I’m writing this at almost 2:00 in the morning, standing outside and looking at our new colt. Hannah finally had her baby, at about 9:30 last night, and it was no free ride – the vet had to be called in to “tow” the baby out with special chains that, believe it or not, are intended for precisely that purpose. Hannah was in quite a bit of pain, and was trembling for some time after delivering her first baby. Like I said, he’s a baby boy, and quite a determined young buck too – he stood up on his own and walked around within half an hour of coming into the world. Right now I’m patiently waiting to see if Hannah is going to let the little guy nurse within 6 hours, which is vital. The colt seems to be approaching her with that intention, but she isn’t letting him get in there just yet; it wouldn’t be completely unprecedented for her to reject him, as his birth caused her a lot of pain.
Hannah goes down to the ground.
This is dad. Not breaking out the cigars yet.
Hannah glances over at the camera while waiting for the “towing service.”
It’s a breathing baby boy!
He’s a light brown color (which will probably turn grey at some point) with a wide white blaze down the center of his face that, instead of tapering off between his nostrils, veers over to cover his left nostril and leaves his right nostril brown. I’ll have some video up later, but just be warned that it’s not for the faint of heart. A mare can drag her afterbirth around from her backside for a couple of hours before she finally has enough contractions to eject it naturally. So…it was a bit messy this time. You’ll have to excuse the nightvision stuff too. It was late.
Relaxing with the little guy. They’re both exhausted.
Checking on junior.
I’ve taken to calling Hannah’s son “Hannah Solo” since he’s so adventurous; moments after my wife left to go home and get food and drinks (leaving me at the barn with the horses, on foot with a flashlight and a camcorder), I found that the colt had squeezed out under one of the fence panels and gone exploring in the main “alleyway” of the barn. It was quite a task trying to corral him back into the big stall where his mother is! He doesn’t know “whoa,” or “move,” or “no,” or anything else that the adults have picked up just from repeat exposure. Hannah Solo he may be, but he’s more Chewie in personality.
I’ll have more later. It’s time to try to force the nursing issue.
It took a little bit of effort, and another late-night vet call, but the baby has had his all-important first 5-or-so ounces of mother’s milk; this basically involved cornering mom and milking her more or less like a cow, by hand, and then giving the results to him in a baby bottle. (I just got to be a spectator for this process – I really felt more like I was in the way anyway, so I stood off to one side with my camera rolling and just kept my mouth shut while everyone’s tone of voice seemed to spell out the message “What are you doing up here if you can’t be more helpful? You’re an idiot.” Or, for anyone who’s been watching the second season of the new Doctor Who, I’m the tin dog.)
Anyway, once mother’s milk hit the baby’s stomach, he laid down to sleep. He’s still clumsy on his feet, and where some of these kids figure out how to stand up and lay down like finely oiled machines, a newborn colt seems to favor the ungainly belly flop way of laying down.
Hail to the king baby.
This also happens to be the first baby from a stallion who’s been with us at the farm for about a year now, so everyone’s eager to see how he turns out. “Dad”‘s stall is across from Hannah’s, and he’s gotten to see his son up close when he got loose. The stallion has been uncharacteristically quiet since then. Like I said to him when we got here at almost 9pm last night, “Your fault!”
Belly: full. At last.
I’ve sat here to watch the sun rise with a new little friend whose eyes have never seen the sun before (he was born by truck headlights). The colt has been up and down since the birds started singing in earnest, but he hasn’t even tried to approach Hannah again to nurse; her attempts to dissuade him from doing that earlier tonight may leave us with some damage control. Hopefully both he and Hannah can start doing what should come naturally today. In natural sunlight, he’s a nice rich brown – still with that asymmetrical stripe down his face, and with some fairly unique markings on his legs, including one white “sock” and an unusual white patch inside his right rear knee.
The vet’s back, and the baby has finally nursed, though this has meant backing Hannah into a corner and keeping her immobile while the baby figures out what the equipment underneath his mom is for. That she still hasn’t willingly let him nurse yet is a big problem; it could mean we get to go out there and bottle-feed him every couple of hours. And yet, she doesn’t completely hate the little guy – she’s very protective of him, and very solicitous of his welfare. We’re hearing that it may take a day or three for things to normalize – assuming they do. We’re finally on the way home. Hopefully we can sleep like this little guy did.
Babies petting babies! My niece welcomes her newest horsie friend into the world.