Waiting for your Foal

Still Waiting for your Foal?

Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Allison Price

All of us want to meet the new baby! When is the due date for foal? Horses can go to foal in a normal gestation of 340 days. However, the average gestation is only 320 days. Although 445 days was the longest successful gestation, most foals born after extended gestation are smaller due to delayed uterine growth.

Many factors can affect the length of gestation. These include genetics and the season when the foal is due. The foal decides when development is sufficient to determine the foal’s fecundity. Keep in mind that the terms “premature”, “dysmature” and “postmature” refer to the foal’s condition when he/she is born and not the length of gestation.

 Waiting for your Foal

Foals born after 300 days of gestation are less likely to survive. However, there are exceptions. Miniature horses may have shorter gestations than full-sized horses, and foals may be born in as little as 280 days. If a pregnancy is in danger, such as due to placentitis or other reasons, fetal stress (or cortisol), may accelerate development, leading to normal maturity within a very short gestational period. Foals between 300 and 312 days of gestation may be premature and require intensive care. The average gestation time is between 320 and 370 days. However, longer pregnancies are possible.

Impending parturition signs are not usually very obvious. Impending birth may be indicated by changes in the mare’s behavior or routine. In late gestation, the mare’s abdomen can become larger and more pendulous. However, in the last week, the abdomen might shrink as the foal enters the birth canal. The hormone relaxin causes relaxation in the pelvic muscles and vulva over the last six weeks of pregnancy. About 4 weeks before parturition, the mare’s udder should be expanding. Consistent enlargement and filling in of the teats should occur at one week. The teats will begin to wax, or colostrum deposits, within six to 48 hours after parturition. The mare can determine the amount of milk calcium each day. If it reaches 200ppm, it is close to giving birth. The mare might become restless, or even colicky just before giving birth. False labor can be possible. But keep an eye on her, as she will likely reach the final stages of labor quickly. Enjoy your new foal!

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