Orphaned Foals

I AM Ranch Miniature Horses is sharing with you what we do to maintain the health of our horses. This is not intended to direct you on how to care for your horse. The intent of this is only to share what we do. We advise you to consult your veterinarian before making any changes in your horse's health care. The information found on our website is not to supersede the advise of your veterinarian. I AM Ranch Miniature Horses cannot be held liable for the choices you make concerning the care of your horse(s)

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I may add information to this page later about training of an orphaned foal, for they are a very special case. The handler needs to be very careful about teaching respect to an orphaned baby.

The best idea given me was to find a mare to foster baby. Call your vet clinics and see if they know of any mares who have lost a baby and could take on a foster. The reason I like this is because you don't end up with as many temperament and respect issues later on in the foal's life if they have been raised by a mare, even it that mare is not the mother. Here is ane article on: Inducing Lactation in an Open Mare and Adoption of an Orphan Foal by Peter Daels, DVM, PhD  Diplomate ACT, Diplomate ECAR

For right now, I want to share an idea about an igloo nurser for those of you who end up with this unfortunate situation. I have never had an orphaned miniature, but did lose a big mare and put this idea into my bank of information.

Emergency Recipe for Replacement Milk:
1 gallon homogenized milk
1 cup buttermilk
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup corn syrup  
The buttermilk is for the live cultures the foal needs; the evaporated milk adds the necessary extra milk solids, and the corn syrup adds the needed sugars.  (Don't use honey for the needed sugars as honey contains botulism spores).
Warm to body temperature  (99 degrees F)
Here is a site with a darling picture of the igloo idea in use with a miniature donkey.
Igloo Nursing Cooler for Big Horse Orphaned baby

1 1.5 gallon Igloo cooler                        
2" or 4" PVC screw on pipe (this pipe should be slightly smaller where it screws into the cooler.  Take the cooler and nipple with you to make sure you get the right part).
Goat's /lamb's nipples (for a big horse)  (one for each week of expected use)                
Rubber stretchy (about 18") with snaps on each end
Several double end snaps, screw eyes, and a short rope
Wire whisk for mixing
4 small lunchbox freezer packs-these can keep milk fresher and also occupy space in the cooler bottom so that there is less milk waste
Unscrew the spout on the cooler and remove the plastic nut on the inside.
Screw the PVC pipe into the threads on the cooler with the plastic nut securing it on the inside
Fit the lamb's nipple over the end about 3/4 on the end of the PVC pipe. You may need to clamp this on.
Adjust your nipple flow by opening up the 'x' on the nipple tip. The milk will drip if you open this up too much. Test the milk flow. This is a tight fit and you may need to use pliers to attach.
Place the cooler at normal nursing height. If it is not correctly placed, the foal could aspirate.
Most vets advise you to feed an orphan every 3-4 hours, but I know from watching our babies on cameras that they nurse much more often than that off of their mommas. The cooler allows them to nurse on a more natural timetable. The milk temperature can decrease as the foal ages and adjusts to the change. Many of the commercially made milk replacers are good for up to 12 hours so that means changing your igloo only 2-3 times per day.


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