Nature, in all its splendor and cruelty, often presents scenarios that tug at our heartstrings. A prime example is when a young foal loses its mother. Under usual circumstances, a foal spends the initial six months of its life under the nurturing care of its mare. Thus, any foal deprived of its mother during this critical phase is termed an “orphan”. As highlighted in the poignant video, these tender creatures require immense care during their initial days. The absence of their mother doesn’t just create an emotional void, but it also poses a severe nutritional challenge. A mare’s milk is essential for the growth and health of the foal.
Enterprising producers, understanding the intricacies of this challenge, have sometimes leveraged other mares as foster mothers. As the video showcases, this isn’t a straightforward task. The fostering mare must not only tolerate the new foal suckling but also genuinely nurse it. Several tactics have been employed by owners to facilitate this bond. From smearing the foal with the foster mare’s feces, milk, or sweat to employing ointments that mask the scent of the foal, every trick in the book has been tried. But the importance of colostrum, the first form of milk produced by the mare after giving birth, cannot be stressed enough. It is rich in antibodies and equips the newborn with the necessary immunity.
In situations where the mare dies during childbirth, sourcing colostrum from another mare becomes imperative. The video also emphasizes the meticulous care that must be undertaken while attempting to foster. One must ensure that the foal is well-fed and hydrated before fostering. Moreover, essential aspects like providing an alternate colostrum source, ensuring tetanus antitoxin, and maintaining antibiotic coverage are paramount. The surroundings should be calm, with a minimum of two helpers to assist in the delicate process.
Feeding an orphan foal requires diligence. During the initial week, they need to be fed every 1 to 2 hours, gradually increasing the time gap to 4 to 6 hours post the second week. The video in discussion is more than just a visual narrative. It’s a testament to nature’s challenges and human resilience and compassion. Do give it a watch, and share it with your loved ones. Your opinions are valued, so don’t forget to share your thoughts.