Mule production. Page: 11
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MULE PRODUCTION 11
drops off. A normal foal will usually find its own way to the mare's
udder soon after arrival. If, however, the foal is weak and unable to
stand within 2 or 3 hours after birth, it should be assisted in getting
its first meal. It is very inlllortant that the newborn foal get the first
milk from its dam, which is a substance called colostrum. In addition
to laving the food properties so much needed by the newborn, the
colostrum also has a purgative effect, which stimulates the action of
the digestive tract in eliminating the fecal matter already collected
during the period of gestation. If this fecal matter is not eliminated
within 24 hours after the foal is born, a dose of castor oil (2 to 4
tablespoons) shaken well in warm milk should be given and repeated
in 3 or 4 hours until the desired results are obtained. It also may be
advisable to inject either warm water or 2 ounces of castor oil into
the bowels through the anus.
CARE OF MARE AND FOAL
The mare should receive only bran mashes and other light feeds
such as oatmeal gruel until she has recovered from the effects of foaling
and the feverish condition of her system has disappeared. The
ration should then be increased gradually until the mare is again on
If the mare has been on pasture before parturition and when the
weather is warm and pleasant, the mare and foal may be kept on pasture
or paddock as soon as the foal is able to follow. The exercise they
will get in this way is very beneficial, and they will thrive better in the
open. If the mare was worked prior to foaling, she will probably be
ready for work again in 10 days or 2 weeks after the foal is born.
When this is done the foal should be confined in a stable or paddock
and not permitted to follow the mare in the fields. The mare and
foal will fret for each other for a while, but they will soon become
accustomed to separation. When working, the mare should be returned
to the stable once in the forenoon and in the midafternoon to
allow the foal to suckle. The mare should be allowed to cool before
being turned in with the foal, however, as there is danger of causing
the foal to have scours and other digestive troubles if the mare is overheated
When the mare is idle during the fly season, it is best to keep her
and her foal in a darkened stable in the day and turn them out on
pasture at night. The mare should be fed some grain and hay during
the summer, because grass alone will not supply the needs of
her body and also provide a sufficient milk flow for the foal.
The foal usually begins to eat a small quantity of grain at the
age of 3 or 4 weeks. Oatmeal should be the first grain fed, and
wheat bran may be added later. Best results in feeding grain to
foals in the open are obtained by building a "creep" into which they
may pass at all times and which will prevent the mares or other
mature horses from reaching the feed provided for the foals. The
foal will eat only a little grain at first, but it is worth much to have
it begin eating a small quantity as soon as possible, because the
more accustomed it becomes to eating grain while young, the less
trouble there will be at weaning time. The mare may be induced
to frequent the creep by giving her an occasional feed near there also.
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Williams, J. O. (John Oscar), 1885- & Speelman, S. R. (Sanford Reed), 1894-. Mule production., book, 1949; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1784/m1/13/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.