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Kim's Foal Watch Diary 2007 - part 3

Continuing news of Aurum's coming foals and their mums!

(View part 1 here...)

(View Part 2 here...)

Monday 14th January 2008

True to form Mary Poppins delivered a chestnut filly by Jazz at 3:30 this morning. So far we have 4 chestnut fillies in a row from her (and not all are by chestnut stallions, only 3!) Mary is nicely predictable, although she does vary her gestation a little. She waxes up during the day and then starts to walk as the hour approaches. This time her walking was a little more relaxed but the pattern was obvious. I knew on Sunday morning at breakfast time that the foal would be born within the next 24 hours.

I was however dozing when the foal alarm went off at 3:30. I had seen Mary walking and eating at 3am and when the alarm roused me I could see the front legs out. By the time I was out the door, with foal kit and oxygen in hand I could see the foals head and as I took the 20 or so steps to the gate, the delivery was complete! I ran across the yard to hold the foals head up and clear its nose just as it was sitting up. This one was almost as easy as the birth of Candy and much less stressful.

Mary was happy to sit eating and the foal was happy to lie for a while with one back leg still ‘inside’. The filly was very bright and has 4 socks and a star. A very pretty Jazz baby! Even at this stage you could see that she has a lovely front on her with a really nice flow of neck out of her whithers. Often they look just a bit ‘squashed’ but not Ella (named after a well known Jazz Princess!).

Even before Ella was standing she was seeking and sucking. By 4:15 she was up and shortly after so was mum. Mary was very relaxed and basically just stood still with encouraging licking until the filly was drinking. At 4:30 the foal had had a good drink and I had collected a bottle of good looking colostrum for the freezer, but the afterbirth was still hanging around. Over the next half an hour Mary had a few obvious contractions and lay down a couple of times and although it had started to move, it was still hanging in there.

We decided to move inside at about 5:15 as the foal had been up and down a couple of times and was feeding fairly well. Eventually at 5:40 the afterbirth arrived intact. It weighed 5.65kg, which is about spot on for the 56.5kg, 40 7/8 inch high filly!

The only thing we were waiting on now was some movement of the meconium. This time I headed for bed and Richard kept watch. He was rewarded at about 7:15!

Saturday 19th January 2008

Well, it has been a rather busy past 48 hours!

On Wednesday evening, Poppy was showing a pinhead of wax so after feed up she was moved down to the maternity ward and fitted with an alarm. She is due on the 29th and last year dripped milk for some time before foaling (early). She does not look imminent so the alarm just keeps us comfortable.

Thursday morning the wax was a bit more obvious and she had slackened off behind but I still moved her out into a bigger paddock for the day. I had a clinic at home so was able to watch her pretty closely all day.

When the last of the students had left I checked Poppy (at 4:30) and she was pretty happy and relaxed but now dripping milk. I was in need of a coffee break so headed inside debating whether to have a sleep or a coffee as it was probably going to be a long night. As I went to put the jug on, I looked out the window and Poppy was still grazing happily but I could see a bubble of membrane out behind! It was now 4:45pm. Continuing past the kettle and picking up the oxygen and foal kit on the way it was back outside for me. She was in the 3rd paddock and right up the back picking the grass happily with one foal foot out when I arrived. A quick inspection revealed another foot and a nose not far behind. A perfect photo and video opportunity but alas I was on my own and had not picked up that gear as I headed out!

Poppy was still picking the grass but at least looked around as I kept monitoring the position of the foal. I was a little concerned as the fluid in the membrane looked a little cloudier and more yellow than I’d have liked, so I was glad when Poppy decided to lie down and do something. The delivery proceeded fairly easily and at 3 minutes past 5 a colt arrived. Once he was delivered I needed to be quick to get his head up and clear his nose as there was a lot of not very pleasant looking fluid and I certainly didn’t want any of that down his throat or in his lungs. His breathing was pretty good and he looked bright enough, even though he was a little slow to sit up. Poppy was happy to sit and so was the colt and as it was a very pleasant sunny afternoon, I didn’t mind taking time either. It is so much easier in the warm daylight!

I was not in a hurry for this foal to get up as Richard was about an hour from home and I didn’t have a box ready. Also Spot was out grazing the laneway so he needed to be put back before we could travel up to the stables. Nevertheless the foal wanted to be up on his feet as he had tried sucking on his own legs without satisfaction. Shortly after 5:30 he was up, albeit unsteadily. Poppy stood very well while we inched down her side to the milk area. Within about 15 minutes he was on and drinking. Progress was only interrupted by the extreme concentration required for that initial passing of meconium.

By now, my own mum had arrived to give some moral support and once it was clear that all was OK with the new arrival and he was ready to move on, she put Spot back in his paddock. With this done we started slowly heading in the direction of the gate. As the foal wanted to move I just directed him this way and Poppy followed. When Richard arrived at about 6:30 we had made it out into the lane and part way up. As this was a fair distance for a baby, we rested along the way and Poppy happy grazed the green pick giving Richard time to get the stable ready. The only disappointment at this stage was that the afterbirth was still with us.

By the time that Poppy and son were settled into the stable it was getting on for 7:30. The foal was having a little trouble with a pretty dry looking meconium and Poppy still had afterbirth intact and was sweating very slightly but generally all was pretty good. We had to collect Risqué from the clinic where she had earlier been inseminated with Weltmeyer and of course we had not yet fed up. As all was settled here at home, we elected to collect Risque and Candy next. That was uneventful and we returned home at 9pm. Poppy still had not delivered the afterbirth so we gave her 1.5 ml oxytocin by slow IV. Within a few minutes we had movement but not complete detachment. Happily it took only about 15 minutes for this to happen. On inspection the placenta was a bit brown and weighed 3.4kg so was a bit on the light side (but it had been hanging around a while). The foal weighed 40kg and measured 37.5 inches, which is not too bad considering he is 12 days early.

So there were all the evening chores to be done and it was now 9:30 pm. Fortunately we have pretty good lights and a supply of torches! We still have two mares to foal but neither is due until February. However they need close inspection night and morning as each is in the viable foal range. Neither looked any different from this morning so it was only Poppy who had to be worried about over night. She still had a light sweat along the top of her neck and ribs. All other vital signs were normal. Nothing changed through the night so hopefully it is only related to normal post foaling uterine contractions. The only other concern was that the foal was a little constipated so I ended up giving him an enema at about 2:30 am to relieve the situation!

Come morning and Poppy had basically stopped sweating and baby was more comfortable with his bodily functions.

At morning feed up however Moses was off on his own and kicking at something as he called out. Closer inspection revealed a mildly swollen scrotum, and although he was clearly uncomfortable, tucked into the breakfast that I delivered to him. He is in the last paddock before the broodmare paddock so, as I am feeding here, I am also doing the headcount there (easy at the moment with only 2 left to go) and of course one is missing!

Moses looked like he would be alright for a few minutes so the next problem took priority.

The missing mare, Minuet, is almost black and even in broad daylight is difficult to see away against the cypress trees. I was about halfway across the paddock before I made out her shape standing under the trees. I thought that I could see something standing beside her but was that wishful thinking? No it moved, there is definitely something there!

I could tell by the raised head on Minuet that I was not going to get near her easily, even though she is normally very friendly. I had of course called Richard who was on his way down so I retreated back to the feed van to get a bucket of feed and with the two of us managed capture. By this time Netti (Weltmeyer/Aachen mare) had finished breakfast and had come to help. Last year Minnie lost her foal at near term. I am quite sure that she thinks we stole it and that she will not allow this to happen again! So she is a little anxious but of course we safely move mother and son, who I must say is a pretty flash bay colt by Jazz, up to the foaling yard. The afterbirth is still there and the foal still a little wobbly but he is probably a couple of hours old.

Then of course we still had Moses to deal with. As he was apparently reluctant to move we took the float (still on from last night) down to collect him. He had of course moved by now, to the wrong side of the paddock, and was reluctant to walk. Everyone else wanted to come with us but finally he was extracted and loaded for his first float trip, thank heavens they are all well handled. Luckily for Moses the vet was due to arrive shortly to do some follicle scans.

In the short time that I had left Moses the swelling had increased quite dramatically in size. The stables were all full so he and Rose went into the first paddock knowing that he would stay by the gate. A quick check on Minnie and son and the afterbirth had not yet moved so she was given an oxy and then back to Moses.

Very shortly thereafter Rohan arrived and was redirected straight to Moses who by now had a scrotum the size of a basketball. A quick examination and ultrasound revealed, as feared, gut in his scrotum. Rohan was able to reduce it back through the hernia and use some ingenious packing including a roll of combine and lots of elastoplast (lucky I just bought 3 rolls and 2 boxes) to hold it there. We hoped it would hold as long as Moses did not try to remove it in the hour it would take to get to Werribee for the emergency surgery. He was very good and traveled well so by 4pm was in theatre undergoing repair (and castration). At 6 he was back in the box with mum and so far so good.


In the meantime we still had 2 baby foals at home and one retained afterbirth, and still had not done the original follicle scans! As soon as we had left with Moses, Rohan had given Minnie antibiotics and a bit more oxy to cover her until we got back. Luckily we also have very good friends close by and Liz was able to visit a couple of times while we were away to make sure all was well. Thankfully Minnie delivered the afterbirth before we got back and Liz was able to check it, so at least we could cross that off the list. I was concerned that one of the mares to be scanned was ready to cover so it was still fairly important that they were done. Also we had to reorganize boxes so that Minnie could come in for the night as of course the weather was beginning to deteriorate.

Rohan managed to fit us in so at about 6:30 or 7 was back scanning mares. When he arrived we had each just put down the phone from discussing the progress of Moses with two of the vets from Werribee. To our relief, Dreamie did not need to be covered until tomorrow. We were both pretty tired and I did not think that I had serving a mare left in me.

Since we now had an overful house, poor Candy was moved out into a yard so then had to be introduced to a rug. Usually the foals don’t mind but it is important to make sure that the mare still understands that it is her baby. Gi Gi had a bit of a startled look but could smell Candy on the outside of the rug as we rub it inside out on the foal first. As soon as we were happy that there would be no problem we needed to feed up.

We decided to bring Netti up in case she decided to go early because her mates had all left her (we are quite sure that Rose did this last year). She does not look imminent, but neither did Minnie, so Netti can be close and fitted with an alarm!

I am pleased to say that the night was uneventful. The only time the alarm went off (at 4am) was when we were both up and Netti was just having a sleep. New foals were fine and all was well.

DP Whanita ('Netti')

On Saturday each of the new foals had their IgG done and both were >8g/l, Dreamie was easily covered with Hewey and Moses is doing well after surgery.

Minnies foal was weighed, 47kg, and measured 38”.

Tuesday 29th January 2008

This morning as we were heading off to the Vet clinic to collect Gloria and Hayley post AI, Netti set the alarm off for the third time in about an hour. After breakfast we had moved her to the day paddock and she really had not looked any closer to the event. She is due to foal Friday but last year did go a few days early. We stopped car and float and went for a closer inspection to find that she looked like she would lie down and foal right now. Richard headed back for the foaling kit and as it was broad daylight camera and video! Netti was getting up and down frequently and had slackened off behind but still had not waxed up. She was yawning and curling back her lip as mares often do close to foaling, walking around with her tail up and crouching. This went on for some time with out further progression and then by evening she settled down a bit. The vet had been here scanning during the day and commented that first stage labour could go on for a day or so but that she must be pretty close.

Of course a long night of watching ensued, followed by another day, and another night, and another day and so on!

Sunday 3rd February 2008

I had watched Netti until a little after 2am and she was just alternating between standing resting and eating her hay. I opted for a short sleep on the couch while things were settled. At next check she had started walking around a bit but was still picking at her hay. However as she had not been walking previously I was committed to watching again. Shortly before 4:30am Netti lay down in the middle of the yard. As I approached her the membranes finally ruptured, signally the imminent arrival of our last foal for the season. Hallelujah!!! This was at 4:29 and by 4:37 a jet black colt by Aurum Alloy had arrived. Once Netti flooded the area she had the good sense to get up and move to a dry patch before delivery proceeded. Once there I was able to make a quick check of presentation and then just apply a little traction to help things along.

Richard had arrived as the front feet had emerged and as everything went smoothly was able to take the usual arrival photos.

Netti was anxious to check out the new babe and jumped to her feet pretty quickly rupturing the chord before it had thinned. However no harm was done and after checking out her son for a moment was happy to lie down again.

This little fellow did not do the usual flailing around of the legs as he was trying to get up, rather he looked like he sat and thought about it before carefully trying to stand. Hence he was named Newton! It was not much after 5 when he was on his feet but it took a couple of goes to get the back legs under control. While laying down he had already been sucking on me, Richard, his own legs and mum's nose in the times that she had hopped up to check him, but now that he was standing he had to concentrate on his legs so drinking was on hold.

However it was not long before Newton had mastered the drink machine and had even settled down for a rest. This was one smart foal!

We were ready to move inside but mum was a bit uncomfortable and was having a bit of pain with her post foaling contactions, so we were reluctant to move into a confined space for fear of her rolling on the colt. She had not yet delivered the afterbirth, so as the foal was fed and resting we waited for her to settle. By about 6:30 Netti was pretty comfortable and Newton had passed fairly good quantities of meconium so we headed in. At 7:30 we left them for an hour and when I checked in on them at 8:30 they were both resting comfortably but the afterbirth was still in place. I did not want to disturb them by giving Netti some oxy so left them for another hour. When I checked back this time Netti was up and the afterbirth was free. I had previously checked the exposed part and tied it up so it was relatively easy to check the remainder even though there was a bit of straw mixed in.

Newton weighed in at 49.5kg and measured 40” tall.

The foal alarm and flood lights are now off and I am sleeping back in bed!

Newton was the last of our 2007 season foals to arrive and we are very pleased to have had such a good season starting with 15 pregnancies and welcoming 15 strong, healthy foals all with good IgG levels. Only a couple more of the ladies to get back in foal and the 2007 stud season will be closed.

Join us next year when we will be looking forward to the first babies from our new stallions Aurum Rivière d'Or (Patch) and Aurum Remarquable (Hewey) amongst others!

To Continue, head over to Kim's Post Foal Watch page!