How To Deliver a Foal

The birth of your baby is here!You want to make sure your mare is healthy when she gives birth.Make sure the area is ready for her to give birth, and then help her through the stages of labor.If there are any problems with the birth, you should have your vet's number on hand.

Step 1: Pick a stall that is at least 14 by 14 feet.

If you are going to stable the mare during this time, you should pick a large stall because she will need a lot of room to have her foal.If you prefer, a mare can have a foal outside in a grassy area away from the stable, but you can provide supervision for the birth more easily if she is in the stables.If you need to get to your mare, make sure the outdoor area is grassy and fenced in.The mare needs to be separate from other horses during birth.

Step 2: If possible, wash the floor.

To clean the stall, use soap and hot water to scrub down the floor.Then apply a solution to the floor.The solution should be left on the floor.You can use a solution that's at least 10% bleach for a disinfecting solution.It is more difficult to clean a dirt floor than a clay floor.You should sweep the stall and clean it.The grass should provide a clean area for a mare to have a baby, even though you can't clean an outdoor area.It's a good idea to keep the manure out of the field.

Step 3: Clean the straw bedding on the floor.

The area for the mare to lay down in will be provided by the straw.The foal will be covered in moisture so don't use shavings for bedding.A foal can stop it from breathing.

Step 4: If you live in a cold area, provide a heat lamp.

If you live in an area that stays cold into the spring, it's a good idea to provide heat for the stable.The cord needs to be put where the horse can't get to it.If you hang the lamp high, it won't burn your foal or be a fire hazard.It may not be necessary if the temperature is below freezing.When the temperatures outside are cold, your mare should be inside to give birth.

Step 5: If you want to keep an eye on your mare, add a video or foal alarm.

A monitoring system lets you keep an eye on a woman who goes into labor at night.It will let you know if she's going into labor.When a horse goes into labor, some of the systems set off an alarm.To set off the alarm when the mare is giving birth, your vet will need to sew it to the horse's vagina.

Step 6: If you have to haul the horse, make a plan.

You may need to take your horse to a vet hospital if something goes wrong.You need to know how you'll get the horse there if that's the case.The numbers should be written down and ready to go.In the months leading up to the birth of the foal, practice loading your mare into the trailer.If you need to haul it, this will make the mare more comfortable.You can make arrangements with someone you know who has a rig to haul your horse.They should have their number on hand.Make sure the hospital is open and ready by calling a few days in advance.

Step 7: The early symptoms should be watched.

The mare will give birth as early as 6 weeks after she starts producing milk.The teats will swell in the week leading up to labor, as the vulva and croup muscles relax.When they swell, look for teats several weeks ahead of delivery.If you're timing the pregnancy, you should know when to watch for labor since the horse's gestation period is 335 to 345 days.There is a waxy substance on the tip of the teat days before the foal is born.The mare is close to having the foal if you notice the wax.

Step 8: Wrap the mare's tail.

A tail bandage is used to cover up the tail during a birth.You wrap a bandage around the top of the tail like you would someone's ankle.Wrap the end of the bandage around yourself.The mare and foal are not at risk of being contaminated.It's possible to do this before the mare gives birth.If the wrap is too tight at the base of the tail, you could kill the horse's skin.

Step 9: The horse's rear end needs to be washed.

Reducing the amount ofbacteria in the area will be aided by doing so.Rub the soap on the horse's udder, hindquarters, and vagina.To get rid of the soap, rinse thoroughly.The outside part of your horse's reproductive system is called the vulva.Under the tail is where to find it.Under the tail will be the anus, which will look like a long slit.Gloves are used to rinse off the horse.You don't want to drag dirt orbacteria near it if you work from the outside.The best way to clean is with a mixture of betadine solution and cotton gauze.

Step 10: The horse becomes restless.

The mare is in the first stage of labor.She may move around a lot, lay down and get up again.She could start sweating and urinating frequently.The symptoms may be similar.The first stage can last as long as a couple of hours, even if it only lasts a few minutes.If you can, give the mare space and watch it from a distance.

Step 11: Use a stopwatch to take notes.

You aren't as good at judging time when you're in a rush.You can accurately time the progression of labor with a stopwatch, which you may need to know later if something goes wrong.Taking notes helps you remember what happened instead of relying on memory and is useful information to tell a vet.Typically, the horse will be laying down on its side, though she might also roll around or stand up.

Step 12: The mare's water should break.

The mare enters stage 2 of labor when it does.It can look like urinating if you're not paying attention, as it's just an eruption of liquid from the vagina.There is a chance that you will see the membranes peeking out before it breaks.When you see the mare's water break, start timing.The horse should be able to give birth in less than 30 minutes.The mare might have a problem if it takes longer.You should call the vet if nothing has happened after 15 minutes.

Step 13: If it appears, cut the chorioallantois.

The amnion should be white as it peeks out.The foal isn't getting oxygen if it's red.Since it is an emergency, you'll need to cut the end of the membrane to make it break and call the vet.Clean scissors or a knife can be used to cut through the membranes.Make a slit in it long enough to let the liquid out.It doesn't need to be neat.

Step 14: The foal's hooves are pointed downward.

A foal should come out hooves first.In a normal birth, the hooves will be pointed downward.If you don't see 2 hooves, one leg might be tucked back.If the baby is in the wrong position, you'll need to call your vet.Pull on the foal to help it give birth.While the mare is pushing, apply steady pressure and pull.Allow the horse to do the work.

Step 15: If something goes wrong, call an equine vet.

Call the vet if you see the red one first.If the foal's hooves are pointed upward, you only see 1 hoof, or you see 2 hooves but not the head, call the vet as the baby is likely being born in the wrong position.If the labor doesn't seem to be progressing as expected, call the vet.

Step 16: As soon as the foal is delivered, get it breathing.

The foal should land quickly on the straw once it gets past the shoulders.If the sac around the foal is still intact, you will need to rip or cut it open to breathe.To clear the foal's nose of fluid, tilt the head upward.You can use a bulb to pull out mucus if you don't clear the nose with tilt.If the foal is having trouble breathing use a towel to rub its ribs and abdomen.You can hold the foal upside down to let the fluid drain if it's still having trouble.If the foal doesn't breathe on its own, start artificial respiration by cupping your hands over its mouth and nose.Push air into the nostril again after you breathe into one nostril.Continue until it can breathe on its own.Don't cut the cord.It will break on it's own.Have a piece of equipment on hand.

Step 17: While you wait for the baby's birth, give the mare and foal a break.

The horse will lay down on its side for a while.The mare will likely display behavior similar to that of a pregnant woman during that time.Your horse is more likely to pass it safely if you tie a knot in the placenta with twine.The placenta could break inside the mare and make it sick, so never pull on it.Within an hour, the foal should stand up and start nursing.Call your vet if it doesn't happen.

Step 18: If you want to clean the stump, dip it in an antiseptic.

When the umbilical cord breaks off, the foal's belly will have a navel stump on it, like a human belly button.An antiseptic solution can be put into a cup.You can use either solution.Hold the stump in the cup for 30 seconds.

Step 19: The passing of the baby's body.

This is stage 3 of labor and the horse should pass it within 3 hours.It will look like a bag.If you don't see it within 3 hours, call your vet, as not passing the placenta is dangerous for the mare and is considered an emergency.You can see the whole thing if you spread it out.If there are any missing pieces, call your vet, as pieces that stay inside the horse can cause infections.If you try to remove the afterbirth from the mare, it could lead to a serious uterus infections.If you save the placenta, your vet can look at it to learn about the health of your mare and foal.

Step 20: If the mare or foal shows signs of trouble in the next few days, call the vet.

If the mare doesn't want to eat or is weak in the days following labor, call the vet.If she has discharge from her vagina that is brown or smells bad, or if you see a lot of blood with it, call your vet.If the foal is having trouble getting around, call your vet.

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