Recently we had a new baby foal born on the farm. It is always exciting when new life begins. A couple years ago, I wrote a heartfelt story very similar of our Easter baby—a colt being born on Easter morning with difficulties. At first the birth was exciting, but then it wasn’t. The baby, born to a maiden mare, it being her first baby was having difficulties. If you remember, the baby wasn’t able to nurse. Try as he might, with assistance, he just didn’t latch on. It was a frantic twelve hours trying everything to assist the baby to nurse. And the mother’s first milk, the yellow colostrum is extremely important.
To add to our despair, the mare wasn’t fond of the baby getting close to her and especially her udder. She’d kick and pin her ears back. For hours all the tricks were tried. Dipping our fingers in the milk extracted from the mare and placing them in the foal’s mouth. We tried a baby bottle but he wasn’t really interested. Finally, the colostrum was put in an extra large plastic syringe and given to the foal that way. Still that wasn’t what we needed to have happen but it was a start. We needed the baby to nurse on its own. Finally, late into the evening with persistence to keep trying, the text went out and I wrote in that story, “ The baby latched on. Momma and baby doing fine.” I assure you, it was a most glorious text message. Like hitting a three point shot at the buzzer moment. Today, Gus (his barn name) is now two years old and his full sister was just born two weeks before Easter.
This 2018 baby had none of the issues Gus had that first day. Unlike her brother, she is going to be a pretty black baby like her dam. Gus, a bay, looks like his sire. It always amazes me the innate qualities animals are born with. Within a few hours this little filly was up walking, all cleaned up by her mother. Instinctively, they know to search for the milk by nudging around on the mare—here, there and everywhere until they finally figure it out, “ Oh, here’s what I’ve been searching for.” And then they cock their tiny heads sideways, latch on and you hear the gulping sound as the milk flows freely down to their tummy with each gulp. The mare’s body has been preparing weeks in advance making “the milk supply” just for this baby’s life. It is remarkable when you study it and put some thought into it.
It is more remarkable to me when the mare and filly are let out for the first time from their extra-large, make-shift maternity stall and the little one, only hours old mind you, canters off; slows down then gallops off. Stops. Turns, kicks a bit and then takes its place next to the mother’s shoulder. She begins to eat her hay and baby checks the hay she is eating with its mouth, mimicking momma. Next she heads to the food source that will nourish her until she gets teeth, when the hay will be more appealing, but for now she gulps down another liquid meal from momma. Later, the baby is resting under its mother’s head as she stands guard. The baby is sprawled out in the golden straw, sleeping comfortably. Mother appears half asleep but alert enough to watch for predators. It’s a peaceful moment, when all is right with the world.
This time of year, new life is popping up all over. Take a moment to study
what their Creator gave them as survival skills.
It’s the miracle of life—and
truly amazing. Watch and see. Happy Easter! Take Joy! Sherry is a regular contributor to The Press. You can follow her blog at www.sherryphillipsmitchell.com or her Facebook page at My Farmhouse Journal: Memories and Recipes the name for her recently published book available on Amazon.