This afternoon, I looked at my lot (who knows where is Haakon) and said, right your turn. With that the phone rang and a friend needed the Shetland Foal Milk Service. He had a colt foal who had not sucked since he was born this morning.
I threw two carrots at Iacs, who was looking dejected, and rushed off with some Foal-Stim (Red Bull for foals) and The National Foaling Bank Emergency Kit to try and help.
We were faced with this beautiful little chap who just could not get the hang of sucking milk from his mother. He was going downhill quickly, becoming more and more depressed and not trying. He had not fed since he was born and it was becoming very obvious that the clock was ticking. So we quickly gave him 1/2 a tube of Foal-Stim, milked the mother for her colostrum and fed him all afternoon by bottle as well as trying to get him to suck from his mum.
He seemed to brighten and become less dehydrated but never sucked from his mum. He passed meconium and urine, which was a very good sign. Mum was brilliant. She didn’t mind us massaging her teats to get her to let down or try and get her dim-witted foal to suckle. She just stood there, trying to help as much as her instinct let her – but this was her first foal so she was no expert and neither, tbh, are we. It is a huge learning curve.
After a good few hours of this, Mum lay down to sleep – you could see she was exhausted and so was her babe, but in a good way – he had a full stomach thanks to us, so we left them agreeing to re-group a hour and a half later when more expertise would arrive.
At this stage Jo joined in with a smaller teat for the colostrum bottle and we tried again to get the foal to latch on. No success but he was more alert at really trying at this stage. Eventually, he did it! Yay and phew all at the same time.
I hope this miniature Shetland foal is ok because he is seriously cute and now wiffles if he sees me! Jo says I can’t keep him even though he doesn’t belong to me.
(I think BeAnne weighs more than him and Loki is certainly bigger).)
Please send “sucking” vibes to him and hopefully he will get the hang of this milk thing.