Pregnancy in horses

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Horse pregnancy is an important point for a farm owner. The pastoralist must ensure that the whole process goes well and without complications. It is important for any breeder to know how long pregnancy lasts in horses. The gestation period of a horse is usually 11 months, but, of course, premature birth and postnatal pregnancy are also possible.

Horse pregnancy

Horse pregnancy

It is necessary to strictly follow all the instructions of the veterinarian in order to exclude the possibility of complications, then the process will be easy. A horse's pregnancy lasts a little less than 1 year on average, and this period is divided into 3 semesters of about 100+ days.

Any period of a horse's pregnancy is very important. In the first trimester (from 1 to 100 days), the horse is fertilized and the ovum is formed. The second trimester lasts from 101 to 200 days. At this stage, the embryo grows, increases in size, develops and receives all the necessary nutrients from the mother. The last trimester is the third. Horses have a gestation period of 201 to 300 days in the third trimester. The embryo during this period is already at the last stage of development, finally matures and is ready for life outside the mother's body. Of course, during the entire pregnancy, you need careful monitoring, constant examination and special care of the horse. Any deviations require an urgent call to the veterinarian.

Definition of horse pregnancy

It is very important for any farmer to determine whether a horse is pregnant, even at home. A horse's first pregnancy takes longer than usual and can last 12 months. Also, the duration of pregnancy in any horse can vary, depending on the condition of the animal and other characteristics. This is normal and normal, so it is important to prepare for this outcome.

How to determine if a horse is pregnant? The exact answer can be obtained only in the second week after mating. Of course, the very fact that there was a mating does not guarantee that it is possible to immediately determine the pregnancy in a horse. The pregnancy may not occur the first time. To confirm a positive outcome, you must call a veterinarian for a medical examination. Diagnostics is carried out using ultrasound. Basically, the vaginal examination method is used. A vaginal speculum is used to take a smear of mucus from the contents of the vagina.

After that, a cytological and cellular examination is carried out under a microscope. With this examination, it is better to call a second person for help. He must raise the horse's head to shift the center of gravity. Ties are put on the limbs of the mare, but you can also simply wrap them with a dry warm cloth such as a sheet. This is necessary to protect against sudden impact.The labia are disinfected, then Polyansky's speculum is inserted into the vulva. This is how the mucous membrane of the vagina of horses is examined. In the third week, the sheath of the vagina in the animal becomes dull, cyanotic.

Determination of pregnancy in a mare by folk methods

It should take at least 2 weeks after mating before any changes can be noticed. Not everyone has the opportunity to bring a female to an ultrasound scan, in this case, the determination is carried out at home. However, then it will be difficult to find out even the exact time of conception. It is possible to independently determine the pregnancy of a mare only by indirect signs, which one should not hope for one hundred percent.

At the sixth month, you can distinguish a pregnant mare by a noticeably rounded belly.

Also, to the mare in position, there is a hardening of the uterus. But in this case, the presence of a possible disease should not be confused with the pregnancy of the mare.

A change in behavior can also indicate that the horse is pregnant. The individual can roll on the floor, refuse to eat, or, conversely, eat everything. In stallion breeds, and in similar others, all these signs are indirect and do not give a 100% guarantee of a positive result, therefore it is definitely recommended in such cases to resort to the help of a veterinarian to establish whether there is a pregnancy or not. This can help you avoid complications during childbirth and prepare for them more responsibly.

Preparing for childbirth

Childbirth for a horse is a crucial moment. It is important to do regular spring cleaning in the stall. Accordingly, for a period of 10-11 months, it is necessary to clean the place where the birth will take place. A new and warm mat should be laid on the floor, the light should be adjusted: it should not hurt the eyes, but at the same time it should be enough for the convenience of the person controlling the process. Providing a calm environment is essential for both the veterinarian and anyone else. But most of all, it is important for the horse itself, so that its offspring are healthy, and the process of childbirth goes without complications.

It is recommended to tie the mare's tail with a clean cloth, which can be pretreated with an antiseptic for complete sterility.

It is important to adjust your diet a little before giving birth. When the calf does not appear on time, it is better not to overfeed the female, it is necessary to give her light food, and also to monitor the availability of clean drinking water. At the same time, you need to feed the female with food rich in minerals and vitamins.

The first signs of an impending birth in a mare

It is important to understand in time that the birth of the horse has begun and it is time to prepare for the birth of a foal. The best assistant in this matter is attentiveness. There are several signs that help you understand that the foal will soon be born. Before giving birth, the animal behaves anxious and agitated, is constantly in motion, refuses to eat.

In addition to behavioral, external signs are also indicative: mucus is secreted from the mare's genital tract, milk flows from the udder, and active sweating is observed. The udder increases significantly in size, and the horse's abdomen moves closer to the pelvic region.

Horse birth

Taking birth is an important and unforgettable process, whether it is an animal or a person. For any organism, this is a great stress, you need good rest and long-term restoration of physiological functions. The course of labor depends on the position of the fetus in the uterus. There are several options for the location of the embryo. The standard, and most common, is for the head and front hooves to come out first at birth. This situation is most favorable and the mare practically does not need help. She herself will give birth, without much difficulty.

The only thing veterinarians recommend is to support the foal during childbirth in mares, and especially the hooves, so that the animal does not accidentally hurt the baby. In this case, the presence of a person is not necessary at all.If the case is serious and the embryo in the uterus is in a non-standard position, then the help of a veterinarian is needed, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible, here the horse will not be able to cope on its own, and an ordinary person is not able to help and provide qualified assistance.

In addition to the incorrect position of the foal, there may be pathologies in development during childbirth in mares, genetic abnormalities and any concomitant diseases. Again, assistance is possible with the participation of a veterinarian. It is worth taking care of this in advance and taking this process seriously. The best option in this situation, in order to prevent possible complications, would be to consult a specialist at all stages of gestation. It is best if the same specialist will guide your mare throughout the pregnancy and will be present at the birth. In this case, the veterinarian will know all the features of this animal.

Features of childbirth in a mare

Basically, a mare gives birth to one cub at a time, although 2 foals may appear. Childbirth usually occurs either very early in the morning or at night. On average, the whole process takes about an hour, however, variations up and down are possible. Rarely, but childbirth occurs that lasts more than a day. In this case, qualified help from a specialist is needed, a doctor should be called without hesitation.

A mare gives birth in a supine position - you need to push her on her side if she does not lie down on her own. At the stage of pushing, behavior changes: the female is worried, agitated, so she kicks with her hooves - at this time you need to be extremely careful and attentive. When the foal passes through the birth canal, the mare feels even more pain. Approximately every 10 minutes, the progress gets closer and the process begins to end. The initial stage is the longest, it takes about a day.

We accept a foal

After leaving the uterus, the foal is in the bluish mucous membrane - in the bladder. Most often, this membrane is torn, but sometimes it is necessary to pierce it with a sterile instrument. It is important to pay attention to the foal's breathing: it should be clear and rhythmic. The mucus should not be in the airways. If this happens, you must be prepared for hygienic cleaning of mucus and other accumulations. The umbilical cord should fall off by itself as soon as the mother gets to her feet, at home it is not recommended to cut it off on her own. In rare cases, this does not happen, then it is necessary, under the supervision of a veterinarian, to cut the umbilical cord using sterile instruments, treated with an antiseptic solution, with a napkin. Then you need to tie the umbilical cord with a strong thread.

The baby should be wrapped in something clean and warm, such as a sheet, and placed next to the horse's udder. After 40 minutes, the newborn is already able to stand up. If this does not happen and he has been lying for more than half a day, then it is worth inviting a veterinarian, since there may be any pathologies in both the foal and his mother.

After 3 hours, the foal excretes feces, it looks dark brown. It accumulates during the time it is in the womb of the mare. When the foal gets up, he wants to eat, so he is in a state of searching for an udder. You can help him. It is extremely important that after giving birth, the foal eats milk, receives all the necessary nutrients. If the foal has no appetite, does not eat anything, behaves unhealthy and irritable, it is necessary to call the veterinarian to determine the cause and provide medical attention.

Caring for a mare after childbirth

It is imperative to wash all parts of the mare's body soiled during childbirth: udder, hooves, tail. After that, you should lay a new bedding. The mare needs a maximum of 30 minutes for complete rest and recuperation.After that, her first acquaintance with the foal will occur, contact will be established, the mother will begin to remember the smell of her cub, will feed him, help him get to his feet so that he can eat for the first time.

The postpartum period lasts about an hour or two. Its essence lies in the removal of the placenta. This is necessary to exclude internal infection and the spread of infection, therefore, if more than 2 hours pass, you need to urgently call for help, otherwise the consequences can be dire.

After leaving the placenta, the horse needs to be fed and watered. Fresh hay and water work well.

Recovery of a mare after childbirth

You cannot separate the mother and the foal. Even if the mare is involved in physical work, her cub should be near her. So she can always feed him, and at first, feeding can occur up to 50 times a day. The mother and child retain such closeness for the first six months, after which they can already be weaned from each other.

It is very important to monitor the udder of the mare so that the milk does not deteriorate, it is impossible to overheat or overcool the female for high quality milk. Many are concerned about the question of how much time must pass for the mare to be ready to become pregnant and bear offspring again.

Usually about 2 weeks is enough for full recovery and interest in mating.

There are exceptions associated with the health of the mare, then you can delay this moment. To do this, you can keep her in a separate room from other individuals.

It is also very important not to immediately expose the female to re-mating after giving birth, she needs to recover and rest. Physically, the mare's body will be ready for the next mating much earlier, but morally, the animal must rest and raise the previous cub for at least 3-6 months. Of course, in many factories, this is put on the conveyor and the animal is sent to the next mating after 1 month, but this is wrong. You need to pay attention to your animals and treat them appropriately, then the mare will respond with gratitude.

What to do if things don't go according to plan

What if the birth was complicated? Most important is the need for a veterinarian to be present. Usually, with correct diagnosis in the modern world, it is not difficult to identify possible problems. If physiologically the whole process is unfavorable, you need to understand that this should be determined in time and there are several signs of this.

  • longitude of the process;
  • non-standard position of the embryo, as a result of which the progress along the birth canal is incorrect, limbs stick out from the genital tract or only one leg, but the head is not observed;
  • foal's movements are limited and slow, no movement every 10 minutes;
  • numerous perineal lacerations in a mare.
  • The afterbirth does not come out a couple of hours after the foal leaves, possibly internal infection of the mare.
  • fever, signs of inflammation and cramps.

Possible problems

Pregnancy and childbirth in horses is a rather laborious process and requires a lot of responsibility. Not everything is going according to plan, you need to understand that it is impossible to predict everything, but you can find the right way out of the situation. All books consider 2 options for the development of events: standard and with deviations (there is already the possibility of severe complications, significant deviations, genetic mutations).

A horse's pregnancy can result in spontaneous abortion. The reasons for this can be completely unforeseen, ranging from persistent random mutations and the inability to carry an embryo by the mare herself, to inadequate, poor-quality care and examination during the entire trimester of a horse's pregnancy.

If a miscarriage does occur, it is necessary to remove the fetus as soon as possible and dispose of it, after which a general cleaning of the premises should be carried out, and then immediately call a qualified veterinarian to understand and figure out what caused this outcome.It is necessary to conduct a complete examination of the horse in order to preserve its long life and take care of its future offspring. Childbirth can be premature, start unexpectedly where there are no necessary conditions for this. But the horse has a physiological maternal instinct to take care of his baby, not to leave him, and then even bring him home.


The horse is an intelligent animal. Thanks to her natural instincts, she is able to give birth without human help. The main thing is to follow all the recommendations and be very careful. All questions that arise can be asked to the veterinarian. Also, his help will be useful and extremely necessary in case of complications. It is better to acquire contacts of a specialist in advance, to take into account all the options for an emergency.

A pregnant horse is extremely shy, therefore, during the period when she carries a foal, and even more so during childbirth, she must be provided with complete rest. The birth of a mare takes place after 11 months from the moment of conception and this process lasts an average of only an hour.

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