I Don’t Always…

…drive around with horse milk in a syringe in my car, but yesterday was an exception.

I FINALLY bought the pH/calcium test strips to test Paige’s milk the other day, then I promptly got to the barn and realized that I had nothing in which to mix the milk and no distilled water with which to mix it. I swear I have a weird sort of pregnancy brain…moreso than Paige it seems. All she ever wants is anything remotely edible hay and out of her stall.

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Belly is tucked up more. 630 this morning.

So I checked on her yesterday after lunch and she was desperately pleading to go out in the field. Her udder (and the contents!) have developed a lot over the last 24 hours. Her vulva isn’t really keeping up with the rush that her udder is demonstrating, so I went ahead and let her out yesterday. I got back to the barn after work around 6pm ready to do some milk testing! So, naturally, I then realized that I’d (ONCE AGAIN) forgotten the distilled water. I really didn’t think the organizing of the components would be the hardest thing about this experiment. I was obviously wrong.

So A (NJ) wanted me to go back to town to get water since Paige is progressing so quickly. I then had the idea to just take the milk home with me and get water on the way home. So that’s what I did.

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MALK. 

So once I went to the grocery store (the second time since getting off work…) I returned home with a syringe of milk, a gallon of distilled water, and performance anxiety about trying to science.

The hardest part was behind me (organizing on limited brain capacity…) and this was pretty simple. Luckily A (local) had left a random 12ml syringe at my house so I used the case from it to mix my water and milk. The first strip I used 6cc of water to 1cc of milk. The fluid didn’t fill A’s actually syringe enough to dip the pH bit of the strip in all the way, so I was unsure of whether or not to trust the results.

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For baby time, we want over 500 on Calcium (top purple) and as low as possible for pH (orange, fourth down). Eek! So closer to right on top purple and left on 4th orange.

Since Paige is a generous soul and gave me 4cc of milk I decided to use 2 cc of milk to 12cc of water so I’d have enough to thoroughly dip my little test strip in. This time the strip had plenty of fluid to be dipped in and the results were identical to the first strip…basically (from my best understanding and that of A in NJ and the stallion owner) it looks like the strip says 24 hours or so to go! Cue the panic.

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Consistent. And yes, I used shot glasses…

I’d like to point out that last night it was around 22 degrees. Really Paige? So A asked if the stall was bedded down with straw, to which I replied “of course not.” So around 10:30 last night, I drove back to the barn…oh how I miss living on the farm…and spread some straw around in the stall. Being the hippo that she is, Paige immediately started trying to suck down the straw despite that there was TONS of orchard grass still in there for her.

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I mean…that’s a giant pile of wonderful hay…

She seemed to lose interest in the straw while I was braiding her tail and seemed to like the attention. I scratched her chest some and she was super demonstrative with how wonderful it felt. For a horse that’s typically very stoic, that was bizarre.

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I grabbed her a giant armful of the alfalfa mix to keep her lips off of the straw and she dove into that head first, which was a relief as I was paranoid she’d make a career out of eating the straw.

Her milk and udder continued to change throughout the night. I left the barn a little after 11pm, returned at 330am, returned again at 630am and gave her more alfalfa. Here are some pictures of her udder development:

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Yesterday, 230pm

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This morning, 330am. Wrinkles are disappearing!

Despite what you may think, I was thrilled that she didn’t have the baby last night. It was COLD. I bred her to foal in April thinking the weather would be nicer…Legs had her baby in mid January and it was 51 degrees. What the heck?

Of course, just because she’s giving us signals that she may foal soon doesn’t mean that she will…and under the same concept, just because she’s not giving us the other signals doesn’t mean she won’t randomly push this baby out when we aren’t expecting it. Mares you guys.

Hopefully this post makes sense…if not, blame the lack of sleep or the baby horse brain that is rapidly making me lose my mind. If you’re interested in a more well put together explanation of the milk testing, see here or here. If you want to call me crazy and roll your eyes at me, you’re more than welcome to do that as well…I won’t notice as I’m over here propping my sleepy self up with my chai mug. 😉

14 thoughts on “I Don’t Always…

  1. haha loved this! Bummer you have to drive out there to check on her, but better to be safe and get to see as much as you can! It is not every day our mares get to have babies! Just waiting over here with baited breath…

  2. Okay, OKay… I’m embarrassed to ask, but I know very little about this. DID YOU MILK YOUR MARE?!

  3. I did my tests using only 1cc of ‘milk’ from my mare because my vet warned me that I would be depleting colostrum otherwise. Granted I only tested once.
    Also, why is getting the items to preform the test so difficult?! It took me 2 weeks to get my act together lol.
    She looks like she’s getting ready for a baby soon! I heard they will bag for a week or two prior to their vulva enlarging. I can’t really say because my mare did not follow the proper milestones. 🙂

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