Dermot O’Mahony with his Goat Maggie who has adopted week-old foal Tessa. Pic: Denis Boyle

by Louise Roseingrave

A NEWBORN orphan foal has been adopted by a doting goat who took over feeding duties to keep him alive.

The foal’s mother, a mare called Lovely Leitrim died suddenly just eight hours after the birth.

Farmer Dermot O’Mahony, from Rossmore had to act quickly to save the foal from starvation.

He introduced Maggie, the devoted goat and the two hit it off right away.

“A friend of mine told me about Maggie, a nice quiet goat and she had nursed a calf in a similar situation last year.

“I brought her to the foal and that same day he was suckling away happy as anything,” Mr O’Mahony said.

The foal, a speckled brown and white male, was the 14th foal born on the farm to Lovely Leitrim, who was almost 20 years old.

She died of internal bleeding as a result of a ruptured blood vessel.

“The foal was born around 12.30am out in the field and both mother and foal were doing great.

“When I went back to check them at 8am they were fine but the mare was dead by 9am, it was an awful shock, it was so sudden,” Mr O’Mahony said.

Goat’s milk is the closest replacement to horse’s milk, according to Mr O’Mahony, giving the now 2 week old foal the best start in life he can get.

Mr O’Mahony, who plans to name the foal after its mother, supplements the foal’s diet with yoghurt to aid digestion.

“Maggie is a grand old girl. She is after having two kids and she has one big kid now,” he said.