listens to hear the question. She sighs to herself, trying to thin of a question she should ask.

Arilynne asks, "How do we administer the cola… er colostrum?" Aril trips over the unknown word before continuing on. "Orally? By injection?"

Dalaynia nods "Orally, colostrum is the thick yellowish first milk. Even humans produce this for their infants."

Dalaynia glances around a second as she shuffles her notes. "Colostrum can be collected from mares post-foaling when sufficient amounts are present. It has been shown, 200 to 500 ml can be milked from a mare without compromising her own newborn foal. Additionally if the mare is at risk of dying, then colostrum should be milked from her before the lose of the mare. Colostrum can be frozen and will keep for one turn. It should be thawed at room temperature before use. Do not thaw it with hot or boiling water as this can destroy the benefits of colostrum.

Arilynne takes notes, her interest apparent on her face.

Brittanie yawns, and you notice a feline nudging on her dress. She follows it away her eyes closing the whole way.

Brittanie has disconnected.

Dalaynia smiles "Unless you have any questions I'll go on to the next problem, how to get the foal to drink."

Arilynne shakes her head, having no more questions at the moment.

Dalaynia nods as she goes on "If a foal has been orphaned, the best way to provide milk is through a nurse mare. The orphaned foal is fostered onto another mare which has lost her foal, or had her own foal weaned. This might sound like a perfect answer; however, there are some problems, but these I'll cover at a later time"

Arilynne raises her hand again. Yep, another question pops into the girl's mind.

Dalaynia smiles at Arilynne and nods for her to ask.

The housekeeper arrives to cart Brittanie off to bed.

Arilynne looks sheepish, but continues anyway. "I don't know much about runners, but I had heard once that a mother will not let another foal nurse who isn't her own. How can we overcome this?"

Dalaynia smiles "Well alot of times it's not easy, but I'm going to tell you how you might accomplish it." Dalaynia smiles at Arilynne "The fostering process should not be attempted without an experienced person to supervise, since often the mare must be sedated and/or restrained to prevent injury to the foal. Mares can be placed into stocks or hobbled to prevent them from kicking the foal. However, two people are needed at all times while introducing the mare and foal—one to restrain the mare and one to guide and protect the foal. The mare and foal should not be left alone until the mare has fully accepted the foal. Signs of acceptance include the mare nickering to the foal when the foal is led away, and the mare allowing the foal to nurse without resistance. Acceptance of the foal can take up to three days, but usually occurs within 12 hours. However, once the foal is successfully fostered onto the nurse mare, the foal has an ever-ready food source and he/she will be socialized properly.

Arilynne nods with relief, knowing that once a foal is fostered, chances are it will be okay.

Jadian walks in from the Upper Pastures.

Dalaynia smiles at Arilynne and nods to Jadian as she waits for him to take a seat, better late than never.

Jadian steps in quietly a little late getting up this morning, he takes a seat and tries to pick up what he can.

Dalaynia smiles as she continues "Another alternative is to use a nanny-caprine. Some orphaned foals have been fostered onto nanny-caprines with minimal restraint. These caprines can be placed on hay-bales or platforms so the foalplaced on hay-bales or platforms so the foal can nurse. As the foal grows however, the caprine may not be able to provide sufficient milk and thus supplemental feeding is required."

Arilynne blinks a couple of times and waits for Dalaynia to continue, secretly amused at the thought of a caprine nursing a foal. Must be a sight.

Jadian gets out his writing pad and begins to catch up sneeking a peek at Arilynne's notes.

Dalaynia grins a bit as she goes on "If a nurse mare is not an option, or if the mare rejects the foal, the next option is bottle feeding or pail feeding the foal. If the foal has never nursed from the mare, it usually will be quite willing to nurse from a bottle. Make sure the hole in the nipple is not too large— when the bottle is turned upside down, milk should not flow out of the nipple—otherwise the flow is too fast and the foal might aspirate milk while drinking."

Arilynne arranges her notes so that Jadian can copy off of them easier while still listening to Dalaynia. "Pail feeding," she asks.

Dalaynia smiles at Arilynne and nods "Yes pail feeding, I'll be covering that in a minute."

Jadian finishes catching up, "So don't hold the bottle upside down at all?

Dalaynia smiles and nods "No, the bottle should be held at a tilt"

Dalaynia continues on "Foals which are fed from a bottle need to be placed in an upright position to nurse. This lessens the chance of milk traveling down the foal's windpipe instead of the trachea (aspirating) and developing pneumonia. To simulate a natural position for nursing, stand with your back to the foal and hold the foal's nose underneath your arm. Then gently insert the nipple into the foal's mouth (make sure it is over the tongue). The foal might bump your arm with his/her head, but this is normal—it is how the foal stimulates the mare to "let down" milk. Do not hold the bottle above the foal's head as this position can make it very easy for foals to aspirate milk."

Jadian nods and smiles as he actually understands waht she is talking bout.

Arilynne hmms as she takes notes, thinking that this technique needs to be noted especially. Wouldn't do to kill what you're trying to save.

Dalaynia smiles as she watches the two "Healthy foals usually will drink only until they are full, so the foal should be allowed to drink free choice after it has consumed colostrum in the first 24 hours. It also is a good idea to record the amount of milk consumed at every feeding, especially in the first few weeks of life, since this can help alert you to a decreasing appetite or ensuing illness. Remember to clean the bottles and nipples after each use."

Dalaynia continues on to pail feeding. "If the foal has been nursing a mare, then getting it to nurse from a bottle can be quite difficult. These foals might be more likely to drink from a pail or bucket. Pail feeding is definitely less time-consuming and has an advantage since the foal can drink free choice."

Jadian nods and likes the idea of pail feeding. "That does sound easier."

Arilynne wonders, "Why would they be more likely to drink from a pail?"

Dalaynia smiles "Well if the foal is used to nursing from a mare, than they usually do not want to try nursing from a wierd and forignfeeling nipple"

Arilynne shrugs and thinks that the idea of pail-feeding is odd, but that's just her. What does she know? ;)

Dalaynia smiles as she watches Arilynne "Foals usually are able to be taught to drink from a pail. Milk is placed on your fingers and inserted into the foal's mouth to stimulate the suckle reflex. With your fingers still in the foal's mouth, lower your fingers into a pail of warm milk while the foal is suckling on your fingers. Eventually, it will get the idea." Jadian chuckles and thinks that sound silly, but will do cause Dalay says so.

Dalaynia grins "With this method of feeding, a bucket of mare's milk or milk replacer can be left in the foal's stall or paddock and changed every six to 12 hours. The bucket or pail should be hung at chest level for the foal to drink,and it should be cleaned every time the milk is changed. Remember, all foals should have access to fresh water at all times. "

Jadian nods and remember that from whollies class last night.

Arilynne grins as Dalaynia's technique makes more sense. Chest level. Change 6 to 12 hours. Fresh water. All this Ari notes in her notebook.

Dalaynia smiles at the two eager appies "The next question is what type of milk should be fed to the foal."

Jadian quits writing in his notebook, as he figures he can snag Ari's later, he just watches Dalay and nods.

Jadian shakes his head. "No idea."

Arilynne shrugs and watches Dalaynia expectantly, a blank look on her face.

Dalaynia nods as she goes on "Mare's milk is the perfect solution, as it alone matches the nutrient needs of the foal. Herdbeast's milk or Caprine's milk usually is readily available; however, neither is the perfect substitute. Caprine's milk can be fed without alteration, However Herdbeast's milk should add one tablespoon sweetning. Some foals prefer the taste of Caprine's milk over Herdbeast's milk."

Jadian nods and thinks. "What sweetning?"

Dalaynia continues "One of the complications with using milk replacers is gastrointestinal upset. Some foals will develop loose manure when the replacers first are used. This is normal. If the foal develops diarrhea, then the milk replacer should be diluted with water or changed to another type. If the diarrhea persists for more than one day, then a BeastHealer should evaluate the foal and proper treatment can be instituted."

Arilynne notes that down in her notebook. Get beasthealer.

Dalaynia watches the two "Other foals might develop mild bloat (gas) from the milk replacer. If this occurs, discontinue feeding for a few hours, and then feed a more diluted formulation or supply more frequent feedings. "

Arilynne peers, "More frequent feedings? Won't that make the bloating worse?"

Jadian says, "Just less food right?"

Dalaynia smiles "Usually not, unless the foal can't handle the formula at all"

Dalaynia shuffles her notes a bit and continues "Once foals reach about one month of age, they are ready for solid feed. A foal which is with its dam will mimic the mare's eating habits and begin to eat grass, hay, or grain with the mare at an early age (two to three weeks of age). These foals usually are introduced to a creep feed by one month of age. Orphan foals also should be introduced to grain at that time."

Arilynne questions, "Creep feed?"

Dalaynia nods "Basically a feeding big enough for foals to stick their heads in but small enough where the adult runners can't feed out of it."

Sariani stalks quietly in from the Upper Pastures.

Jadian nods at the smaller bin.

Sariani slips in silently and stands near the back, listening to Dalay talk.

Arilynne ahs with understanding.

Dalaynia catches a glimpse of Sariani and nods a hello "Foals should be fed a grain that has 16-18% protein. A good general rule of thumb for feeding is one pound of feed for each month of age until six months of age, or six pounds of feed. Foals generally can be weaned from milk replacers at three to four months of age if adequate grass or grass hay and grain are available."

Jadian smiles brightly as Sariani enters the pasture, he motions for her to come sit next to him, then turns back to Dalay and nods.

Dalaynia smiles "Now the next part how much to feed and how often"

Dalaynia continues "A healthy newborn foal will nurse from its dam about seven times in one hour. This number decreases as the foal gets older. As a result, frequent feedings are most compatible with the foal's digestive system. Foals require anywhere from 21-25% of their body weight in milk per day. The ideal approach is free-choice feeding of milk to ensure the foal's requirements are met. This is quite easy with the bucket or pail feeding method. However, with bottle feeding, the newborn foal will need to nurse every hour for the first week of life, then can decrease to every two to three hours after the first week. As you can see, the bucket feeding method has its advantages. "

Jadian listens to Dalay, "That is a lot of feedings."

Arilynne nods in agreement with Jadian. She had no idea taking care of an orphan would be so time-consuming.

Sariani blinks in surprise. "Hungry little things,' she mubles, then listens attentively again. : Dalaynia nods "It is and they are, which is probably why J'man Danaka wanted help. The problems arise however when the foal is ill and is not consuming enough milk. If this happens, a BeastHealer should be notified and force feeding must be instituted. But how will you know when your foal is consuming enough milk?"

Arilynne ponders this question, "By comparing the amount he takes at one feeding with other feedings before. If it goes down, there's a problem?"

Dalaynia nods "That and bewborn foals should drink about five to seven liters per day in colostrum and milk. Remember, healthy foals need between 21-25% of their body weight in milk per day, so a 75 kg foal will need about 19 liters of milk per day. Foals also should gain about one to two kilograms of body weight per day. Contact a BeastHealer if you are unsure if your foal is consuming enough milk or is not growing appropriately."

Sariani raises her hand and taking a guess. "By gauging how much he's growing and his normal intake of food to what he's currently at?" she pauses. made sense to her…

Jadian nods and thinks he is going to copy a lot off Ari, he tries to remember all this,

Arilynne makes a quick note of Dalaynia's answer in her notebook.

Dalaynia nods "Is there any questions so far?" Tawno> Alicia wakes up.

Jadian shakes his head.

Arilynne shakes her head as well, black curls bouncing with the motion.

Dalaynia nods as she glances around at everyone "Raising a foal is a time-consuming job. One main problem with humans raising foals is that the foal will identify with humans, not the runner's. This might be cute when the foal is a newborn, but it presents its own set of problems as the foal gets older."

Sariani nods thoughtfully. "Would it be more of a problem for the foal, or for its owners?" Arilynne blinks, a foal identifying with a human? : Dalaynia nods to Sariani "Actually it can be an egual problem for both, but usually it's more of a problem for people."

Dalaynia goes on "Foals raised by people without contact with other runner's have been shown to fear and avoid other runners later in life. It has been shown that foals raised by humans did not learn how to graze properly. Orphan foals also will nurse themselves, other foals, or other runner's—male or female. These problems can be eliminated by raising the foals with another runner or pony as a role model."

Arilynne nods her head as what Dalaynia says sinks in. "Makes sense," she mutters to herself while jotting a quick note in her notebook.

Sariani nods and raises her hand again. she's full of questions today.

Dalaynia nods to Sariani "Yes?"

Sariani says, "Does raising foals by hand ever make then (them) become agressive because they don't have the same amount of respect? Or overly friendly, for that matter?"

Dalaynia nods "It can, some people have the tendency to treat them as puppies, which is not a good idea. In fact an overly friendly foal can turn into an agressive runner who thinks it's okay, to play buck or even rear up and put their hooves on your shoulders."

Qaielnos blinks in from ::between::!

Jadian falls asleep.

Arilynne frowns at the image that Dalaynia's words inspire. Cute as a foal does not equal cute as an adult.

Dalaynia finishes up "The raising of an orphan foal can be a challenging and very time- consuming job, but it can be done with a healthy, well-adjusted foal as the end result. The loss of a mare is not a death sentence for the foal. Raising an orphan foal, however, should not be attempted without the guidance of a BeastHealer."

Sariani nods and scribbles on her notebook. "Sounds more than a little unpleasant."

Dalaynia smiles "Unless there are anymore questions, this lengthy class is dismissed"

Arilynne stands up and stretches, before shaking out the kinks in her fingers from writing wo much. Whew. Long class! But fun, and definitely interesting. [ Sariani shakes her head and smiles. "No questions on the part I heard, I'll get notes on the first part from someone. Thanks for the class."

Dalaynia smiles at Sarinai and nods.

The housekeeper arrives to cart Jadian off to bed.

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