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Help for orphan foals

Good news for orphan foals after a record number of mares die giving birth this season

A record number of mares have died giving birth this year, leaving hundreds of foals orphaned.

Johanna Vardon, MBE, founder of the International Foaling Bank in Newport, Shropshire, told the Sunday Express:”This season has been exceptionally bad for mares and foals dying during birth.

“The usual mortality rate is three dead foals to one dead mare, but this year it is three dead mares to every dead foal.

“There is not single reason for this alarming rise in mortality, but there is however an excessive number of mares with colic. Unfortunately, it is just one of those seasons.”

The Cornish Foaling Bank and Database provides the people of Cornwall with a 24-hour advice centre and colosturum bank.

The unregistered charity was set up in 1996 by Sue Hicks. It provides owners and breeders with advice, a colosturum bank, as well as details of foster mothers or orphan foals.

The idea came about after a broodmare owned by Sue, ran milk for two weeks before foaling. After speaking to her local vet she decided to collect the milk and freeze it.

This would enable an orphaned foal to get some vital first milk filled with colosturum and, as Sue says: “it snowballed from there.”

Sue and her husband John run Pengelly Farm, a 530-acre dairy farm in Trispen, Truro. They have had plenty of experience coping with orphaned calves and this has helped Sue deal with orphaned foals and potential foster mums.

Each year we get around 30 calls on the mobile,” says Sue. “Although we can’t help everyone, this year we have successfully organised four foster situations.”

To contact the Cornish Foaling Bank and Database (tel: 07977 937094) or email paul.hicks@ukgateway.net

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