FEATURE FRIDAY: Gestation Tracker
We've all heard the basic rule of thumb that mares are in foal for 11 months, or 340 days. In reality, a mare's gestation length is determined by a number of variables related to the mare, her in-utero foal, and her environment. Not to mention, gestation day has much more significance than just acting as count-down to foaling.
Why track gestation day?
1. Gestation day is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of your breeding farm
A KPI is a measurable value through which businesses can evaluate their productivity. Apply that to the breeding industry, gestation day is a KPI of your broodmare band. If you don't know the status of your mares then you don't know where your investment dollars are. Foals are the product your business produces, meaning you need to be tracking their production the entire time, as your expenses don't simply occur when a foal is born.
2. Gestation length is variable
As nice as it would be to count 340 days from the day your mare was bred, the term "due date" basically means nothing. We're sure some of you have experienced mares foaling early or going a full year. While you were confused or impatient, your mare was not concerned in the slightest. Unlike you, your mare did not have a calendar up in her stall on which she was crossing off days, or deciding when she was going to try spicy foods. Gestation length is individual and determined by a number of factors, some of which are listed below.
3. Broodmare management
Once your mare is confirmed in foal, she will have a few added management practices to her routine. Pregnancy checks at regular intervals, increased nutritional requirements, important vaccines such as Pneumabort-K, deworming, and both fetal and mare health monitoring are all activities dependent on gestation day.
So, how can FoalPoint help you track your mare's gestation?
FoalPoint is a year-round management system for your broodmares. A quick look at your mare's profile will tell you all you need to know about her pregnancy. You will also be able to continue logging uterine tone, cervical tone, and edema score as indicators of how well she is maintaining her pregnancy.
With FoalPoint, you'll never have to flip through a calendar, count days, search your email, notes, or invoices for semen shipment dates or call the stud farm to ask which day your mare was bred. Once you enter an insemination date for your mare, FoalPoint will update her profile with who she was bred to and keep track of how many days she is into her pregnancy.
A neat feature of the gestation tracker on FoalPoint is that it will take the dates associated with previous foals and calculate an average gestation day for each individual mare. Do you have a mare who seems to always go 2 weeks longer than the 340 day mark? Well now that information will be stored on her profile and you can identify trends.
But wait! It gets better... FoalPoint will calculate an average gestation length for your mare depending on the sex of the foal she is carrying. Based on the information from previous years, if you tell FoalPoint that your mare is carrying a filly (or colt) after performing embryo sexing, FoalPoint will tell you her average length of gestation according to sex. This information will help you from a management perspective as to when you need to move her to a foaling stall and/or have staff on hand.
You've probably always wanted to keep a detailed record on your mare's pregnancies but it just wasn't feasible with pen and paper, or a spreadsheet. With FoalPoint, all the calculations and updates will be generated for you, record keeping takes you less time and gives you more in return. You can finally have the knowledge you've always wanted, and knowledge is power!