Specialist Topic - Foaling Monitors

Theriowannabe

Active Member
Since it is getting closer to foaling time I thought I would offer a few options for people so they can hopefully get some full nights of sleep!
There are lots of different approaches to keeping an eye on your mares and their precious cargo as it is first being introduced to the world. In my experience, the vast majority of the times things go perfectly regardless of your racked nerves. However, it is good practice to keep an eye on her while she foals because when things do go wrong they tend to go really wrong!
Having a reliable foaling monitor that works for you can make the difference between being there for your mare when she needs you or a months worth of sleepless nights that turn you into a zombie*#)

1. Monitors that go off when your mare lays down during foaling:
-These attach to the halter (or around the barrel like a surcingle) and the alarm sounds when the mare is down. They are light and easy to use and some of them can double as a colic monitor as well. They do tend to have high numbers of false alarms with mares that just sleep lying flat out and they are fairly expensive ($550 - $700 USD)

2. Closed Circuit Television Cameras:
- Wonderful tool which allows you to stay in your PJs and slippers under the covers but are best used in conjunction with something else otherwise you are comfortable but still exhausted from watching her all night! Depending on how high tech you get these can be pretty cheap ($200 USD).

3. Chemical Test Kits:
- There are a few options for these, I personally have used the actual foaling kits with great success but I have heard of people using hard water testing kits and pool kits. Whichever way you go with these the point is to test the mares’ milk for changes in the levels of Calcium and pH. These are very cheap ($35 USD)and will not affect the mares’ colostrum levels if done correctly. I have found that a chemical kit and a closed circuit camera work very together.

4. Foalert:
- This monitor consists of a two sided magnetic device which is sutured into the vulva (sounds bad but it’s less stitches than a Caslick) when the vulva lips are opened during delivery the magnets separate and the alarm is sounded. This one is, in my humble opinion, the best that there is out there. It is very expensive (it’s been awhile but last time I looked they were over $1500 USD) and then you usually have to get it placed by a vet. However, it is super reliable with very little chance of false alarms.

5. Birth Alert:
- This is an interesting concept where a small (.5” x 1.5”) probe is placed inside the vagina next to the cervix and when labour begins it is pushed out and the alarm sounds because of the temperature drop as it leaves the body. I have never used these so cannot say one way or the other if they work well or not but I think the theory seems solid. Not sure how much they cost either.

So, these are all options available to help you keep your sanity during foaling season along with checking your mare for all of the physical changes that appear close to foaling such as relaxation of muscles on either side of the tail head and the vulva, waxing up, slab-sidedness (foal shifting into the birthing position), and changes in milk colour and texture. Hope this helps :)*

ps... I am really sorry that all the prices are in USD but that is all I am familiar with :p
 
Hi Therio:D
we use the first alarm on your list. the only drawback I can think of is it sometimes goes off when a mare stretches its neck standing up or sleeping on the ground. Therefore we intalled infra red cameras over our foaling paddock, so we can see what's happening instead of running out on each alarm.
lena:)
 
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EVP

Gold Member
Since it is getting closer to foaling time I thought I would offer a few options for people so they can hopefully get some full nights of sleep!
There are lots of different approaches to keeping an eye on your mares and their precious cargo as it is first being introduced to the world. In my experience, the vast majority of the times things go perfectly regardless of your racked nerves. However, it is good practice to keep an eye on her while she foals because when things do go wrong they tend to go really wrong!
Having a reliable foaling monitor that works for you can make the difference between being there for your mare when she needs you or a months worth of sleepless nights that turn you into a zombie*#)

1. Monitors that go off when your mare lays down during foaling:
-These attach to the halter (or around the barrel like a surcingle) and the alarm sounds when the mare is down. They are light and easy to use and some of them can double as a colic monitor as well. They do tend to have high numbers of false alarms with mares that just sleep lying flat out and they are fairly expensive ($550 - $700 USD)

2. Closed Circuit Television Cameras:
- Wonderful tool which allows you to stay in your PJs and slippers under the covers but are best used in conjunction with something else otherwise you are comfortable but still exhausted from watching her all night! Depending on how high tech you get these can be pretty cheap ($200 USD).

3. Chemical Test Kits:
- There are a few options for these, I personally have used the actual foaling kits with great success but I have heard of people using hard water testing kits and pool kits. Whichever way you go with these the point is to test the mares’ milk for changes in the levels of Calcium and pH. These are very cheap ($35 USD)and will not affect the mares’ colostrum levels if done correctly. I have found that a chemical kit and a closed circuit camera work very together.

4. Foalert:
- This monitor consists of a two sided magnetic device which is sutured into the vulva (sounds bad but it’s less stitches than a Caslick) when the vulva lips are opened during delivery the magnets separate and the alarm is sounded. This one is, in my humble opinion, the best that there is out there. It is very expensive (it’s been awhile but last time I looked they were over $1500 USD) and then you usually have to get it placed by a vet. However, it is super reliable with very little chance of false alarms.

5. Birth Alert:
- This is an interesting concept where a small (.5” x 1.5”) probe is placed inside the vagina next to the cervix and when labour begins it is pushed out and the alarm sounds because of the temperature drop as it leaves the body. I have never used these so cannot say one way or the other if they work well or not but I think the theory seems solid. Not sure how much they cost either.

So, these are all options available to help you keep your sanity during foaling season along with checking your mare for all of the physical changes that appear close to foaling such as relaxation of muscles on either side of the tail head and the vulva, waxing up, slab-sidedness (foal shifting into the birthing position), and changes in milk colour and texture. Hope this helps :)*

ps... I am really sorry that all the prices are in USD but that is all I am familiar with :p

What a fantastic array of things us breeders have access to!
And if I had the ability to use that magnet thingy I reckon I could be persuaded.....lolol But you'd obviously need more than one set especially if you have mares foaling around the same time (which we always do).

We've only used the head-collar variety alarm but we installed the necessary equipment for CCTV....as our mares love to play "musical chairs" during the night and it's not fun for us at all!! I love the idea of rolling over and turning on the telly and seeing EXACTLY whats going on out there in the foaling yards (while staying warm in bed!). Tried the milk-test kits too.......found them very fiddly and ended up sending the rest of the kit to a friend in QLD who foals down a greater number of mares.....though she said it was fiddly too........LOLOL

There is a Qld company that distribute a foaling alarm that is very popular, a simple "google" will show it up.....

Lena has an easy to do milk test that requires no equipment other than a nice co-operataive mare.....lolol
Perhaps she might be good enough to re-post how she does it, as a bunch of people on another forum starting doing it and reported great success.

Have def been a zombie during breeding time....! ;)


Cheers
 
R

Remaani

Guest
We use a Foaling Alarm & set up a security camera (have 4 cams) & the moniter inside.
The cams aren't that expensive, you can buy similar at places like Dick Smith.
Have them on at night, with a very light, light & you can see everything you need to, without upsetting the mare/s.

Have used the Milk Test Strips but found them fiddly.
 

EVP

Gold Member
We use a Foaling Alarm & set up a security camera (have 4 cams) & the moniter inside.
The cams aren't that expensive, you can buy similar at places like Dick Smith.
Have them on at night, with a very light, light & you can see everything you need to, without upsetting the mare/s.

Have used the Milk Test Strips but found them fiddly.

Hahaha, am wondering if those milk test kits should have a label that reads....
"This kit is fiddly".......if you don't like fiddly you shouldn't have bought it....lolol

Yes Dick Smith has those cameras.....I think you can even buy from ebay and they have the infra-red or night vision ones where you don't even need externals lights!!...called something predictable like Knight Vision...from memory the dearest was like $300?
 
R

Remaani

Guest
Hahaha, am wondering if those milk test kits should have a label that reads....
"This kit is fiddly".......if you don't like fiddly you shouldn't have bought it....lolol

Yes Dick Smith has those cameras.....I think you can even buy from ebay and they have the infra-red or night vision ones where you don't even need externals lights!!...called something predictable like Knight Vision...from memory the dearest was like $300?

Lol i agree, i bought the kit from HSD & ended up giving up on it!

I haven't heard of the Knight Vision cams but they sound good with not needing external lights. Especially for those mares that refuse to drop until it's pitch black, lol!

I think another good part of equipment (& yet i do not have) is a miners light... (sits on your head). Meaning you have both your hands free if need be & no stumbling around 1 handed & torch in the other.
 

EVP

Gold Member
Lol i agree, i bought the kit from HSD & ended up giving up on it!

I haven't heard of the Knight Vision cams but they sound good with not needing external lights. Especially for those mares that refuse to drop until it's pitch black, lol!

I think another good part of equipment (& yet i do not have) is a miners light... (sits on your head). Meaning you have both your hands free if need be & no stumbling around 1 handed & torch in the other.

THAT I will agree to big time.....so hard holding a torch in your thighs for the tricky look-sees......or balancing it on a fence post all the while trying to angle it correctly.

Have 4 flood lit birthing yards but one yard has no light in the walk-in stable......short of jamming a torch in an un-natural place it is murder doing things with one hand especially if you are holding a mare by the lead rope.
Gives new meaning to the term "Octapussy".

LOLOL
 
R

Remaani

Guest
THAT I will agree to big time.....so hard holding a torch in your thighs for the tricky look-sees......or balancing it on a fence post all the while trying to angle it correctly.

Have 4 flood lit birthing yards but one yard has no light in the walk-in stable......short of jamming a torch in an un-natural place it is murder doing things with one hand especially if you are holding a mare by the lead rope.
Gives new meaning to the term "Octapussy".

LOLOL

Lol re the Octapussy! :D

I too balance the torch on a rail & it just doesn't work too well, usually rolls off into the water tub or something stupid!

Think i might suss out the Camping stores when i'm in the city next for a Miner's Torch/Light.
 

EVP

Gold Member
Get a price for 2 hey.
I think they sound like a great idea lolololol

I reckon young kids would love them too.
Great for playing spot-light.....or maybe kids don't play that much anymore...
I'm showing my age.

AHAHAHA
 

wattle6180

Gold Member
Our kids love those lamps :D Also great for night trail-riding.

Remaani - get em online (aka eba*), much cheaper - and delivered :p
 

fta

New Member
balancing torches

Hi Folks
Yes I used to use the balanced torch but it always falls at the wrong moment! I found an adjustable camping lantern at one of the big name general stores in the camping section (the camping stores are more expensive) and that is fantastic as I just put it down anywhere and as it is fluorescent it shines week light in all directions. Mind you I lost the first one to a staggering foal so put it a reasonable distance away - its amazing how they always find something to stagger into be it a fence, tree or your lantern!
 

manocaaron

Well-known Member
Foaling monitors....
I was reading a very old breeding book, the author was describing what we could call a very early but very acurate foaling monitor, it made me laugh!

A large stud in Germany, mare would be in a stall wearing a roller with a rope attached that was fed up over the roof beams and down into the neighboring stall were it was tied to a camp bed.
The attendant would sleep on the camp bed and when the mare laid down , the bed would be hoisted into the air dumping the sleeping attendant on the floor!!!!

No one would sleep through that one- LOL:D
 

beks

Well-known Member
Got to love that one!!! I know someone who could even sleep through that.
I have just used the milk test kit on all 5 mares this season and found it an acurate and easy foaling tool, as well as my foaling alarms,
Of which I finally purchased this year instead of loaning from my friends and guess what , every mare foaled in the morning or early evening so they went of in the house but we were already with the mares.
I would like to take this opertunity to thank my girls for being so considerate hehehe.
Beks:))
 

Small Talk

New Member
Re: Foaling monitors

Thank you Therio! I have been so unsure about which way to go I have probably left it too late, but does anyone know where I can hire a FOALING ALARM from here in Perth! My miniature mare is due in about a week and being our first baby, we really want to be able to take a peek and make sure everything is progressing well! I'm sure lots of people have them sitting in their tack rooms not being used, but I am yet to track one down.
 

silversiskan

New Member
Thank you Therio! I have been so unsure about which way to go I have probably left it too late, but does anyone know where I can hire a FOALING ALARM from here in Perth! My miniature mare is due in about a week and being our first baby, we really want to be able to take a peek and make sure everything is progressing well! I'm sure lots of people have them sitting in their tack rooms not being used, but I am yet to track one down.

It is probably a bit late for this season, but you can hire them from Magic Breed in QLD or Foalguard in VIC. They will send them out to you express post, so they get to you pretty quickly.

I have a Foalguard Alarm, along with a Foalguard Milk Test Kit and also the essential rechargable lantern and a headlamp. I also have a foaling kit with the gloves, lube, soap, buckets, towels, iodine etc etc etc and the very last thing just in case I ever need it is a foal rescusitator.

I think I have it all covered and hope I never need to use it all.:)
 

Small Talk

New Member
Foaling monitors

Thanks Silversiskan,
Guess what....we have a gorgeous little foal, arrived within three minutes of the mare showing signs by touching her sides, side to side. Just got her into the stable and she lay down contracting and out he came!!!! Just had to tear the bag off, sterilize the umbilical cord and rub him down, but all went perfectly!

In the meantime my clever son built me a foaling monitor which works like a dream, so may even go into manufacture.......and also installed infrared camera in stable which was fantastic to view from the house both before and after the foal was born, just to keep an eye on them. Next foal due 2nd Feb.....hope it goes as well as this one.:))
 

Siren

Well-known Member
Foaling monitors....
I was reading a very old breeding book, the author was describing what we could call a very early but very acurate foaling monitor, it made me laugh!

A large stud in Germany, mare would be in a stall wearing a roller with a rope attached that was fed up over the roof beams and down into the neighboring stall were it was tied to a camp bed.
The attendant would sleep on the camp bed and when the mare laid down , the bed would be hoisted into the air dumping the sleeping attendant on the floor!!!!

No one would sleep through that one- LOL:D

GENIUS! that would be a very good idea to wake up those people that seem to have trouble with normal alarm clocks ;)
 

celestialdancer

Gold Member
-puts hand in air-
i'm the type who sleep through normal alarm clocks.
if i go into breeding.
i'll be a nightmare.
i'm going to need an alarm clock that jabs me in the ribs to wake me :eek:
 

silversiskan

New Member
Thanks Silversiskan,
Guess what....we have a gorgeous little foal, arrived within three minutes of the mare showing signs by touching her sides, side to side. Just got her into the stable and she lay down contracting and out he came!!!! Just had to tear the bag off, sterilize the umbilical cord and rub him down, but all went perfectly!

In the meantime my clever son built me a foaling monitor which works like a dream, so may even go into manufacture.......and also installed infrared camera in stable which was fantastic to view from the house both before and after the foal was born, just to keep an eye on them. Next foal due 2nd Feb.....hope it goes as well as this one.

Congratulations, glad to hear it all went well.

My mare is showing signs of early labour, but has been doing this for the past few days now. Nothing about this mare has been normal.

Her milk tests also reveal that she should have had the foal by the time I went to make myself a cup of coffee :) that result started 3 days ago. I guess my mare is in the 3% of mares that give false readings with the test kits.

Just as well I have an alarm and I am not still waiting for that cup of Coffee or I would be having severe withdrawals by now (LOL).

All I can do is keep watching her and hope for the best.

Good luck with your next mare.
 
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