Monday, May 4, 2009

Baby watch, part one

Besides getting quick rides in on both Kate and Maddie, and every-weekend chores done, one major effort this weekend was getting in 10 bales of straw for Misty's foaling stall.
Misty is officially in to her final month, starting to look gigantic, and feeling sorry for herself. She got her final vaccinations and deworming last week, and I have started to add to her grain to build gradually to lactation amounts.
Though the Kittitas Valley is known for it's export quality timothy hay, we know of at least one forever farmer that grows wheat, and always has a supply of nice clean straw available.
I use pellet bedding through the winter, but straw is better for babies' eyes and respiratory system. It is slipperier (more slippery?), however, especially right after being saturated with foaling activities, so I will leave a light layer of pellets underneath for traction and absorbtion purposes. Because my foaling stalls are plenty big (16' X 18'), I stack the bales against the walls until needed. I'll bed the stall about a week before Misty is due (end of May).

(Thanks, Roger!)Misty is Maddie's mama. She was purchased when she was ten to be Al's riding horse and my first broodmare. Though Al doesn't ride anymore (bad back) and Misty has never been really more than green broke, she is safe for grandkids to get started on, and that will be her sole duty after weaning this foal. She was supposed to be retired three years ago, when she didn't take on a second breeding to Maddie's sire, Billywil Shineforever. She's now 22 years old, and we were going to transfer the breeding to Zoey the year Amy was born. But on the way to the trailer to go to the breeder's place, Amy decided to dive through a fence, and we went to the vet's instead (Amy adopted sis Kate's monniker of "boo-boo-baby" at that time). Last spring, we were going to try again with Zoe--and then I sold her!

So last spring it was "one more time around the block" for Misty, with a full-sibling to Maddie on the way. (I don't want to breed Kate or Maddie yet, even if the breeder had another stud for Maddie.) (I really didn't want to breed anybody any time soon, but didn't want to lose the stud fee. Don't report me to Fugly, this foal will be here 'til the right home comes along. I'm done breeding for awhile, if not forever.)

Her udder is filling up (unlike Kate, Misty's is supposed to!) She's no where near full yet, but you can see the "milk vein" along her belly.Another side effect of late pregnancy is cow-pie poops! Misty has been out on pasture during the day for a couple of weeks now, which also contributes to this phenomenon, but her manure always gets just gross at this point in her gestation (even the year Pete was born in March, well before spring grass).Joining her in the pasture (they have separate stalls/paddocks at night) is RT (Royal Tardez), the retired Arabian gelding we keep for a friend. RT has already claimed Misty as "his herd" and frets when he can't see her in her stall. After the foal is a week or two old, RT will hopefully go back in with Misty and baby, to take Corky's old role of "babysitter"--which makes weaning a lot easier on the foal, when the time comes.

So I'll keep you posted on all this developments as they develop!


  1. Good luck to you and Misty on her foaling. That paint horse is beautiful,(I have a special place in my heart for paints). I'll be checking back to see how she does with her new baby.

  2. Yes, Billy is a looker--and that photo doesn't do him justice, he was when he was still a somewhat gangly two-year-old. Maddie was his first ever foal--Misty taught him the ropes, as it were. Since the bottom has fallen out of most markets, she is promoting him to Thorobred mare owners, for colored sport horses--he had one foal go first premium at a AWS inspection.

    Misty is actually a Paint, as well--she is a black-based gray overo--you just can't see her spots much anymore because of the graying.