Behavioral traits connected with parturition (the birth process) room deeply rooted in the evolutionary advancement of A simple assumption is that have evolved behavior strategies the ensure their survival. Throughout the bear process, both the dam and her offspring are in a dilute state and also are susceptible to strike by predators. The mare takes measures to rise their safety throughout parturition. In general, these steps include locating a safe site for foaling, quickening the process, minimizing evidence of the process, and also achieving fast recovery.

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Pre-Parturient Mare Behavior

Mares will usually foal after ~ an 11-month gestation, however this is highly variable. Research studies have shown a range of gestation native 315 come 387 days, with an mean of about 341 days. There is evidence that smaller breeds have tendency to have shorter gestation periods. One study, because that example, uncovered ponies had a gestation that 336 days. The foaling day can be figured out through a calendar calculation of gestation and by watching for physical indicators of draw close gestation, such as distended udder, swelling of the vulva, wax of the teats, and also teat secretions. Behavior changes in late gestation are usually minimal, and also may no be observed until shortly prior to birth.

Udder Development


Foaling Behavior

Mares favor privacy in ~ foaling time. If possible, mares will delay birth until person observers are not around. Mares typically foal at night. One study, because that example, shown that roughly 80 percent of foals to be born in between midnight and also 6 a.m.

Parturition is separated into 3 stages:

labor;expulsion the the fetus; andpassage of afterbirth.

In the first stage that foaling, mares become restless. They will not eat and also they may pace or go in circles, look back toward their flank, and switch their tails. Some mares lie down and stand up repeatedly. Some will certainly not drink water. This restless duration is usually shorter for larger mares. This is the longest phase of foaling and can last everywhere from 30 minute to 6 hours. As labor progresses, mares might assume a straddling, crouching position and may urinate frequently. As soon as the mare division her water or start expelling fluid, the very first stage of parturition is completed.

The second stage the parturition, expulsion the the fetus, or actual birth, is shorter in duration than the first stage. Shortly before the foal is born, the mare may sweat profusely, especially approximately the flanks. If she is disturbed, the mare might temporarily delay the birth process. This is why observers of the foaling procedure are cautioned to minimize interference during the birth process so it can proceed normally The mare may be was standing or lying under as contractions begin, but she typically will lie on her side for the yes, really birth. The mare may obtain up with part of the foal exposed but will normally lie under to complete the birthing process, provided she is no disturbed by observers. The foal is generally born after ~ 12 come 18 minute of heavy labor. Maiden mares (mares foaling because that the very first time) are much more likely come take about an hour come expel the fetus. Handlers must be ready to assist if that goes much longer than one hour. Maturation mares in job for more than 30 come 45 minutes may additionally need assistance. After the foal is born, the mare will proceed to lied on her side for one more 15 to 20 minutes. This time is important for the mare come rest and for blood circulation from the placental tissues to pass right into the colt. A mare that is disturbed during this duration may rise prematurely and also sever the umbilical cord. Therefore, handlers need to avoid mental the mare for at least 15 minute after a regular delivery. Handlers should also be mindful that a usually gentle mare is likely to end up being nervous and also protective throughout the an initial hours after giving birth. The mare may, in her protectiveness, come to be aggressive towards people.

Mare Foaling


The last stage of foaling is the passing of the afterbirth. If there has been a regular birth, mares will certainly stand some 15 to 20 minute after giving birth and begin come nuzzle and also lick the foal. This is a vital period together the link is being established in between the dam and also foal. The licking and also cleaning behavior, which normally starts at the head, stimulates the foal when it also dries it. The cleaning is probably also component of the initial bonding process and is typically accompanied by vocalizations and a thorough visual and olfactory examination of the foal by the mare. A child foal learn to identify its dam by she voice. The process by i beg your pardon the newborn learns to identify its dam is referred to as imprinting. The cleaning/licking is also accompanied by nuzzling, which appears to aid the foal in discovering to stand. The mare commonly starts by licking the head, therefore by the time she has actually reached the rear, she is maybe to assist the standing procedure by the nuzzling.



The afterbirth is typically expelled within one come two hrs after birth. Mares can identify your foals within hrs of birth. Odor is the main recognition factor. The most far-ranging identification is normally made as soon as the mare smells the behind area that the foal.

Craig Wood, college of Kentucky

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