orphan bonding new mom

Asked April 5, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT

How to do the grafting to create mare/colt bond for a 4 weeks orphan colt
I found a mare that just lost her 6 weeks colt today and she will be here with me tomorrow to try to adopt my colt

Outside United States

3 Responses

First of all it is important to work with someone in your area that is comfortable with mares and foals. This can be a barn manager, veterinarian, etc. Since you have likely started the process of grafting by now, hopefully it is going reasonably. Grafting normally takes 48 to 72 hours to accomplish. Since this mare apparently lost a foal, if the lost foal had any blankets, halters, etc with its smell present, I would put them on the new foal, There are also products available to spray on the neonate and the mare that may make the mare more receptive to the foal (at least in the USA). The initial periods of nursing (at least every 2 hours, if not every hour) should be totally supervised with the mare in hand or in a stocks. When not nursing, the foal and mare should be able to interact over a barrier that keeps the foal safe. Some mares are very receptive to grafting, while others are not. It is very important for the foal to feel safe around the mare. If the foal gets kicked, not only is major injury a concern, but the foal becomes very apprehensive about nursing. Some mares will need to be tranquilized or twitched initially for safety reasons, however, the more relaxed the setting (including the people helping) quicker and more successful the graft.
This article from The Horse may help as well http://www.thehorse.com/articles/31320/feeding-orphan-foals-aaep-2012

Good Luck.

Judy, Thank You very much for your advice,
unfortunately the mare turned out to aggressive, we try everything but nothing positive.
Now, there is another orphan about his same age, it will be wise to have him and put the two together ? I have no problem for feeding them just the education that I am very worried, most of the time he is by himself in a pen, on the pen next to his on the left lives a gelding and on the pen on his right I try to change the neighbor with different mares, we try to have minimal contact with him to avoid spoil him just the minimum.necesary
Thank You again.

Yes, if you have another orphan about his own age, I would try to pair them up. If that doesn't work, an older mare or gelding that loves babies may also be used as a companion. Goats have been used as companions, as well. He needs interaction with others to learn to be a horse and a herbivore. He also needs to be able to exercise in a paddock, hopefully with a buddy to develop strong bones and muscles..