Monday, February 22, 2010

Foal Watch

We have been eagerly and anxiously anticipating the arrival of Gladys' foal for over two weeks now. She is absolutely enormous. She has only been with foal once before, the difficulties of which I wrote about last year. It is my failing that she became pregnant again- after the harrowing experience, I confined Jose to a large stall while Gladys recovered, but, erm, I evidently let him out too soon!

So here we are again, and we have been watching her closely. We have consulted with our vet, Dr. Tillotson, and have been watching for the signs of imminent labor. Trouble is, these signs don't seem to be all that reliable-and I have made myself foolish to family and friends, saying "I think it's happening!" "Okay, now, for real!" "Er, not yet, maybe tonight!" Wrong again-

Some of the signs have been:

"Pointy Belly" When the foal moves into position for birthing, it is actually sort of sitting in the jennet's womb, and its little behindermost makes a distinct "point". This indicates birth within 48 hours-that was two and a half weeks ago. She is no longer pointy.

Waxy spots on the teats-according to the vet, these indicate birth within 10 days. That was two weeks ago. They are still there.

Forming a "bag". Her milk started coming in Saturday-this is apparently not a reliable indicator in terms of timing, but she seemed restless last night, too, so I thought for sure....but, nope.

We need to be there when it happens, because there is a narrow window of time, 30 minutes or so, that we have to make sure it is born alive. This means it has been a worrisome couple of weeks of getting up several times every night to go down to the barn and check on her.

We have set her up in a roomy stall, which I am keeping nice and clean, and she is getting plenty of petting and grooming and words of encouragement. She seems well, and is eating like a, well, horse! Jose is not amused by this arrangement.

I do remember from reading "Babycatcher", an excellent collection of birthing stories written by a midwife, that the general rule is "First births are hard, second births are easy..." Does this apply to donkeys, as well? I hope so. Wish us luck.


ACE said...

Oh, all the luck in the world - does Gladys know how many folks are holding her in their hearts for a happy birth this time -

KM said...

I love & hate birthwatch mode! Never been there for a donkey, though!

Will be holding Gladys (and you!) in my thoughts with hopes for easy foaling~

Billie Jane said...

Oh goodness!! I cant imagine how worrying that must be. Sending Gladys some good luck vibes and some calming one's for you. xx

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