We offer Live Cover for our stallions at Double Creek Farm. Below are some guidelines for bringing your mare to the farm to breed.
What does your mare need before coming to the farm? We are a breeding and foaling facility, so for the protection of our new babies and broodmares, we are now requiring mares to be vaccinated within 60 days of coming to the farm, with 4n1 :(Rhinopneuminitis/EEE/WEE/Tetanus) this protects your mare while visiting and also ensures the safety of our new babies and our own herd.
If your mare is registered, we will need a copy of her registration papers and she will need to be in your name, to add her to the "stallion breeding report" filed at the end of the year.
Mares coming to the farm that have never been bred, or have not had a foal in the current year, need to be cultured. A mare will need to be in heat or just going out to get a good culture. A culture is done to see if there is any bacteria in the uterus that would prevent pregnancy, or contaminate the stallion. They need to be in heat or just going out because the cervix is tight and closed when the mare is not in heat. The culture can be done at the farm, or your vet can culture your mare before you bring her to us. This makes sure she not only is clean for the stallion, but also to make sure that she doesn't have something that would cause the pregnancy to not be successful. Even though it is an expense(ranges from $60 to $100) it also prepares you to have the best outcome with the least amount of expenses incurred. If your mare is "dirty", treatment of antibiotics are administered depending on what bacteria the culture revealed, and the mare is treated and then re-cultured to make sure they are now "clean" and ready to breed. If you breed a mare that is "dirty", sometimes they will get in foal then lose the pregnancy, sometimes it will prevent them from getting in foal. A mare that aborted/absorbed or had a difficult time after foaling will likely need to be cultured. Maiden(mares that have not been bred) typically are clean, but even being pastured with geldings will cause the mare to be dirty.
Do I need to know when my mare is in heat to come? You can bring your mare to the farm without knowing where she is in her heat cycle, we will get our vet to ultrasound her (roughly $40 with no sedation) so we know what she is "doing" and the timeline we are looking at. Mares cycle every 21 days, typically, but there are some seasonal variations and interruptions throughout the season that can make prediction on stallion response alone inconclusive. With the vet checking her when she arrives, it will tell us that she A) just went out, and will come back in naturally in roughly 11-14 days - or can be brought back in chemically (5 days after ovulation) or B) she is getting ready to come in but is not in yet(in which breeding at this time would be uneventful or C) she is ready to breed now or very soon... some mares respond naturally to the stallion and "tease" while others have little to no response, or are even defensive towards the stallion.
How does the Breeding Process Work? We tease with a teaser and also with the stallion. Some mares will respond to the tease pony but not the stallion, and vice versa. Some mares will not respond at all until the stallion is in direct contact with them (which, if they are ready is fine, but if they are not ready, can be dangerous). So, the vet doing the initial check gives us an idea as to the timing and guide to what we need to be doing.
Once the mare is checked and we know where she is in her cycle, it gives us the best plan to start the breeding process and obtain the "cover"(stallion breeding the mare successfully) at the end of her cycle, just before she ovulates. Our stallions have been tested with motility(mobile sperm and longevity) at 72 hours... we have a 98% success rate on on farm mares.
How do we know our mare is in foal? You can expect your mare to breed for a few days to a week, we breed every other day once they are in heat. The mare should naturally go out in about a week, and stop responding to the stallion. An ultrasound is done at 16 days after the last breeding to determine pregnancy and the make sure there is no chance of twin pregnancy.
When can my mare come home? She can go home at the end of the last cover (when she's out) BUT if she turns out to not be in foal, she will then be coming back into heat and will need to come back to the farm for round two... so some people opt to leave the mare another 2 weeks after breeding, have them confirmed in foal, then go home knowing they can stay home.
What does it cost for my mare to come to your farm? "Mare Care" is the charge of board for your mares' stay at the farm. It includes teasing, breeding, and additional care other than regular board. We charge $10/day if you bring your own grain(the reason why is some people do not like to change for a short period of time) or $12/day if you use our full board (our grain).
I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have.
Ralena Smith at 336-374-0296 or Dblcreekfarm@aol.com