Shetland Foal Milk Service

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.

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(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.

11 thoughts on “Shetland Foal Milk Service

  1. VK

    I always think the miniatures must get their heads squashed, they are always a little on the dim side! 😉

  2. Vicki

    I hope you hear big sucking sounds coming from his direction soon. Maybe he’s just a late bloomer. Thrive, little pony, thrive!

  3. Paddy

    All together now…AWWWWW….

    He is utterly adorable – and I noticed those 4 little white hooves right off too. I hope he gets the nursing thing down soon.

    So how tall is he? It’s so hard to tell – and if he’s smaller than Loki, he must be pretty little!! I’ve looked it up – a bit of a range: Foals range in size at birth from 12” to 28”, weighing from 12 to 29 lbs. That means at their littlest, they’re not a whole lot bigger than my CAT! A house horse 😀 (toilet training might be difficult…)

  4. Celeste

    Many good vibes coming from the US also. He sure is a cutie. Please do keep us all posted on how he does. You are amazing for all the hard work you do for the four-footed among us!

  5. Haybrake Shetlands

    I had a foal like this, once I had him on the bottle me and hubby sat at opposite side of the mare and passed the bottle under her beside the udder and he got the hint, then there was no stopping him good luck with this one


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