Many breeders like to use milk test strips in addition to a foaling alarm and camera system. The use of ION test strips to predict parturition was brought to the forefront in 1984 by British researchers. Since this practical method of calculating calcium and magnesium percentage in mares' milk was introduced, breeders have had the opportunity to reduce "sitting-up" time during the foaling season.
SOFCHEK, a "dip and read" strip for water-hardness testing, was recently found to indicate calcium content in mares' pre-foaling mammary secretions. The day of parturition can be anticipated by monitoring color changes throughout the strip's 5 zones.
The SOFCHEK strips
were first tested in induction studies at Fern Leigh Equine Research Facility.
Beginning 2 to 3 weeks before expected parturition strips were dipped daily into
1 ml samples of mammary secretions from 24 mares. By comparing each strip to the
color-coded chart on the package label, calcium content could be determined when
the strip's fourth color matched. A total of 85 percent of the mares foaled
within 36 hours or less. A company spokesman advises that while no technical
background is needed, precise readings of the strip are important to predict
parturition accurately. 50 strips per package.
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