Mares that lose their foals can become irregular in their breeding cycle and often lose out on the entire breeding season. Time is of the essence when it comes to fostering as the mare will only stay in milk for four to five days and foals need colostrum within eight hours of being born.
Orphaned foals that are raised on foster mares are easier to manage, healthier, and better developed both physically and mentally than hand-reared foals. So let’s take a look at this video, where a foal who lost its mom and a mare who lost its foal meet for the first time. We think this is the best decision taken by their owners.
Any mare that is to be used as a foster mare must be of a suitable temperament – relatively quiet, well handled, and a good mother who is unlikely to harm her new foal once bonded. She must also produce the volume of milk necessary to nourish and encourage the normal growth of her new foal.
Draft cross mares make particularly good foster mares because of their calm temperament and the volume of milk they usually produce. The foster mare must be disease-free and preferably vaccinated against tetanus, equine influenza, and Equine Herpes viruses.
Even when a foster mare is required following an emergency, when speed is of the essence, the risks of introducing infectious disease must be considered and assessed to protect other horses. Again, your veterinarian will help you with this.
However, not all mares will accept a foal that is not their own, and great care must be taken when introducing the pair. In most cases, a mare only becomes available for use as a foster mare if she loses her own foal.”