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March 22, 2012: Great Expectations

SIGNY is pregnant. (This is the mare who will soon foal.) Signy IS pregnant (This is something we know for sure.) Signy is PREGNANT. (Oh my dog, my horse is going to have a baby!!!!!)

Her due date is April 20. I’ve already begun to prepare of the birth. I’ve read both Blessed are the Broodmares and Blessed are the Foals, two excellent books on the subject of pregnant mare care, parturition, and after care. The author is M. Phyllis Lose. She’s a veterinarian and this is her area of expertise. Both books are written in layperson’s terms, so they are comprehensive to non-veterinarians.

Reiterated – keep a close eye on the mare prior to and during the birthing process. Make sure your foaling area is clean and free of any obstructions. And keep a close eye on the foal once it’s born. There are also a billion little things to remember, like start hand-feeding the foal at 3-5 days, so that it doesn’t become anemic. And rasp the hooves at ten days, because pointy toes can lead to conformational problems.

I’ve also been keeping a very close eye on Signy. She’s gaining weight fast –and drinking increasingly more water. This morning Pete filled the buckets before he went to work. An hour later, after my walk, I had to refill them.

I’ve made a prenatal appointment with Dr. Wellington. We’ll have him take a look at her, and give her pre-foal vaccines. Good timing – Tinni, Siggi, and Raudi will be getting their annual vaccines.

I’ve been making mental lists, but I’m going to make some actual lists in the next few days. I’m going to write up a

materials list, detailing what needs to be done to the foaling area. I’m going to write up a three stages of labor list, detailing what we’ll need to do immediately before, during, and after the birth. And I’m going to write up a post-birth list, detailing what needs to be done in terms of mare and foal care. Oh yeah, and I have to call Andrea Brodie, her former owner, and get more information on Signy’s past foaling history.

I’d like to take some photos. I don’t know if I’ll have it together enough to do this. I’m very fond of Signy, and most likely will be focused on her.

I’ve been feeling apprehensive about this whole deal. The foal mortality rate in Alaska is rather high, mainly because of inclement spring weather conditions. And we don’t have the best set-up for foaling. This IS going to be like being on Noah’s Ark—the others are just going to have to move over and make room for the newcomer. And things are going to be different this time around for Signy – previously, she’s given birth in pastures.

The one good thing is that Signy is a pro at foaling. She’s had five or six in the past, and she knows more about this than we do. But I’ll have to be as prepared beforehand, should she need an assist. Actually, there’s another good thing here, and this is that Pete is also going to help with all this. He too read the Blessed are the Broodmares book – which reminds me – I need to put Watch horse birth on U-Tube on the list.

Next: 105. 3/23/12: Dogs Being Dogs