The countdown is on for foal watch around here. The average mare gestation is 320-365 days (for Squidy April 20 – June 1), but most mares foal between 330-345 days (April 30 – May 15). Squidy is currently at 322 days.
I have no prior experience with horse reproduction, but my hunch is that she will have the baby fairly early. She is already starting to develop a bag, which is forming small droplets of tiny amounts of clearish-yellow fluid, not the thick milky colostrum that I’m looking for, but I’d guess that is coming soon. She is rather huge and uncomfortable. She has been less than enthusiatic about her feed, which is extremely unlike her. She had one foal before we got her, was bred later in the season, and is an older mare, all of which I have read tend to mean a slightly earlier due date. Mostly I can’t wait anymore and want the baby to make its appearance sooner than later! (of course, the endurance ride that I want to go to in 3 weeks also has me hoping the baby is born well in advance so I’ll be comfortable leaving it by then!)
Poor tired Squidy! She can't seem to get comfortable and I suspect she's not sleeping well...
Starting to bag up...
Before anyone gets upset about the unwanted horse population and backyard breeders contributing to the problem, let me tell you about our situation. This is our first and likely last foal. Squidy is my husband’s favorite horse ever, and he wanted to breed her to get her future replacement horse when she retires. We also wanted to experience the joys of breeding and raising a foal, and Squidy is a good breeding quality candidate, being well bred with good conformation and the perfect temperment. We researched sires and carefully chose a good match for her. We spent a lot of time and money on doing it correctly, including very thorough vet care. It is definitely much more cost effective to purchase a weanling than to breed your own (at least if you do it right)! Not to mention loss of use of the mare for over a year! I really miss having a back up horse to ride and getting to trail ride with my husband. Hopefully it will all be worth it!
Squid has a live streaming camera in her foaling stall if anyone is interested in watching. The stall opens up into a small stonedust paddock, so if she’s not visible she may be outside. She also has access to her track paddock during the day, though she doesn’t seem interested in exercise at this point and seems to prefer to park at the hay net most of the time. She’s getting ventral edema on her belly and her hind legs are stocked up. I’m going to start taking her for slow daily walks to keep her moving, at least a little bit. She seems uncomfortable and is definitely ready to be done with it. She has also been more affectionate and clingy the last few days. We saw the baby bouncing around in there the other day, dramatically moving her entire abdomen in all directions. It seems to be a rowdy little thing!
Squid’s foal cam link
Foal cam view
I’ve been testing her pre-colostrum every night for the last couple days, and the pH is staying around 7-7.5, which is normal. From what I’ve read, the pH will drop and the calcium will spike just prior to foaling. I ordered calcium test strips, which should arrive tomorrow. I’ll update here when it looks like its time…
If anyone is watching the foal cam and sees any signs of labor, abnormal behavior or problems, please let me know!
My phone number is five0two two9seven 1nine7three
Does anyone with foaling experience have any advise or wisdom to share? Any guesses when she’ll have it?