Today we are going to talk a bit about udder development and how certain signs can give us clues to impending foaling.
I have posted two photos, the first taken 5 days ago and the second this evening.
In the first photo, the udder appears full and ready but when you view the second photo you can see the teats have changed. In the first photo the teats are clearly defined but in the second photo it is hard to tell where the bag stops and the teats start. The teats usually fill 4 to 6 days prior to foaling.
Some more obvious signs related to the udder are wax which usually appears 2 to 4 days prior to foaling, dripping of colostrum 24 to 48 hours prior to foaling and the udder will lose that dry look and become black and shiney with almost an appearance of being wet (unless its a pink or mottled skinned horse).
Don't forget, if you don't see some of these signs such as wax it could just be that perhaps the wax has fallen off so it is always a good idea to look and feel down the mares hind legs to check for possible dripping.
The information contained in all of my blog posts are based mostly on personal experiences with my own mares. Each mare will usually follow a pattern of behaviour and 'tells' of her own that will repeat itself in subsequent pregnancies. There will always be that 'TRICKY' mare that will change it up and throw you for a loop...all I can say is watch and learn. Record information from the mare for the next pregnancy so you have a reference. Some mares will go through all the signs like clock work and some just don't read the book at all!