Here Comes Baby: Part II

Prepare for the birth of the new foal by completing your foaling kit with these items.

This is the second of a four-part series. Need to review Part 1?

Suggested Foaling Kit

  • Cell phone: To make calls and – if it’s a multipurpose phone – take photos, video, surf the Web or post instant blog updates.
  • Contact information: Vet’s phone number, someone who can help in an emergency.
  • Notebook and pen or dry-erase board: To take notes and keep track of intervals and record normal vital signs.
  • Flashlight and batteries: If there isn’t adequate lighting in the barn.
  • Three clean beach towels: In case you need to help clean up the foal.

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  • Self-adhesive wrap: Enough to wrap the mare’s tail up before she foals. Braid the tail, fold it in half, then wrap from the base of the tail down to the bottom – but if you choose to wrap the tail, remove it as soon as possible as it can cause the mare to slough her tail.
  • Ivory soap: Use to wash mare’s perineal area and udder.
  • Two enemas: Use to help relieve foal’s constipation so that he can pass meconium (first manure). Hospitals may donate expired human enema bags that have to be thrown away anyway, or enemas can be purchased at a grocery store or pharmacy.
  • Five to 10 obstetric sleeves and exam gloves: In case you have to assist in a difficult foaling. Get them from your veterinarian.
  • Dilute clorhexidine: To dip the umbilical stump. Put in a shot glass or film container and use it to dip the naval.
  • Lubrication: To lubricate an enema or if you have to assist the mare. Check with your veterinarian for a recommended amount, up to a gallon.
  • Twine: Have two or three feet of string or twine available in case the mare doesn’t immediately release the placenta, to keep her from stepping on it.
  • Stethoscope: To take mare’s vital signs.
  • Garbage bag: To put the placenta in.
  • Nylon pulling straps: Use per veterinarian’s recommendations. A nylon dog leash can also work as a substitute. It is no longer recommended to use chains as this can permanently damage or disfigure a foal’s legs.
  • Frozen colostrum: An emergency supply if the mare does not produce any, or produces an inadequate amount. A foal must receive about two quarts during the first six to eight hours of life to ensure adequate transmission of antibodies. If your veterinarian doesn’t have any in stock, you can “rent” colostrum from colostrum banks, such as the ones at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital or Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky, by paying for frozen colostrum and then getting a refund if you return it unused.

Stay tuned next week for the third part of this four-part series.

Get the full story on Stan Immenschuh, an all-around hand with a passion for Quarter Horses. Download AQHA's FREE report, Stan Immenschuh: All-Around Hand today!