Orphan – the name itself evokes sadness and sympathy, a baby without a mother, in this case a foal. Foals can be orphaned through the death or removal of their mother, because their mother cannot produce milk, or because the mare rejects her foal.
Regardless of the reason, it all leads to one urgent and time sensitive problem: the fragile foal needs immediate intervention and intensive care. How that foal is managed for the first several days, weeks and months of its life is directly linked to its chance of survival, its later development and the adjustment to life as an adult horse.
Since 2014 KHS has saved over 100 of these orphaned babies. These orphans come to our Equine C.A.R.E. Program at just a few days old, and they require medical care and round-the-clock feedings until they are strong enough and old enough to be adopted locally or transported to some of our trusted equine rescue partners.
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About Nurse Mare Foals
A nurse mare foal is a foal who was born so that its mother produces milk. The lactating mares are then used as surrogate mothers for foals from other horses. In order to have milk, the nurse mare has to give birth to her own baby, and their foals become orphans. These newborn foals are generally taken away from their mothers within a few days or weeks of birth. Nurse mare foals are difficult and expensive to raise, and their survival rate is low if there is not intervention.
Until KHS stepped in to help, there were no rescues in Kentucky dedicated to the foster and placement of nurse mare foals. There are a few out-of-state organizations that will take in Kentucky’s nurse mare foals, but most cannot keep up with demand.
After we rescue these foals, they are placed in foster barns and cared for by KHS volunteers. They remain under our care until they can be placed for adoption or sent to rescues.
How You Can Help
Do you want to help our orphaned foals? You can do so by donating, fostering or adopting.
We have staff and volunteers who provide transport and temporary foster barns, and we have rescues willing to take them. But we need donations to cover the cost of fuel, milk replacer and medical care for these fragile infants. Donate now
Another way you can help is by providing a temporary foster barn or by signing up to help with feedings. Email us at [email protected] to learn how you can help.