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Saving Ollie: a foster foal success story

Ollie (two days old) and Rachel

The following true account is of an Orphan foal sucessfully reared by Rachel Bisset of Timaru. Rachel's mum took over the feeding regime while Rachel was at work. The extrordinary love and attention bestowed on 'Ollie' helped to bring him through a series of crisis. He is now growing to be an impressive fellow with character.

Prior to raising 'Ollie' by hand Rachel told me that this was a whole new experience and that she had not even raised a pet lamb in the past! With the help of the local NRM representive Peter Anderson who freely offered advice,support and product to help 'Ollie' survive this story tells of the challenges of raising and orphan.

The Temuka Vets also worked above the call of duty and were most helpful. They kept dropping in to see how things were progressing and their prices were most reasonable.

They requested that Rachel write a summary of events so that others may be entertained and learn.

Ollie was born in the early hours of Tuesday 6th Feb.

People who were working in the next paddock thought that Ollie was in trouble with the other horses in the paddock. Because they were intrigued by the foal, the people thought they were hounding the mare.

They picked up the foal and took it up to the yard alone before the mare had time to bond with her foal.

The mare was taken up to the yard later on but she had lost his scentand mothering instinct and became quite agressive towards her foal. All efforts failed to unite the pair so we got the Temuka Vets out to calm the mare down by tranqulizing her twice. The drugs proved ineffective as she was so distraught.

Ollie at four days old.
She continued to attack the foal so that it wasn't safe for him to be with his mother.

We had to rope the mare and throw her down to milk the colostrum out. (she had never been handled before she is 3yrs old) we got about 15mls out and just stuck it in Ollies mouth by hand.

Next day I put Ollie in the back seat of my car and brought him home.

I gave him a tetanus injection and started feeding him 250mls-300mls every 2 hours 'Anlamb' with dextose, also first 2 feeds powdered colostrum.

By the 3rd day Ollie still hadnt had bowel movment Temuka vets came out and gave Ollie an enema, penicillin and vitamin injections.

For the next day or two Ollie was very dehydrated and started to scour. He was sick for the first week, until Peter Anderson from 'NRM' came out and gave him some 'Biopect' for the scours, and he has never looked back since then, no scours.

Have been adding Hokosan once daily to his feeds (5mls) also every now and then added a egg yolk to his milk.

2nd Week was drinking up to 1000mls every 2-3hrs.

Advertised for a buddy for Ollie on the 10th Jan The Timaru Herald had a great picture of Ollie on the front page got heaps of replies, people were really great offering support and animals, I ended up getting a mare who was a known foal stealer.

Ollie at two weeks.
She has been great, when Ollie was sickly and just lying there sleeping the mare would stand over him, she wouldn't let Ollie out of her sight, and at night she would stand at the stable keeping a good eye on him.

Ollie however had other plans and didn't want anything to do with her, he was very scared of her. Now the mare dosent spend much time with Ollie but she still keeps a watchful eye on him and gives him a wee telling off when Ollie gets a bit full of himself.

Ollie and his goat friend.
Also another friend of Ollie's is a 7mth old goat they sleep and play together, great buddies, but Ollies is getting a wee bit big for the goat and he is finding how his back legs work.

He is so full of enery now we have to be careful when we go into the same paddock with him he thinks he can jump up on you and play, he has grown so much, tripled is size. When he gets a bit naughty I raise my arms and growl and chase him away and I keep chasing so he dosent think it's a game.

Ollie looking a picture at five weeks of age.
3rd week drinking 1500mls every 3 hours Started nibbling on 'NRM Asset' hard food from NRM that Peter kindly gave me.

4th week drinking 2000mls every 3-4 hours.

5th week drinking 2750mls every 4 hours started adding 2mls a day of Tracemol.

So far have spent $1300 on milk powder alone; $210 on Vets and about $150 on extras.

May 18: (email from Rachel)

Thought I'd write to let you know Ollie is doing well, We have gradually increased the milk to 4ltrs 4 times a day and kept this up until 11 weeks old.

At 13 weeks we started to reduce the milk supply and at present he is getting a total of five lts per day in three feeds.

The hard feed we have introduced him to is three parts of chaff, one part lucerne hay and one part NRM horse mix.

Think he's going to be a rather large horse, took him for a walk to the neighbours who has owned horses all his life and is into breeding race horses and he was very impressed with him said you couldn't fault him in anyway, so that was good to hear.

Ollie still thinks he's the most important thing that walks this earth, very grumpy towards the wee pony, always chases him kicks and bites, feel sorry for the pony sometimes.

Rachel's experience outlines the rigorous regime one must follow to raise an orphan. Those well-meaning onlookers were acting out of concern but in their ignorance denied the mare her foal and made Ollies and Rachel's family life very challenging and financially stressful.

Rachel told me the mare was 'head mare' of that particular herd so was well capable of fending off other horses given time.

I wish to show extra appreciation to Peter Anderson of NRM for his time and efforts freely given to assist Rachel and Ollie. The Biopect given for scours may have saved Ollie's life as he was becomming increasingly dehydrated in 30 degree plus summer heat. Thankyou Peter.

Any person wishing to contact Peter Anderson of NRM regarding the products used by Rachel and Ollie may contact him by e-mailing



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