Unfortunately, Delilah is not taking to motherhood as well as we had hoped. I have been up every two hours all night because she will not stand to let him nurse without being held and forced to. Dr. Evergreen was just here to do the iGg test and he looks healthy, but we are concerned. Delilah gets agitated when he starts chasing her around trying to nurse and has swung her butt at him and acted alternately protective and aggressive. Our vet is going to consult with the repro specialists at Pilchuck to discuss options. In the meantime, we may need extra volunteers on hand to handle feeding shifts.
I am now beyond exhausted, but if I hadn’t gotten up every two hours, she wouldn’t have let him nurse at all.
We consulted with Pilchuck and they said that this will probably resolve in the next 48 hours, and if it doesn’t, it probably isn’t going to resolve. But she’s not out and out rejecting him, she just doesn’t want him to nurse. If I hold her, she resigns herself to it fairly quickly, but if I don’t then he just chases her around and when he gets anywhere near her side she pins her ears and swings her butt INTO him (knocking him over, into walls, its pretty scary to watch).
Yes Chelsea, I expected this and was prepared for it for the first nursing and used a chain on her for that, and she was squealy and kicky as expected, but I wouldn’t have expected it to last this long. The poor mare is streaming milk and I just wish she would realize how much better it would feel if she would just let him nurse whenever he wanted.
Thanks to everyone for the offers to help and suggestions with our mare and foal. Right now we have things covered and as Delilah is a bit protective/nervous I would ask visitors to hold off for a while. We’ve had a lot of people just dropping by to see the baby and I think it would be best if we limit visitors for the time being. Thanks for your continued help and support!
If you haven’t seen the update on Facebook, Delilah started letting him nurse without intervention late this afternoon. So far, she’s continued to do so although sometimes she still isn’t in the mood initially but after walking away from him a few times she resigns herself to it and stands. I do think, and the vet concurs, that if we hadn’t intervened the baby may not have lived through that first night. Either he would have been incredibly weak, with a very low iGg score and require plasma, or he would have been injured or killed by her. Every time I would leave them alone, go take a nap for two hours, wake up and watch them on the camera hoping for the best, and every time I would see the same thing…and increasingly frustrated colt chasing momma around the stall, and a mare who was getting more worked up and aggressive towards his efforts, and I would finally have to run out there to get her to stand to nurse the colt both to get him fed but also for his own protection. He would be so hungry by then he would nurse for 20 minutes straight and then immediately lie down and crash. Now that she is giving him more consistent access, he nurses for only a couple of minutes at a time.
In any case, I am hopeful that the worst is over. Bonnie drove over from Silverdale and arrived just as she started letting him nurse on her own. She just left and I actually turned the light out in the barn to really let them rest by themselves tonight. I feel comfortable now leaving them alone now, but definitely not last night or today. We also were able to give them a little bit of turnout time in the arena today and I think Bonnie took some video of that. He’s back in the stall tonight because it started getting really windy and cold out. He’s adorable and so sweet and curious!