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Signs Of Foaling

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True wax, colostrum colored, on the left teat


Breeding on Foal Heat

We rarely breed on foal heat because it is only successful about 50% of the time. Adding in that this is shipped semen, and not fresh, might reduce those chances. The mare's uterus will go a long way toward healing in that first week, but it's just not "all the way there" by the time she ovulates. Sometimes, mares don't even produce a viable follicle on foal heat. But what most frustrates me is that we can get mares pregnant on foal heats, but a larger percentage lose their pregnancies later. We got a reining-bred mare pregnant on her foal heat last year (ultrasounded in foal at about 20 days, everything looking good). For some reason, she lost her foal later on.

Also, if a mare ovulates before the foal is 10 days old, there is a smaller chance that she will get pregnant and stay pregnant. So, we'll be hoping that your mare won't be ready to ovulate until Friday or Saturday. That would mean she is going to have the better chances for success.

From http://horsedoc_org.tripod.com/id104.htm

We do have criteria to follow when deciding if the mare should be bred on foal heat:

* If the mare had any difficulty foaling, such as a prolonged labor, difficult labor requiring help, or received any injuries during the foaling process, we suggest not breeding on the foal heat. * Also, if the mare retained the placenta for longer than four hours, we suggest waiting.
* Another criteria we use when deciding to breed the mare is the expense and trouble involved in getting the mare to the stallion. Breeding on foal heat will result in a pregnancy in fifty percent of the time. If you are taking the mare some distance away, or want to breed her with cooled shipped semen, we suggest passing on the foal heat in favor of the next heat which should give a considerably higher pregnancy rate.

For the mares we are breeding with shipped semen, we suggest flushing the uterus before the foal heat, along about seven days. This will evacuate the uterus and speed its recovery. We then let the mare pass through foal heat. Once foal heat is over, we culture the uterus to be sure there is no infection present. Culturing the uterus before foal heat is sure to find bacteria present as it is almost impossible to have a clean culture at this time. The process of having a heat is a cleansing time as the blood cells responsible for consuming bacteria are rushed into the uterus.

From http://www.ctba.com/01magazine/apr01/images/thomas.pdf

According to Heidi Smith, DVM (a veterinarian at Terrebonne, Oregon who specializes in equine reproduction) if foaling is clean and the placenta is shed promptly, the odds are quite good for successful breeding on foal heats occurring later than 12 days after birth. Mares coming into estrus too soon after giving birth are not ready to support a new pregnancy; the uterus may still have fluid in it and the uterine lining may not have returned to its former condition. Pregnancy rate in these mares may be 20 percent lower than in mares bred during subsequent heat cycles. Mares that ovulate at least 10 days or later after foaling, with little or no fluid left in the uterus, have a much better chance of becoming pregnant.

From http://www.extension.org/pages/Foal_Heat_Mares

Data from different farms have shown foal heat conception rates up to seventy-five percent. One can skip foal heat and breed on the next heat cycle allowing the uterus more time to involute or another plausible option is to short cycle the mare after the foal heat ovulation with prostaglandins. Some breeding farms will also not breed on foal heat if the mare ovulates 10 days or less after foaling. In other words they breed on foal heat as long as ovulation occurs ten days after foaling and the other criteria are met, normal foaling, etc.

From http://pedlar.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=49&Itemid=41

The day ten rule makes sure the uterine environment is ready for an embryo. Post-foaling, the uterus needs roughly sixteen days before itís nice enough for the embryo to survive. That means that if youíre going to breed her on her foal heat, she canít ovulate before day ten. The reason for this is that after she ovulates, the egg is fertilized and lives in the fallopian tube for five or six days before it comes into the uterus. If she ovulates before day ten and youíve bred her, the embryo will come into the uterus before it has had time to prepare. If youíre going to do something to induce ovulation, you want to make sure your timing is right so she ovulates on or after day ten.

This is interesting:


If foal heat ovulation is on day 5-6 postpartum the conception rate is 0%, if it is on day 7-8 postpartum it is about 32%, if it is on days 9-12 postpartum conception rate is about 60%, and if it is grater than 12 days postpartum conception rates run greater than 75%.


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This page last updated 03/26/10


This page last updated 03/26/10
If you notice this date being 2 years or older, please let us know that we need to check out this page!

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Toni Perdew       Bedford, Iowa
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