Is your horse expectant and due to foal anytime? If so, you may have contacted your vet for assistance that you may need during foaling. But in case your vet is not around to attend your mare’s foaling, you still can assist it with simple tips you may have learned before.
However, the truth is, whenever any domesticated animal is due to deliver, their owners are always worried for understandable reasons. You may be worried about whether the foal will come out alive and at the correct size and weight.
But how much does a horse weigh at birth? knowing the normal weight of a horse at birth will help you to know whether the foal born is healthy or needs some boosting.
Normal Weight at Birth
Generally, horses are large animals whose weight varies from one breed to the other. The average weight of an adult horse is somewhere between 800 to 2,000 pounds depending on the age, breed, and height. With such a large animal, you may wonder: how much does a baby horse weigh?
While it is important to regularly measure the weight of a foal to track their progress and growth, it is necessary to take its weight at birth. When foals are born, they take approximately one hour to stand up and a few more hours to begin running around.
No matter the breed, baby horses weigh about 10% of the weight of their mothers at birth. This means that if mare weighs 1,000 pounds, it will give birth to a foal weighing about 100 pounds while a 2,000-pound mare will give birth to a 200-pound baby.
Even if the horse is bred to a smaller or larger stallion, the weight of the baby horse will still be 10% of the mother’s weight. The weight of the foal will still remain 10% of that of the mother even if the father is bigger or smaller than the mother.
Generally, the gestation period of a horse is about 11 months. Foals born before 11 months tend to be smaller than those born after the last day of the 11th month. Also, those born of first-time mares are usually smaller than those born of experienced mares.
Low Birth Weight
Foals who weigh less than 10% of the mother’s weight are likely premature or have birth defects that need to be investigated. In this case, you need to call the vet immediately.
A premature foal has difficulty in standing or walking. Apart from difficulty in walking, a premature foal also has a sloppy ears and silky hair. The weight of a baby horse makes a big difference in their eventual survival.
Like humans, placenta plays an important role in horses. However, once your horse gives birth you should ensure that it expels placenta. If the placenta is retained, the mare may get infection or die. Placenta is often expelled within one hour of foal’s birth.
If it is not expelled within three hours, seek the help of your vet. Do not remove it manually. Once removed, ensure that no part of the placenta has been retained. You can also use placenta to estimate the weight of your new born foal. The weight of the placenta is about 11% that of the foal at birth.
Horses are discouraged from having twins because their uterus are designed to carry just one foal. If you realize that your mare is pregnant with twin embryos, your vet can help you get rid of one so that the healthy one can survive. Otherwise, the mare will experience late-term abortion.
However, if the twins survive, they will be delivered with low birth weight eventually die. At best, only one of the two foals may survive.
How to Measure the Weight of a Foal
If you do not know the weight of the mare giving birth and you are still wondering: how much does a horse weigh at birth? You need not worry because there are several ways of measuring foal’s weight.
However, because of the sizes of these foals vary, accurately measuring their weight can be a great challenge. The scale is the most accurate way of measuring the weight of your foal. Getting the foal onto the scale may be a difficult task, leading to an inaccurate reading.
If you are having trouble getting the foal on the scale, you can pick it up and weigh yourself on the scale while carrying it. You will then subtract your weight from the total weight to get the weight of the foal.
If you do not have a scale or you are finding it difficult to hold the foal onto a scale, there are other methods that you can use to find its weight. There are formulas that you can use if you still want to know: how much does a baby horse weigh?
Using Heart Girth to Determine the Weight
For foals between one week and one month old, you can use heart girth to calculate their weight. Heart girth is a principle of calculation of the weight of a horse based on its size. In this case, you will require a special measuring tape (weight tape) that measures length in pounds or kilograms instead of inches.
First, you will run the tape around foal’s torso, just behind the withers and elbow and a few inches from the foreleg. For you to do this, you must have the baby horse as calm as possible so that it does not give you false measurements.
If you are using the ordinary measuring tape, you will still measure the heart girth but also the length of the horse from the buttocks to the shoulder. You will then use the measurements to calculate the weight of your baby horse. The formula you will use is;
(Heart girth X heart girth X body length)/330= Estimated body weight in pounds
How much does a baby horse weigh? Well, it depends on which stage of growth the foal is at. The measurements above will vary from one stage of growth to another. Between birth and two years foals are quick growers and put on an average of three pounds daily. At weaning, which is around 5-6 months, the average foal will weigh 500-600 pounds.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Q: How Much Does a Baby Horse Weigh at Birth?
10% the weight of the mother horse
2. Q: How Much Does a Baby Horse Weigh in Different Breeds?
Baby horse will weigh 10% of the mother’s weight irrespective of the breed
3. Q: How Much Should My Horse Weigh?
An adult horse weighs between 800 and 2,000 pounds depending on breed, age, and height
4. q: How Much Does a Horse Head Weigh?
On average, horse’s head weighs 10% of the total body weight
5. Q: What Is Considered Underweight in Baby Horses?
If the weight of baby horse is lower than 10% of the mother
6. Q: What Does Underweight in Foals Signify?
Either baby horse was born preterm or has birth defect
7. Q: Why Is it Important to Keep Track of Foal’s Weight?
So that you can keep track of foal’s growth, health, and nutrition
8. Q: Does the Weight of the Foal’s Father Affect the Weight of the Baby Horse?
No, only the weight of the mother horse plays a part
9. Q: How Can I Use the Weighing Scale to Measure the Weight of a Baby Horse?
By having the baby horse stand on the weighing scale or carrying the foal and standing with it on the scale then subtracting your weight from the total weight
10. Q: What Is Heart Girth and How Is it Measured?
Heart girth is a principle of calculating the weight of a horse based on its size using a measuring or weight tape
11. Q: How Can I Use Heart Girth to Calculate the Weight of a Baby Horse?
Have the baby horse in a calm position then measures length in pounds or kilograms instead of inches around foal’s torso
12. Q: Can I Use an Ordinary Measuring Tape to Measure the Weight of a Baby Horse?
Yes, measure the heart girth and body length then use this formula: (Use the formula; heart girth X heart girth X body length)
13. Q: Can I Use Placenta to Estimate the Weight of New Born Foal?
Yes, placenta weighs approximately 11% the weight of new born foal
14. Q: What Is the Best Thing to Do If Your Mare Has Twin Embryos?
Report it to your vet so that he can help you get rid of one embryo
Knowing the weight of your foal will help you keep track of its growth, health, and nutrition. Generally, the weight of a foal at birth is 10% that of the mother. However, it will start gaining weight very fast as it grows.
It is important for you to tick all the boxes at birth including how much does the horse weighs at birth? If you want to track the foal’s growth. Some of the means of measuring the weight of a baby horse are using a measuring scale or heart girth to calculate the weight.