Hormone Induced Lactation Mares.
What does that mean? It means less nurse mare foals are created, it means older broodmares can have a new job, it means there is no need to get a nurse mare pregnant and it means that there are two less unwanted horses.
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
OK, it is really easy to understand, it just has a big name.
Basically, the HIL farms find suitable older broodmares (mares that have previously foaled successfully, are good mothers and good milk producers) that are no longer in useable for breeding.
These mare that would have been forgotten or sent to slaughter are given hormones for a few weeks to make their milk come back in.
When the TB valuable foal needs to nurse another mare while his dam is far away being rebred, all the TB farms need to do is bring in an HIL mare and Voila! Instant New Milk Mother.
–Minimal stress on the TB baby, minimal stress on the older broodmare and two less horses in the slaughter pipeline (the forgotten older broodmare and the unwanted nurse mare foal that wasn’t created by using a nurse mare!).
THEY DO IT IN EUROPE
This is not uncommon in Europe. They have organized HIL farms that have mares available at all times. These mares don’t only help the TB farms, they also help any foal who has lost his mother or is orphaned for any reason.
How often have you read posts on FB, or any other equine thread, where a farm is desperately looking for a nurse mare? Often.
And, the HIL milk is very good. There is no degradation just because it was created through hormones. In fact, in England, the 2004 champion female foal of the French Warmblood Studbook was an adopted foal still nursing her HIL mare milk mother.
Here is a link to an article written about HIL mares called, Induction of Lactation and Adoption of the Orphan Foal
Peter F. Daels, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACT, Diplomate ECAR. It was presented in Rome in 2006.
BUT IT IS UNFAIR TO GIVE THEM HORMONES…(is it?)
Here is my personal opinion about that. I figure it is much better to give a mare hormones for a few weeks and then give her a foal to wander large pastures to graze together instead of being sent to slaughter or left unattended in a field. All the HIL mare has to do is deal with hormones for a few weeks and then she gets to live the life of Riley with a fancy TB baby on a fancy TB farm.
Kindof a no-brainer.
And, all of you show homes certainly know that many, many mares are on Regu-mate for the entire show season. Regu-mate = hormones.
AFTER THE FOAL STARTS NURSING, NO HORMONES NEEDED EVER AGAIN
Once the new foal latches onto his new HIL milk mother, there is no more need for hormones. As long as a foal is nursing, there will be milk.
LIFE OF LUXURY
The HIL mares are leased from the HIL farm to the TB farms who have the very valuable foals. Contracts are signed and then the HIL mare has the lovely ‘governess’ job of educating and nursing the valuable foal in the lifestyle his birthmother has provided.
WHAT TYPE OF MARE IS NEEDED?
The beauty of this program is that the older, proven mares are the best. Nice temperament, good milk, good mother… And, those are easy to find since been-there-done-that broodmares are often cast off once they are too old to safely foal.
Every HIL mare in this country so far, has been donated. The previous owners want their broodmares to continue with a good life…
I know that many of you wonder if an HIL mare could produce colostrum. Nope. They haven’t figured that out yet.
For TB farm foals, this doesn’t matter since the foals had colostrum from their TB birthmothers. But, for orphan foals, owners will need to provide colostrum and then attach the foal to the HIL mare.
HUGE NEWS AND ANOTHER REASON TO DONATE TO OUR APRIL BUCKET FUND!
Our Bucket Fund charity this month DETC (Dream Equine Therapy Center) has an HIL program! DETC is introducing their program for the 2012 foal season and hope to secure a facility in Kentucky to expand their operations. Imagine introducing this idea to all of the TB farms in Kentucky… not easy.
Luckily, DETC is good friends with Dr. Joe Lyman DVM who has had tremendous success with HIL mares at the Lexington Standardbred nursery called Walnut Hall.
Dr. Lyman is assisting DETC in creating a HIL program modeled after his own.
Good. Having the best plan possible can only help…
MEET THE HIL MARES FROM DETC (Our April Bucket Fund Charity who saved all the Nurse Mare Foals)
Here are the flagship mares for the new HIL program at DETC. These mares were picked for their suitability.
Foaled in MD, birthdate 2/23/91
23 starts, 1-1st, 2-2nds, 4-thirds
Total earnings $12,790
Sire: Conquistador Cielo, (pedigree includes, Mr. prospector and Bold Ruler)
2) Fair Kris
Foaled in NY, birthdate 4/14/91
Sire: Kris S (pedigree includes Bold Ruler and Native Dancer)
18 starts, 2-1sts, 2-2nds, 3-thirds
Total earnings $82,625
3) Dear Lou Lou
Foaled in KY, birthdate 5/28/98
Sire: Mr. Baileys (Bold ruler and Native Dancer in pedigree)
19 total starts, 4-1sts, 4-2nds, 6-3rds,
earnings total $153,208
4) Palm Beach Dewey
Foaled in NY, Birthdate, 5/8/90
38 starts, 8-1sts, 3-2nds, 10-thirds
Total earnings $151,850
BLESSED ARE THE BROODMARES!! Wonderful how these gals are given a new life!
You cannot imagine the length of the list of owners who wanted their nice broodmares to land in the HIL program at DETC… All the mares were donated for the fine price of ‘peace of mind’ that these mares would have a wonderful, full life.
If you fancy one of these older mares, please feel free to donate to the Nurse Mare Foal Bucket Fund to help support them – they all live at the same place. Or, if you’d like to go deeper and sponsor a mare for a month or two, please go to the DETC website and let them know!
BACK TO THE NURSE MARE FOALS – FOAL LAC PELLETS
We are not near our goal for the Bucket Fund this month and that’s OK… But, I wanted to let you know how much it costs to care for 15 babies. I wanted to show you that Foal Lac products are not cheap. It costs hundreds a day to keep all these little bellies full of nutrients.
LET’S SHOW OUR APPRECIATION FOR DETC AND ALL THEY ARE DOING FOR THE NURSE MARE FOALS!
Not only are they housing and adopting the slaughterbound nurse mare foals, but they are spearheading a program to introduce the concept of HIL mares into TB Kentucky. I’m sure you know that introducing anything new is always a struggle. But, they are willing to do the work because of their love for all the discarded foals and broodmares. Remember, the Bucket Fund doesn’t care how small the donation… they add up fast when dropped into a Bucket!
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
where do the hormones come from that induce the mare to lactate?
I’m glad this will end the nurse baby situation. I’m delighted that we can make the older broodmares useful again but I hope this does not lead to a glut of breeding. People have to remember that not every foal born to a winner will do the same as its parents. Sometimes what makes something special is because there is only one of them.
Still no foal for Glory. I hope she’ll be okay with such an obviously big baby. And great new pix of Faith and son on their blog. Sad they had to help little Justin cross over, but they honored his perfect spirit by freeing it from an imperfect vessel.