Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trudging out to the Barn at 2 am

It's been a long time since I've had to get up in the middle of the night to tend to a baby. My babies are now 17 and 14, but I still found myself feeding one at 2 AM.

Let me back up a bit...

On Friday afternoon I went with DH to move the mares. One of the mares had a day old colt and the colt had mothered up to a different mare who already had a baby. I dropped Gary off at one end of El Tank pasture and he gathered them and drove them to the other end to a set of pens. I drove to the pens and helped him sort the mare and her baby off.

We also cut out two other mares that were lame and needed some hoof care. I couldn't really take pictures because DH needed my help. Not that I'm much help, but I haltered the mares and held them while DH worked on their feet.

This isn't our mare. We brought in a second stud and in exchange for using this stud, the owner of the stud wanted to run a few of his mares with ours.We then left the mare and her baby in one pen and hoped they would mother up. I mean who could resist such a darling baby?

The next morning we loaded up some hay and went back to check on them, but the colt had not sucked so we haltered her and steered the baby to her. She kicked and tried to bite but we were able to let the poor little thing nurse. She wanted nothing to do with that precious little baby, but it was imperative that the little darling get that nutrient rich colostrum.

After I helped (all I really did was halter and hold them) Gary trim the other mares' feet and pull a couple of thorns, we loaded the mare and her baby up in the trailer and brought them to the house.

Looked like DD and I had a new summer project.

We have to halter the Mama every 3-4 hours and let that little colt nurse. Our night schedule is 10 - 2 - and 6. Last night wasn't too bad, but I imagine we will be dragging before long. DH just went into town for some parts and some milk replacer. We'll have to supplement with some extra bottle feedings. We've raised plenty of baby calves via the bottle but never a colt. She is so incredibly precious and Caitlin and I are already attached to her.
Looks like she did mother up...

to DD!

Not exactly what we had in mind!
Come on Mama...

In all the years we've raised horses, we've never seen a mare not accept her baby. We think it may have been possible that the other mare stole this filly away and fought off the Mama. Either way, poor little thing needs her Mama.

Update: Looks like we have been relieved of our duty! We haltered the mare and tied her to the fence. DH gave her a shot of Romphin to sedate her. Then we let that little baby nurse at her leisure. We sat and watched for a long time and soon that little fuzzy tail began to sway back and forth in pure delight. Mama just stood there looking dopey.

Then we began to celebrate. The Romphin wore off and Mama was nuzzling her baby! She nickered when we directed the baby away and it looked as if we had been fired. Now the two of them have bonded and we are once more enjoying a full night's sleep.

We're still supplementing the filly 3 times a day with Foal-Lac. We tried to get her to suck on a bottle, but she didn't want any part of that so she simply drinks from a bucket.

I wouldn't have complained if we had had to continue our nightly escapade to the barn, but this is the way it should be so we're really breathing a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanks.


Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

What a story. I'm glad it had a happy ending. That is the *cutest* foal! I'd cozy up with it in a heartbeat!
Ranching and tending critters is not for the faint of heart, nor for the frail.
Wishing you all a nice weekend. Happy Father's Day to your DH.

Countrygirl said...

Great ending! I'm so glad momma took the foal. What good subs you were when needed though. It's always good when it works right!

Ranch wife said...

Good job girls! But I am glad the mama decided she like her baby. It is always best that way.
DH has no tolerance for gals that won't take their offspring. They are usually looking at a trailer ride on the next rig leaving the place. He is a heifer man so a tad cynical. Ha Ha

cottonpicker said...

We are the proud new parents of a couple of kittens. Ringo killed a cat in my yard a week ago....didn't know she was a momma till her little babies showed up on the porch - poor things hadn't eaten in almost a week. They're doing good now - cut up a cow heart I found wrapped up in the freezer - why do they include those vile body parts with your beef??? Oh well, makes great cat food!

Kaye said...

I love the picture of your daughter with the colt. So sweet!

Paula Yaussi said...

I might pay someone to take most of my cats off my hands!

So glad baby is loved by mama now!

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