Life on the ranch never brings a dull moment. We currently have two babies and one pregnant mare over at Open Acre Ranch in Fairlee, VT!
Sassy the pony delivered a beautiful baby boy last week. This week Harper delivered a girl. Indie is still due, any day now!
Harper is a first time mama mare and did not respond well to birth. She rejected her baby. This is very worrisome because there are not many good foal milk supplements, from what I have been told.
We worked really hard to help the foal latch, but Harper continuously attacked her baby. We eventually pumped milk from Harper using a Spectra breast pump that I had in storage! Wow was this an amazing experience! It took quite a bit of pressure and was a total work out holding it in place, but Harper appreciated the relief and gladly let us pump her. We got 16 ounces, then 7, then 10, then 8. We have got around 8 each session lately.
The foal excitedly took the bottle, a ComoTomo bottle with the nipple hole made bigger. She drank it while close to her mother's nipple, but when Harper began attacking again we had to split them up.
We put them in stalls next to each other and continued offering pumped milk while looking for a local place with a milk replacer.
Foal soon had good poops and lots of energy!
She was not able to nurse on Sassy, the pony, because of the size difference and angle. We tried pumping Sassy, but did not get anything.
She cannot nurse on Indie until she births her foal and is at least 24 hours postpartum so we were left wondering and worrying what to do.
Another horse on the ranch is many months postpartum and was able to nurse her and offer comfort! Success! Between a foster mother and the pumper milk/colostrum baby is doing well! We have to initiate nursing, but believe she is nursing a bit with her foster mare on her own as well!
What an amazingly educational and caring experience!
Jess is a full spectrum birth and postpartum doula and a newborn care specialist. She has been working with newborns for nearly 9 years.