|Nurse Mare Foals|
Nurse Mare Foals are foals that are born from a mare that was bred simply to provide milk for a “more expensive” foal. The mare is bred and delivers the foal … two days later the foal can be taken from the mare so the mare can be leased to another farm to nurse another foal.
The mare is shipped to another farm and the original foal is left to fend for its self.
Historically the foals were killed or left to die with no hope for a happy future. Within the past 10 years or so, many foals have been given a new life by Rescues that take the foals and raise them on buckets of mares milk. These foals have to be purchased from the farmers that created them to die. The farmers do not just “give” them to the rescues as many believe.
Mares milk can be purchased in a powdered form. It is mixed with water and the foals drink every few hours from a bucket or nipple. Most of the foals have been kept with their mother just long enough to get the colostrum they need to survive. They do very well on the powdered mares milk and also do best if they are raised with several other foals and adult horses to teach them horse etiquette.
We have had excellent results in raising these foals on mares milk. It can be tricky when the temperature fluctuates as they are very sensitive to extreme cold or heat. They are prone to scours. A watery diarrhea that can quickly dehydrate a very young foal that is in shock due to its mothers disappearance. Pneumonia and ulcers can also easily arise if the babies are not monitored closely for any change in milk intake or physical / mental changes.
We love to raise these babies but we feel this industry adds to the already ever expanding horse population. They also promote haphazard breeding practices.
If you are considering breeding your mare, please take into account all the young foals that need homes. There are many hundreds (nobody knows the real count) of foals that are born every year to Nurse Mares. Raising a foal can be very rewarding. You will have a partner for life that has been trained to your needs and that knows your hand and special touch as the one that gives them comfort.
Please don’t breed your mare simply to raise a foal. Contact your local horse rescue, Freedom Hill Horse Rescue or Last Chance Corral in Ohio (they provide safe haven for over one hundred NMF’s a year) to find out more about bringing home a baby to raise and train as your own.
Below are links with more information on this topic….
REMEMBER …. DON’T BREED …. RESCUE !