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Here is an update on Jan 27, 2010 After yesterday's red bag birth (click here to see it), I am so convinced that if a person breeds a miniature mare, that they then need to read and read and talk to others about the emergency situations. In 2008, we went to a clinic on dystocia and took notes that are outlined on our site. By breeding a mare, this is the commitment that we made. The book, The Complete Book of Foaling, is an excellent tool. When an emergency birth occurs or any type of dystocia, you will not have time to wait for your vet, or your neighbor. Be ready. The dystocia that we helped with in 2009 could have had a disastrous outcome if intervention was not immediate. The longer you wait to intervene, the more the baby gets crammed against the pelvic wall and the tighter everything gets. If you are there when it all starts, you can intervene by rearranging baby and help out, most of the time. Yes, we call our vet, but thankfully, we have been able to call as he is on his way and tell him that baby is out and all is well.

When we started, I ordered 2 of the Foal Buzzers . These worked, and I used a Sony Baby Monitor to pipe the sound into my bedroom. The problem is that the roosters and the Pyrenees were also piped into my bedroom. You can see how we set up the barn using this system by clicking here. These $60 buzzers worked adequately, but there are many advantages to the Equipage system. Thus, I took the big plunge on my birthday this year and bought the Equipage system from Kee-Port. It was worth it. Here is the link to read about this system.  When this beeper sounds off in my bedroom, it wakes me up. I think it is easier to discern because I don't have the roosters and banging of the feeders to sleep through. When we were using only the buzzers, I had to learn to sleep through a lot of noise. This made it so I would also sleep through the buzzer noise. With the Equipage system, I can also silence the beeper from my bedroom when there is a false alarm. There are also not so many false alarms. The buzzers sound off whenever a mare shakes her head; whereas the Equipage only beeps if the mare has been laying down flat for more than 8-10 seconds. The Equipage beepers are also something I can wear and walk even to my neighbor's home and still be within range. When I was relying on the buzzers, I had to stay by a Sony Baby Monitor that had a very limited range. So far, the Equipage has worked up to a mile away.

Back to 2008

We have never had 6 babies coming at once! Our system of monitoring the mares had to get a bit more sophisticated. We don't want to miss their arrivals.

To start, we took our stalls for the big horses and divided them up into smaller areas using wrought iron patio fencing that is just 3 feet tall. Then we added conveyor belt to the sides for privacy and to protect legs during the incoherent time of labor. Next we added a 4 camera system for each set of 3 mini stalls.

At night, the cameras are infrared, but they were a bit blurry. That overhead fluorescent light was just too much for the mares all night long. Thus, we added some Christmas lights

The Christmas lights added just enough light for my Swann Night Hawk cameras to work completely in focus. I switched to rope lights due to them lasting longer. I fell in love with the lighted minis and carts and keep them up year round.
These wireless cameras are capable of transmitting 300 feet across an area free of obstruction. That is rare at any home. So we moved the transmitter box close to the cameras and ran a cable up to the house. The picture rotates through the 4 cameras on my TV. I have 2 TVs of 4 cameras each. The picture on my TV is really clear this year, even at night.

Yes, those are mister nozzles that encircle our barn....

We bought foal buzzers that are on the halters of any suspect mare. The little box attaches to the mare's halter and buzzes if she lays out flat. The buzzing sound is heard from me in the house in one of two ways. It comes through the sound on the camera system and it comes via a Sony Baby Monitor.  Click here to learn where to buy these. They cost about $60 which includes shipping. Lily is wearing the Foal Buzzer in the picture on the left. In 2010, we switched to the Equipage system. You can see Lily wearing the Equipage transmitter in the picture on the right. It goes onto the halter with snaps; whereas, you have to screw the Foal Buzzer onto the halter.
I started out trying an old monitor I had that was fuzzy and irritating. Off of Ebay, this Sony cost about $40 and is clear as a bell. One end hangs in the middle of a trio of mini stalls. After enduring one windy night, we learned to not just 'hang' it, but to fasten it to a post. This Sony monitor says it is water  resistant, but we hung ours below the barn roof to be on the safe side. The model is a Sony NTM-910 monitor and it is very sensitive and clear.

This end (picture on right) is really cool. As it sits plugged in all night, an internal battery charges. This allows me to work around the house and keep the monitor with me to listen for buzzing. These monitors have come a loooong way since we had little children.

We also have to prepare for the onset of heat here in AZ, so this video clip show some ways to keep the heat from effecting the foals. Remember this too: newborn foals have the potential to fall asleep in the sun and dehydrate quickly.





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