Merriment’s Adoption

Mar 18, 2011 by

A month after foaling the broodmare ‘Broadstone Duette’ died from colic resulting in ‘Barry’ her colt foal being orphaned.  Quick thinking was needed to do what is best for the orphan. Do you find a mare that has lost a foal? Do you hand rear? At that time Barry was refusing to eat or drink anything we tried to tempt him with. All he wanted was the mare’s milk and would have nothing to do with anything from bottles or buckets.

Merriment, a mare also at Twemlows Hall and in the same ownership as Duette had a two month old foal, Mica, at foot. She is an experienced broodmare, good milk producer and has a kind but firm temperament. We thought we would try and persuade Merry to adopt Barry as well. It was something we had experience of in the past with a similar mare at the time of foaling….so could it be made to work with older foals?

After a night alone Barry was hungry. It was all hands on deck, doing the adoption in a small paddock where there would be room if things did not work out. Merry was given a small amount of  sedation; she and her foal were held and Barry was walked in towards the mare taking each step slowly. When level with the mare hunger took over and he was straight on the teat and began sucking. Once he had had his fill the foal slips were taken off but Merry was kept on a lead. Barry was soon hungry again and approached Merry who raised a leg slightly but with firm control of her he was soon drinking again. After about five hours Merry was let off the lead; we only needed to assist if we saw any signs of aggression and it soon came to the point where we could just stand by Merry and she would happily let him drink. By ten o’clock all was calm. Mica and Barry were like twins with their mother.

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