Last Updated on April 9, 2022 by Allison Price
Nothing is more beautiful than watching a mare and her foal run in camp. Foals are so happy animals and take cuteness to the next step. Horse owners desire their mares to have at most one foal in their lifetime. But how can you decide what is best for your mare’s health? What is the maximum number of babies a horse can have in her lifetime.
This is not an easy question to answer. There are many factors to take into consideration, such as breed, age, fertility, and health. In her lifetime, a mare may have 16-20 foals. Broodmares can have up to 20 babies depending on their breed. Horses can safely breed at 2 to 3 years of age and can have a foal every year until about 20 years. A mare can have 17 foals if she is healthy and has not had any abortions or reproductive problems. She will then need to reach a more dangerous age of 20. Purebred mares are more likely have twins, so they may have closer to 20 foals during their lifetime.
A mare may have as many foals during her lifetime, but most mares don’t. A mare can have between 10-14 foals during her lifetime. This is due to the fact that owners don’t breed them and wait until other purposes such as racing or showing have been achieved.
Broodmares and breeding mares that are covered regularly can produce as many as 22 foals. There have even been instances where they had 26 foals. This is due to good care for the mare in order to ensure her breeding health and reproductive health. It also involves excellent management to get the foal covered as soon as possible.
You should also consider other factors when assessing the fertility and breeding potential a mare. Some breeds are more difficult to foal consistently, while others may struggle to do so. Your horse might also have health problems or genetic tendencies that make it difficult to foal live and unassisted. Sometimes, such as in repeat abortions, your vet might recommend you pause every few decades to allow your mare to heal.
You are about to embark on a journey if you’re a novice horse owner, or if you have never had a mare in foal. Before you can have your mare pregnant and given birth, there are many things that you need to know.
The Fertility and Pregnancy Cycle of a Mare
You might be trying to decide what mare you want to breed. You might be curious about how often you can breed your mare to get the best results and maintain her health.
It is important to fully understand the process before making any decisions. Let’s begin with the basics.
- The late spring and summer months are when mares enter their reproductive season (in heat).
- North America’s mare season is from May to September.
- Transrectal ultrasound can be used to confirm successful insemination or conception after the mare has been covered by the stallion.
- Mares can become pregnant for up to 330 days, or 11 months.
- Although twin births are rare, thoroughbreds have a greater likelihood of having up to 35% of twin pregnancies.
What is the best time for a mare to have her first foal?
A mare can have her first foal at one year of age. She will give birth in her second years of her life. Breeders and horse owners will wait until the mare is at least two or three years of age before they give her to a stallion.
Before allowing your filly to have her first foal, it is a good idea for her to be examined by a vet. Keep your mares and foals away from stallion foals. The mare may be tempted to mat with the stallion and could infuse her before she is ready to have another foal.
A filly or young mare can have a difficult time carrying a foal to term if she is not able to breed. This can often lead to a spontaneous abortion of the mare. It is extremely dangerous for the horse and traumatic for the mare if she aborts her foal in pregnancy. The owner is often disappointed and stressed by the situation. It can cause great disappointment and stress to the owner.
Young mares might not know how to take care of their first foal. This can lead to complications for the foal’s health. A first-time mommy could end up kicking her baby if she’s not a natural mother.
How many foals can a mare have each year?
One mare can have one birth, usually one foal per year. Full-term pregnancy can last 11 months. Some breeds, like Percherons or Clydesdales, can carry their foals for longer periods of time, including draft breeds such as Percherons and Clydesdales, which can go on to have their foals for up to a year.
You should also consider weather and health. Your horse may not be physically fit and may have an early abortion or give birth later if the foal is growing slower. Mares can also delay the arrival of the first rains or the flushing of green grass in dry seasons to give birth to their foals. This helps with their milk production.
Some breeds are more likely to have twins than others, but such a pregnancy is rare. The weaker twin will usually absorb the weaker one.
You may think that a twin pregnancy is a great idea, with double the sales potential. Twin pregnancies can be fatal. Not only is one foal physically weaker than the other, but the mare may also experience life-threatening complications.
Triplets in horses are rare, with only one in 300 000 births. These foals are often stillborn and will be discovered by a vet. Specialist vets are able to perform procedures to end the lives of unborn foals. This will give the bigger foal a greater chance of a successful birth and gestation.
Warmbloods and thoroughbreds are the most well-known breeds for giving birth to twins. Some Arabs have also been recorded having twins. Most mares don’t have twins again, unlike cows or sheep, which may be genetically programmed to have multiple pregnancies.
Which Horse Breeds Are More Popular with Babies?
Horse breeds are known to be equally fertile. This means that no one breed can have more babies than the other. Some breeds are more successful than others at giving birth, and some breeds do better on their own. Larger breeds are generally more adept at the birthing process.
You can increase the chances that your mare will have more babies by having her stud (letting the horse cover her) as soon after she has had her next ovulation cycle. This is when she’s most fertile.
Before you give your daughter to stud, make sure she has her vet check for any uterine infection. Sometimes her uterus may not have fully recovered from previous births, or there might be some placenta remnants that need to be removed before she can conceive again. This will allow her to have healthy, balanced pregnancies as well as increase her chances of conceiving.
Broodmares are usually covered by breeders as soon as the foal can stand on its own and the mare is showing signs of returning to season. This is how they ensure a consistent crop of foals every breeding season.
Breeders can also advise you to keep the exposed mares near the foals. This will encourage the mares to get their hormones up and help them to be more active. If a stallion seems to have difficulty covering a new mare, the same principle can be applied. Breeders will keep a tease pony, usually an older mare that is open to breeding, in order to get the stallions to produce more of their sperm.
How to Decide If You and Your Mare are Ready for a Foal
Your mare may be physically ready to have a foal. However, it is important that you consider your readiness as a horse owner. It is difficult to care for a mare after she has given birth. It can be difficult to deal with a suckling foal. Although foaling is an natural process, it’s important to make sure your mare has a good health experience and is successful.
- You will need a barn or stable if you live in the northern hemisphere or an area with cold winters and humid summers. This will provide shelter for your foal and mare. A extreme heat or cold environment can cause a mare to abort a foal.
- It is important to ensure that your mare gets enough grazing during her pregnancy.
- She should be fed a broodmare diet for the first five months to increase her nutrition to ensure a healthy foal.
- Regular vet visits are necessary to ensure her health and that of her unborn foal.
- You must have facilities that allow you to keep the mare and her foal separate from other horses, as the foal may get aggressive when she is born. Many foals have been killed by their foals because they were fighting with other horses.
- You will need to be able to separate the foal from mom when the foal is old enough for weaning. This is labor-intensive.
- The whole thing can end up being expensive. The mare’s health, vet visits, payment for stallion’s services, frozen sperm and care for the foal are all expenses. After your infrastructure has been built, it can take several years before you make a profit.
Pros Of Your Mare Having Babies
It is a good idea to have your mare conceive, become pregnant and foal at least once during her lifetime.
- It can balance her hormones.
- It could improve her mood and calm her down.
- This can help you to strengthen your relationship with her by allowing you to be more involved in her care of her baby.
- Amazing genetics can be preserved in her offspring.
- Mares with a strong bloodline can have financially successful foals.
Cons of Your Mare Having Babies
There are many reasons why it might be bad to allow your mare foal.
- Your mare’s health is at risk from infection or damage due to uterine infections or abortion.
- If it is her first foaling attempt, your mare may die.
- Foals can be a drain on your mare’s body. If she is already sick, foaling could make her worse.
- A mare can suffer from significant health problems if she foals repeatedly. It can also lead to bone loss and other complications such as colic or ulcers.
- Foaling can be expensive so you might have to sell your foal or give up the foal if you don’t have the funds.
- Foals can be hard work. If you don’t have the knowledge and skills to handle them, you could end up in a worse situation.
- You must allow your mare to be a mommy if you want to compete in riding. ‘
How to Choose the Right Stallion for Successful Fertilization
It is more than choosing the most beautiful stallion in the field. You should consider genetics, temperament and breed as well as size and past offspring. You may not be able to have a filly if your stallion choices only produces male or female offspring. You should also consider:
There are stallions with greater fertility than others. Breeders and stud owners can attest to the number of live births that their stallion has. Your foal’s genetic makeup will be 50 % due to its sire (the horse) and 50 to its dam (the mare). While you might be concerned about your mare’s fertility and breeding ability, make sure that you choose a stallion that is fertile and known for being a good breeder.
Although it is more common to breed larger horses, or smaller horses if you have miniature horses, you should consider whether your mare can carry a large foal. Although a 14.2 hand mare may be able to foal to a 17-hand thoroughbred stallion, it could lead to the foal being euthanized or the mare not making it through labor.
You can start your foals in the breeding season if you are confident that your chosen stallion will produce healthy foals without any undesirable traits. You might not choose a stallion with defects such as box hooves or club feet.
Is your mare too old to have a foal?
Horse owners often wait until their mare turns older before deciding to give them to foals. This is because they want to keep their horses’ temperament and genetics intact. As your mare gets older, her reproductive health will decline. Your mare may not be foaling every other year if she hasn’t been healthy.
A transrectal exam can be done by your vet to determine if your mare meets the requirements for breeding. However, there are other things to consider:
- Are you sure your mare is in good enough condition to endure the labor process?
- Is your mare healthy enough for an 11-month-long pregnancy?
- Is your mare able to provide the nutritional needs of a foal growing up?
- Are there any other medical conditions that she may have, such as colic, poor dental health, or physical impairments?
An older mare might have medical reasons that would make carrying a baby over 200 pounds inside her difficult. Older horses can suffer from stifle injury later in life and may develop arthritis. Therefore, having a foal might be like having your granny mate and having babies.
A mare’s broody behavior and temperament should not be mistaken for a sign she is able to have babies. Older mares can be a bit more motherly and may even steal babies from other mares. This behavior is instinctual and older mares may try to steal babies from other mares.
Older mares might start to go into estrus or produce more milk if there are pregnant mares around or foals. This does not mean that the mare is ready to become pregnant. This can be viewed as the horse equivalent of menopause.
Are you ready to have a foal under your care?
Many foals are mistaken for giant puppies by first-time owners. This mistake can lead to disastrous consequences for both the foal and the owner. A foal can be a costly pet to care for.
A foal’s financial cost includes stud fees, the cost of feeding the mare and foal, vet check to ensure healthy growth, assistance during labor and delivery (if necessary), as well as the cost of fixing any fences, walls or doors that your foal might damage while exploring their world.
Training a foal from the beginning is essential. Some owners will allow their foal to grow up in the camp while they train it, but this is not wise. You must ensure that your foal can stand for routine veterinary procedures and pick up its feet to go to the farrier. If your foal is a colt (a horse that is male), you may need to castrate them. You will also want to teach your foal how to stand to have their hair cut if they get thicker.
It can take patience and some horsemanship to raise a foal.
Horses can have up to 20 babies in their lifetime, and can begin breeding as early as their first year of existence. However, these are just a few factors that you should consider before allowing your mare to breed.
When making such a big decision, you should consider the health of the mare and foal as well as your space and financial situation. A foal is an additional responsibility that we all have to take care of our horses.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!