What are Nurse Mare Foals? Written by The Last Chance Corral in Athens Ohio.
A nurse mare foal is a foal who was born so that its mother might come into milk. The milk that the nurse mare is producing is used to nourish the foal of another mare, a more “expensive” foal. Primarily these are thoroughbred foals, though certainly not limited to the thoroughbred industry. The foals are essentially byproducts of the mare's milk industry. A thoroughbred mare's purpose is to produce more racehorses. A mare can give birth to one foal each year provided she is re-bred immediately after delivering a foal. Because the Jockey Club requires that mares be bred only by live cover, and not artificially inseminated. The mare must travel to the stallion for breeding and may be shipped as soon as 7-10 days after giving birth to a foal, but a period of 3-4 weeks is generally allowed.
In general there are a number of reasons why a nurse mare may be called upon, among these are: loss of maternal mare, mare has no milk, mare rejects foal, and countless other malandy's.
As far as the Thoroughbred breeding industry goes there are also numerous reasons a nurse mare might be needed, these include: travelling and insurance costs which prohibit the foal from accompaning the Thoroughbred mare to the stallion station, and this is just to name a couple out of many other concerns.
Traveling is very risky for these newborn racing foals, and insurance costs are prohibitive for the foal to accompany the mother to the stallion farm. At this point a nurse mare is hired to raise the thoroughbred foal. In order to have milk, the nurse mare had to give birth to her own baby. When she is sent to the thoroughbred breeding farm, her own foal is left behind. Historically, these foals were simply killed. Orphaned foals are difficult to rise and no one had tried to raise large numbers of them. Now, these foals do have value ... their hides can be used as “pony skin” in the fashion and textile industries, and the meat is considered a delicacy in some foreign markets.
This is where Last Chance Corral comes in. We rescue these foals by purchasing as many as we can, tend to their needs, and find them loving, secure homes. Please help us help them.
Please note that we have to purchase our Nurse Mare Foals. Each foal costs us between $200 and $400. The adoption fee of each foal is based on what we pay for each individual foal. We add an extra $50 to the price we pay to try, and I emphasize the word try, to help cover the expenses of transportation, milk, and medications.
What Is Involved in Rescue?
The needs of orphan foals can be overwhelming. Even at their healthy best, they need lots of milk, nutritional support, and daily hands-on care until they are adopted into their new homes, when their new families take on these responsibilities.
Some healthy foals are quickly taken into their new homes, but many stay with us for longer periods of time, struggling to survive. For these, we have finally managed to build an Intensive Care Barn, where the foals can have much closer, warmer, constant supervision and care.
Foals in severely compromised health have advanced needs that can exceed $75 to $100 a day per foal in veterinary and intensive care. Once a foal is in in stable health, these costs decrease dramatically, and are readily manageable by their new surrogate families (caring for one or two is a breeze compared to eight or twelve!).
During most of foal season, we have 4 to 10 foals in residence. Typically, LCC's daily foal related expenses average well over $200 a day, inclusive of milk, staff assistance (We need to have clean stalls, bleached buckets, and clean baby behinds!), as well as other nutritional and veterinary support.
Needless to say, it can be extremely hard to stay afloat. There have been times we have had to decline foals for a few days until we have the finances to purchase, transport and care for them. All of us hope and pray that this problem can become a thing of the past, if we all work together. We can't do it without you! Open your heart, open your wallet or open your barn doors and welcome in a bundle of joy.
Where does PMR come in...
We understand they are not looked at as a valuable little life. These babies, many of them will never touch their mothers. They are pulled immediately after birth...and some are unnecessarily induced prematurely. They have no purpose to the industry period.What happens to the baby ? They are a by product…discarded. Until a rescue can get their hands on them...they often times go without food, water, collostrum, or the love of their mothers helping them figure it out..Some countries relish butchering and eating raw foal meat..other simply dispose of them.This heinous practice along with the pathetic attitude that prevails needs to be uncovered. The dirty little underbelly of horse racing needs exposure. When the fancy races have just happened. While most cheered and enjoyed the race..I pray for no injuries, no bleeding lungs and I thought of the nursemare foals...The babies given up/away/discarded for the sport of horse racing.
Specializing in pregnant mares and orphans., PMR felt the fit was right and we wanted to get involved. In January of 2014 as the babies reach 4 weeks of age, they will be sturdy enough to hop aboard the Orphan Train headed out West. PMR and The Northeaster Nevada rescue will screen adoption applications, make phone calls, receive adoption fees, and as the haul begins we will deliver the packages right to the doorstep of their new home. Those ready to travel, but not yet adopted can make the last stop and stay at PMR .
Below are some notes and pictures from last years foals...
June 13..Our two babies are here..settling in, putting on weight...very cute Little Miss Sunshine with the interesting blaze is very sweet and quiet. Enya (means Little Fire) earned her name right away.. sassy and sharp, pinning her little ears..tries to double barrel kick me twice! Kendra fixed that..her sweet side is beginning to emerge~~
Time for milk yet?
THE LAST CHANCE CORRAL
This is the organization rescuing these foals. PMR is helping with the project of finding homes for these babies. 2013 we took in two. We are processing applications, collecting and sending on adoption and haul fees, answering questions when we can, and trying to get the word out and let the public know. These babies need homes.