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© 1994, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide outlines the foaling process and appropriate actions to take during both normal and abnormal foaling.

The ultimate goal of any breeding operation should be both maximal foaling and a high survival rate of foals. Most mares will have a normal parturition if left unattended, however, the value of broodmares and their progeny can make leaving parturition to nature an expensive gamble. As the value of mares and foals rise, it becomes more desirable to have someone present during foaling, allowing for immediate assistance to both mare and foal if needed.

Being present when a mare foals can be more difficult than expected. The mare seems to prefer solitude and quiet during parturition. Observers have noted that 75 to 85 percent of foals are born between 6 pm and 6 am. Some mares, if continuously "checked," will delay delivery for several hours or days, until left in solitude.