Tuesday, June 9, 2009

350 Days and Counting!

(Pictured: Aforia's "Baby Bump" at 350 days.)

A mare’s gestation period is 11 months or about 340-345 days. Aforia is at day 350. And it looks like she’s nowhere near ready to deliver the news. I’m ready, though! I’ve got my foaling kit stocked and ready to go. What’s a foaling kit? And what’s a foal? Well, a foal is a baby horse of either sex. When a mare is pregnant, she is said to be “in foal”. When she gives birth, or foals, then we learn if the foal is a colt (male) or a filly (female). Now, what is a foaling kit? All the stuff we humans think we must have in order to facilitate the foaling process. Foaling is a big, big event for Horse People. The foaling kit is a really big deal too, and the local grocery store is the place to get all the necessary items.

Three pounds of wheat bran, a jar of molasses, and a twin pack of enemas; a shot glass, a bottle of Betadine, a pound of coffee. The look on the people’s faces in the store checkout line?? PRICELESS!! They can only guess what’s going on! But a Horse Person knows –it’s foaling time!!!

Wheat bran and molasses make a great mash for the hungry mare who is exhausted from giving birth. Betadine(iodine) in a shot glass protects the “belly button” of the newborn foal from infection. A gentle enema helps the newborn cleanse the colon of the “milk duds” or meconium accumulated while in the womb. The coffee helps Horse People stay up all night because mares usually give birth at night or very early in the morning. Try explaining this to the cashier at the grocery store. She’ll look at you skeptically!

I’m on Foal Watch again tonight. Foal Watch is an hourly check of the mare, and specifically her milk bag, for any signs of impending birth. No signs of imminent birth today. But mares are sneaky! They give birth in between the times we check on them.
Mares also frequently give birth during storms. Thunderstorms are predicted tonight!

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