Farm Ireland

Monday 23 October 2017

Save time and boost breeding performance with records

Good records can save a lot of time and improve breeding performance. Detailed and accurate health and reproductive records are extremely important when breeding and foaling mares.

The details should include the mare's vaccinations, deworming schedule, hoof and dental maintenance, medications and any health problems.

Specific reproductive records for a given mare should also be maintained from season to season in a dedicated diary. Mares tend to repeat breeding and foaling patterns.

The records should include: the year, mare's age, previous reproductive history (for example number of foals, foaling complications, breeding injuries, tendency to pool urine, abortions and their identified cause, and previous uterine biopsy scores -- if undertaken).

The mare's status at the beginning of the current season (maiden, open, barren or foaling) should also be recorded.

The average equine pregnancy lasts for 340 days but, depending on the mare, it can range from as short as 310 days to as long as 374 days. Foals born earlier than 300 days are unlikely to survive.


Many owners become concerned if a pregnancy exceeds the expected duration. In general, mares will foal when they are ready and this is not necessarily when they are calculated to be 'due'.

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If worried about the duration or any other aspect of your late-pregnant mare, ask your vet to check all is well with the pregnancy.

The estimated foaling date can be calculated from the following:

Estimated foaling date = the date of the last covering plus one year minus 25 days.

For example, if a mare was covered on May 1 last year, she is due to foal on April 5.

For foaling mares, record daily pre-foaling changes in her udder and teat development. Note the date of foaling, difficulty of delivery and any post-foaling complications, as well as the details of her first post-foaling reproductive examinations.

A record should also be kept of the time of foaling, the time the foal stands, the time of first suckling and also the time the afterbirth is passed.

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