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Mare delivers healthy twins

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Breezy Bell beat astronomical odds April 7 and gave birth to twin foals.

Twin foals are rare for many reasons. If a mare conceives twins, one usually is larger and crowds out the smaller one, which is aborted or dies soon after birth.

Accurate statistics on twin births in horses are hard to find, but estimates range from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 500,000. Odds of both surviving are not even estimated. When two foals are born alive, one usually is much weaker and must be hand-fed around the clock.

Bell's foals are strong and healthy, both nursing on their own and wanting nothing to do with a bottle.

Twin foals typically are born with the help of a veterinarian and usually in a clinic.

Bell gave birth to her twins out in a field by herself. She also is a first-time mother.

Twin foals usually are born prematurely often at about 7 months. Normal gestation is about 11 months.

Bell gave birth more than a week after her due date.

Waynora Martin of Carlsborg, Bell's owner, says she went out to the field about 2 a.m. to check on Bell since she was past her due date and she was anxious to help the first-time mom.

Seeing double

In her flashlight beam, "I saw a foal with a blaze down its nose. I went in the house to get help with cleaning it and checking both horses.

"When I came back, Bell was cleaning a foal with a star on its forehead. I thought I was seeing things. It took us a few minutes to see that there were two of them."

One is a female that Martin says is ornery like her mother. The other is a male that seems to be friendly and likes to get close to her.

While the foals do not have "real" names yet, Martin calls them Lilly and Billy.

Reach Dana Casey at dcasey@sequimgazette.com.


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