With foaling season upon us, you may have already started preparing your mares’ stalls for the upcoming birth. Here are some important tips to consider when it comes to creating a proper foaling environment.
- Choose the Stall: You will need to choose a large enough stall that can comfortably house your mare and foal, ideally 12 ft. by 12 ft. Pick a stall secluded from neighboring horses, but with adequate ventilation and light.
- Prep the Stall: Thoroughly inspect the stall for any potential hazards, including large splinters, protruding nails and hooks, abrasive rough spots on walls or floors, or hoof-sized traps in the floor or corners. Finally, remove any strings, cords, or dangling ropes that could entangle wobbly newborns.
- Clean the Stall: Take everything out of the stall and thoroughly clean and disinfect the walls and floors. This includes sweeping and scrubbing the walls with a detergent followed by an approved disinfectant diluted in water. Don’t forget feeding equipment, as those items may harbor bacteria harmful to a newborn foal. Be sure to rinse well and let the stall air dry completely.
- Bed your Stall: After making sure the floor is level, now it is time to properly bed the stall for comfort and safety of both the mare and foal. A foam mattress like SmartStall™ provides a safe, cushioned and hygienic surface ideal for the foaling environment. SmartStall™ comes with a waterproof top cover that allows all waste and bacteria to be remain on the surface and be removed with bedding for easier cleaning. You should also provide a layer of foal-safe bedding materials, such as straw, wood pellets, or shredded paper, on top of the SmartStall™ to provide additional comfort and security for the foal.
- Maintain your Stall: Finally, be sure to frequently clean and muck out your stall after the birth. Maintain a safe living environment free of sharp edges and hazards and provide adequate light in the stall throughout the night in order to keep a watchful eye over mare and foal.
Let IGK Equestrian know, have you already started preparing your stall for foaling season? What other tips would you recommend?