Foaling Journal for I AM Ranch Miniature Horses
3/26/16 Surprise!! Sprinkles went into labor as our sun was setting tonight. There were no theatrics, but her milk changed quickly the last few days. Her pH tested ready this morning and her calcium tested ready too. So, we had a good clue that it was going to happen. Whereas McCarthys Cameo was ultra theatrical, Sprinkles did nothing to hint that she was going into labor. She had an easy delivery and we have a filly that looks just like Sprinkles!
3/25/16 McCarthys Cameo gave us a run for our money.!! I had worked myself up into quite a worry over her. Her calcium tested ready 5 days prior to birth, but her pH did not test ready until the night of the 23rd. For almost 6 days , she threw herself down frequently, rolled often, laid out flat, rubbed her bottom, kicked at her belly, looked at her belly, cocked her tail at funny angles, etc. But, we all know her as a theatrical mare!
We had our only AMHR show in Scottsdale on the 24th. I went to bed Wed night hoping to meet baby at some dark-thirty hour. It was not to be. So, we packed up pregnant momma and took her to the show all day. No baby at the show. We pulled in back at our home after the sun had gone down. Unpacking took some time, and McCarthys Cameo was streaming milk. All were fed, tails were braided, blankets were put on, and finally it was time to feed the humans too. We all sat down for maybe 3 minutes and my Anna yells that she is pushing. Thankfully, it was a text book delivery and the Lord blessed us with a delicate silver filly with a big star on her forehead. We stayed up long enough to check the placenta and get baby nursing. Of course, I anxiously watched her on the camera through the night. Praising God for this new life, and thanking Kim Sweatt for Mojo's beautiful donation!
3/13/16 I am going to have to talk in past tense due to not updating this journal due to my having the flu for a week. Derby did have her baby on the evening of March 10th. She had blown up huge and her milk's calcium level was almost testing ready for 2 days before birth. Her Ph was still high....then, on the 10th, all milk tests said ready and she foaled that evening. Her calcium tests tested ready within 10 seconds. Derby is such a theatrical, demonstrative mare that she puts on quite the show leading up to foaling. Baby came out text book and we thank the Lord for a red and white colt.
3/2/16 Looking back at previous journals, I see that McCarthys Cameo usually goes from mo bag to a full bag in about 20 to 25 days. Well, her bag started filling on Sunday the 28th. Looks like she is right on schedule. Sprinkles, a maiden mare, is filling slowly too. Derby is very, very full. We are testing her pH often, and she is high. There is not enough milk to test her calcium levels, but we put a halter on her and are monitoring her closely. I cannot wait to meet this baby. Can't wait!!! Her 2015 filly is just really special in looks, personality and movement. I would like to just keep breeding Derby, but Jess wants to show her too. Hard to do that when you are always pregnant. Derby is one that I would like to clone. Because her bag seemed to get big prematurely, I suspected placentitis. I have put her on Regumate, SMZs and Banamine.
We feed the mares that are prone to laying out flat in a hay pillow later at night. This makes them "graze" longer and allows us to get some sleep!
2/29/16 So our first two babies have defied the milk strips. Tango tested ready, but kept delaying delivery. Lassie never tested ready and gave us a baby! We still have 4 mares to go. I am absolutely in love with what Mojo is producing. Long necks and great shoulders!!!!
2/27/16 Our nights have been filled with fun despite our exhaustion. Tonight was a late night of Rummicube and then bedtime. Around 11:45 PM the beepers sound off and this time, Tango is pushing. She has been testing ready for about a week, but her pH had been just a bit high. Tonight, she tested a bit more yellow (lower) than other nights. Her baby flies out with the greatest of ease and we now have a little bay colt with big expressive eyes in our barn. The only clues we had was a big loose poop.
2/25/16 We keep testing Calcium and pH daily. Tango is reading ready to go and Lassie is still high on pH. We cannot get enough milk on Lass to even test her calcium. Lassie surprises us just before 7 AM. The beepers sound off and wake us all up. It was a very tough delivery, not because of dystocia, but because of the tight fit. Lassie actually whined and cried during the birth. If I have ever heard a horse scream. that is what I heard. She had a loud red and white filly. We now know that Mojo is heterozygous black and heterozygous pinto. I also know that Lass carries the red gene. Tango has wax every day!!!
2/23/16 Tango is still testing ready and her body has finally relaxed and her body matches her milk strip. We found wax on her udder often today. I will be very shocked if we do not have a baby by morning. Lassie is not testing in the correct levels for foaling. Her pH has gone from yellowish green to truly yellow.
2/21/16 Late last night, Tango's milk was tested and her pH was in the right range for foaling. Her pH is still reading low (yellowish green) this morning! I need to go buy distilled water so that I can test her calcium levels. She is on day 327 today. Tango's backend is not as relaxed as I would expect for a mare who has had 2 other babies. Tango is our newest mare and was bought for Mojo. We have a paternal brother living down our road whom I really like, so that made me look more closely at her. She won Grand Champion halter as a Junior mare in Canada and is a very pretty, correct mare with nice extension to her trot. She is also an Overo which you cannot easily tell by looking at her. Both Tango and Lassie are being watched carefully.
Lassie's milk also changed greatly this morning. It is so thick that it sits on top of the strip rather than being absorbed. Usually when the milk gets this thick, the pH reads in the correct range for foaling. Lassie's milk is not testing with a low enough pH yet.....but we are getting close.
We are continuing to drive the other horses. I like this time of year when I am on "house arrest" or mare stare. I love being home and being with my family and horses. Ruger was very fun last night, and can you believe that I am already driving in capris??? We are very warn here....like I could clip babies as they emerge, hee, hee!!!
New cameras are up in the barn. I splurged and went to Costco and bought a 16 channel Lorex system that is just amazing. No more leaving lights on in the barn at night. The infra red on these cameras lets me see everything clearly. My other cameras were working; they just were not as clear as I wanted. This is luxury to be able to see my mares on my iphone or on a big screen TV!!
We did test Tango's milk and the calcium levels are correct for foaling.
February 20, 2016 We have brand new cameras this year which make for very clearr viewing, AND I can see my barn on my iphone!! Technology is amazing! Lassie started bagging up around Feb 1. I started watching her more closely knowing that maiden mares and surprise you. Jess reminded me that I'd probably still be watching her even at the end of the month. Seemed impossible at that time, but here we are and baby is very content inside. We are testing a drop of milk from her and Derby every night and their pH is not ready yet. They both are medium green in color on the test strips. Derby had me a bit worried due to bagging up way before I thought she should, so I proactively treated her for placentitis. We lost 2 late tern babies; and I switched my rhino shot after that. I had a hard time getting anyone to tell me what the differences were in the various rhino shots. I did also call many long time breeders who have been doing this in greater quantity and much longer than we have. Most of them do not give the rhino shot. We did not our first years, but I began probably about 4 years ago.
Here is what I learned about the rhino shot:
I called my vet right after these later tern abortions. When I told my vet what I vaccinated with (chosen due to another vetís recommendation), his comment back to me was that it was for the respiratory form of rhino (EHV-1) and not for preventing abortion. I didnít continue to question all of that with this vet, but thought about it later. My vaccine is for EHV-1 and EHV-4, so I just assumed it was covering the possibility of rhino and besides, another mini vet specialist had recommended it. But, the fear of rhino kept hounding me.
So, I started reading on vaccines and calling around. There are rhino shots that are formulated for preventing abortion and there are other rhino shots. They both would say EHV-1 on them. So what is the difference???? For example, Merck makes a rhino shot called Prodigy for preventing abortions caused by EHV-1 and they make a shot for preventing respiratory rhino called Prestige that is labeled EHV-1 and EHV-4.
What I have found out is that there are essentially three forms of EHV-1. There is a respiratory strain, a reproductive strain and a neurological strain. (the neurological strain is the one that causes everyone to stay home and not go to horseshows). If the rhino shot claims to prevent abortions, it has been proven effective in reducing the EHV-1 strain that deals with the reproductive system. If the rhino shot just says it is preventing the respiratory form of rhino, then it has never been tested or proven to reduce cases of abortion. Sometimes, it may still help, but the drug company has not put the money into testing the shot.
I have concluded that most breeders do not vaccinate for rhino, but I KNOW my abortions were not caused by the vaccination itself due to the timing of our losses.
I did end up ordering a rhino shot proven to reduce abortions...now I have to get up the nerve to give it. I chose the Prodgidy, and not the Pneumabort by Fort Dodge merely because I have read so much negative about Ft Dodge carriers and this shot.
We did choose to give Prodigy during the remainder of these pregnancies, and have not had any bad results from doing so.
February 19, 2016 Lassie wears a foaling halter and has blown up !