Here Comes Baby

Top 10 things to do before the birth of your new foal.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The countdown has begun, and your foal could arrive any day now. But are you prepared? Stay calm! If you plan for your mare to foal in the barn, we've made your job easy with our top 10 list of things to do before the birth. Just don't forget the camera!

1. Prepare a comfortable, spacious foaling stall that provides the mare with privacy.

2. Thoroughly disinfect the foaling stall before the mare enters, and continually remove manure and urine-soaked bedding and hay.

3. Don't use shavings for bedding, as they can obstruct a newborn foal's airways. Straw is a good choice for soaking up moisture.

Training your foal to accept a halter doesn’t have to be a struggle. AQHA’s FREE Halter Breaking Your Foal report explains how siblings Tom, Wayne and Margo Ball of Ball’s Quarter Horses use old fashion horsemanship in their halter breaking.

4. Keep fresh water and plenty of hay in the stall for your mare. She'll need energy for the labor and birth.

5. Wrap the mare's tail to keep it from interfering with the birth.

6. Post your veterinarian's contact information near the stall in case medical assistance is needed during foaling. Make sure the nearest telephone works and that mobile phones are charged.

7. Have iodine on hand to treat your foal's navel after the umbilical cord ruptures from the abdomen. Iodine is now available in a handy spray bottle. Don't be tempted to grab the scissors - let the cord break on its own.

8. Place several clean towels near the stall - you'll want to dry off your new baby.

9. Have closable plastic bags or containers handy in case complications arise and your veterinarian requests samples of placenta, milk or other substances to test for infection.

10. Have contact information for a source of alternative colostrum. Your foal should nurse and receive the protective antibodies within two hours of birth. Most importantly, be familiar with the birthing process and what to expect. Know the signs of trouble and when to call the veterinarian for help. Stay calm, and enjoy the miracle!

Learn how to fit a foal’s halter, introduce the lead rope, leading techniques and sacking out for the first time. AQHA’s FREE Halter Breaking Your Foal report is essential for breeders, foal owners, 4-H groups and anyone else interested in training young horses. Download and print it out today!