Maternal behaviour of mares and the condition of foals after parturition
Eighteen purebred Arabian mares and six Anglo-Arabian mares were observed during first 4 h after foaling in one of the leading Polish stud farms in two foaling seasons. The aim of the research was to analyse the behaviour of mares and the condition of foals after parturition. Specific behavioural responses like licking, nuzzling, and touching a foal were identified as interactive activities supporting the process of creating the bond between the mare and the foal. The maternal behaviours started immediately after parturition and reached the biggest frequency in the first hour after foaling. The time spent by the mares on standing, resting, and eating has also been measured. The results of observations were compared in reference to mares' breeds and statuses. Aggressive maternal behaviour, both normal and abnormal (perceived as aberration) was noticed. Foal's condition after parturition was assessed on the basis of the first standing up, colostrum nursing, and meconium passing. On average, the foals made attempts to stand up in the 21st min after birth, and the first self-reliant getting up occurred in the 85th min. The share of time spent by the foals in the upright position increased with even hour. Furthermore, the time of the first colostrum nursing was associated with the first standing up. The duration of gestation influenced foals' colostrum nursing and meconium passing.
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