There’s something that has always puzzled horse owners and enthusiasts alike: why do mares steal foals?
Recently I was stumbling watching horse videos on YouTube when I found one that really caught my eye. It was a video of a mare stealing a foal from another horse.
The whole thing looked so strange to me, and I couldn’t help but wonder why the mare would do such a thing.
So, I started to do some research on horse mothering behavior, and I discovered that mares stealing foals is actually pretty common not as much common as in other species but still it happens.
There are a number of possible reasons why a horse might steal a foal, but the root cause is usually something behavioral.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why mares steal foals and what horse owners can do to prevent it.
Why do some mares steal other mares’ foals? (5 Reasons)
One of the most common reasons mares steal foals is because they are herd animals.
Horses are social creatures that live in herds, and they have a strict hierarchy. The mare is the head of the herd, and she is responsible for the safety of all the other horses in her group.
If a mare feels like her foal is in danger, she might steal another horse’s foal in order to keep her own safe.
Another strong reason mares might also steal foals is because they are confused. If a mare has lost her own foal, she might steal another horse’s foal in order to replace her own.
This is especially common if the mare has lost her foal shortly after giving birth.
Mares might also steal foals because they are simply curious. If a mare sees a foal that she’s never seen before, she might be curious and want to investigate.
This usually isn’t a malicious act, and the mare will usually return the foal to its rightful owner once she’s done investigating.
Mares might also steal foals is that they are trying to protect their own babies. If a mare feels like her foal is being threatened, she might steal another horse’s foal in order to keep her own baby safe.
Normal mother bonding can also be the reason behind a mare stealing a foal. If a mare doesn’t have a strong bond with her own foal, she might steal another horse’s foal in order to create that bond.
The last reason, which is also the most common, is that the mares reject their foals. It can be for many reasons like, the foal doesn’t look like her, she is sick, not have enough energy to stay with the foal all the time, or there is something wrong with her.
Whatever the reason, if another mare sees a foal alone, she might be tempted to steal it.
Mare behavior during pregnancy
One of the best ways to prevent a mare from stealing a foal is to understand her behavior during pregnancy. For the most part, pregnant mares are calm and gentle creatures.
However, there are a few things that can trigger aggression in a pregnant mare.
One of the most common triggers is a lack of food. If a mare isn’t getting enough to eat, she might start showing signs of aggression. This is because she’s trying to protect her unborn foal from starvation.
Another trigger for aggression is if the mare feels like her territory is being threatened.
If another horse comes too close to the mare’s territory, she might start showing signs of aggression. This is because she’s trying to protect her newborn foal from harm.
If a mare is showing signs of aggression, it’s important to remove any potential triggers. This might mean giving the mare more food or moving her to a new pasture.
If the aggression continues, it’s important to contact a veterinarian. They will be able to help you figure out the root cause of the aggression and come up with a plan to prevent it.
Prevention and solutions
If you have a mare who is known to steal foals, there are some things you can do to prevent it from happening. One is to keep her away from other mares and foals as much as possible.
Give the routine visit to the mare and look for any behavioral changes that may signal she is about to steal a foal. Notice what is wrong and take action to correct it.
If the mare recently lost a foal, give her more time and attention. Help her through it and if possible keep the mare and the foal born from other mares separate.
Mares who have been known to steal foals in the past may need to be watched more carefully when around other mares and foals.
Mares stealing foals is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences. However, it is important to remember that mares only steal foals for a few reasons.
By understanding the reasons behind this behavior, you can take steps to prevent it from happening. If you have a mare who is known to steal foals, there are some things you can do to prevent it from happening.
With a little bit of knowledge and effort, you can keep your mare and foals safe.
Do horses commit infanticide?
Horses are not known to commit infanticide. However, there have been isolated reports of mares killing foals.
How often do mares reject foals?
Rejecting the mare’s own foal is actually quite common especially if the mare giving birth for the very first time.
And saying that percent or number of mares reject foals is not possible as there are unregistered and backyard horse owners who do not bother to take their mares and foals to the vet or horse professional for help.
But, from the horse professional standpoint, it is said that anywhere around %5 of mares will reject their foals.
Why do mares reject their foals?
There can be a few reasons why a mare might reject her foal. Maybe she is not feeling well herself and doesn’t have the energy to care for a baby.
Maybe she had a traumatic birth experience that left her feeling scared and resentful. Or maybe she just doesn’t have the maternal instincts that are necessary to bond with and care for her offspring.
Are mares protective of foals?
Mares are fiercely protective of their foals and will show aggression and do everything in their power to keep them safe. This includes keeping them away from other horses, humans, and animals.
If a mare feels her foal is in danger, she will do whatever it takes to keep him or her safe.