THE FOALS HOOVES AT BIRTH
The foals hooves at birth
The foals hooves at birth are very weird and alien looking, but there is a reason for all of what mother nature does. The mare is usually pregnant for a term of 11 months or 335 -342 days. When the foal is born it is a beautiful sight to behold. The new life that is being brought into this world is a marvel of nature for all of us.
The foals hooves have finger-like projections protruding from the bottom of their hooves when born. They are given the nickname fairy slippers, fairy fingers or Golden Slippers due to the way they look. There will be some people who will be disgusted by this, but it is nature, There is a reason for the foal to be born like this and it is to protect the Dams birth canal from the possible tearing from the foal’s hooves. These hooves of the foals are covered with a soft sponge-like layer, called Eponychium or a hoof capsule.
What is this Capsule?
The foals hoof capsule is a deciduous, rubbery layer that covers the sharp edges of the foals hoof while it is in the mother’s womb and to protect it during the birthing process. This capsule develops late in the mare’s pregnancy and disappears quickly after birth when the foal takes its first steps. This layer is squishy to the touch and makes it easier for the foal to shed after birth.
How is it removed?
The foals hooves shed this layer shortly after birth to move quickly to safety from predators. Predators are attracted to the smell of the placenta after birth. This usually means the mother and foal can be in danger and have a limited amount of time to get safely back to the herd.
foals hooves need to be treated after birth as well as the umbilical cord so no bacteria can find its way into the foal this is recommended as a standard practice in our barns, but not likely in the wild. mother nature always has a reason and function to its weird and wonderful madness.