“Waxing” is a term used to refer to one of the symptoms a mare may exhibit when she is preparing to give birth. You may also hear this symptom referred to as “waxing up”. You will recognize this symptom by the waxy secretion that appears on the mare’s teats. You may see this three (or fewer) days before the big event. When you observe this symptom, you should begin checking on your mare regularly; however, not all mares “wax up”.
What You'll Learn Today
Signs Your Mare Is Close To Foaling
During this exciting time, you will observe other signs that give you clues as to just how long you have to wait for the big event.
For example, during the last two-to-six weeks of gestation, your mare’s udder may grow larger; however, if it’s your mare’s first foal, this may not happen until a day or two before the birth.
Mature mares who have foaled before may begin “running milk” in preparation for the birth of the foal. A day before foaling, you may notice milk (or even thick, creamy, yellowish colostrum) dripping from the mare’s udder.
If this goes on for more than twenty-four hours, call your vet. You don’t want the mare to lose a lot of colostrum because the foal will need a good meal of colostrum soon after being born to help boost its immune system.
More Signs Your Foal Will Arrive Soon
In addition to keeping an eye on your mare’s udder, watch for these signs and symptoms of impending foaling:
- Larger and lower belly: As your mare gets closer to delivering her foal, her belly may become larger due to water retention and may drop. This is a result of the relaxation of the ligaments in the back and hips. This loosening makes it easier to give birth.
- Lower temperature: If you take your mare’s temperature daily, you may notice that she is running a low temperature, even in the afternoon.
- Start of dilation: If you lift your mare’s tail, you may see that her vulva has lengthened and the normal wrinkling of the skin will have smoothed out. This is also a result of the relaxation of all of the apparatus necessary for giving birth.
- Behavior changes: Be careful when you lift your mare’s tail! Even if she is normally very cooperative and good-natured, she may be a bit cranky at the moment. This change in behavior is also a normal sign that the birth of the foal is near.
Other behavioral signs include:
- Unusual tail carriage
- Colic-like symptoms
- Frequent urination
- Lengthy lie-downs
- Intensive grazing
- Self isolation
- Swishing tail
When you begin to see any of these signs, you should start keeping a close eye on your mare. Don’t interfere with her if she is in a safe spot and doesn’t seem to be experiencing excessive levels of pain or difficulty.
Observe Carefully & Take Notes
If you watch your mare closely, you are sure to notice even subtle signs that she is going into labor. It’s a good idea to record these signs to use for reference if you plan to breed your mare again. It can be hard to keep a close eye, though.
You may very well simply be surprised by a happy, healthy new foal one bright and shiny morning because most mares tend to foal at night.