As exemplified by Tecumseh in my last post, paternal care is often just as important as maternal care in mustangs. While it is true there is more maternal investment in the offspring (after all, the dam is the one carrying the foal, going through labour, nursing the foal etc.), a good stallion certainly has his fair share of responsibility in caring for offspring. Interestinglu, quite often stallions find themselves raising the offspring of other males. While animals like lions are notorious for killing unrelated young, stallions will raise unrelated foals born into their bands, and also frequently raise young that are brought along by a new mare. While there are of course exceptions to the rule, particularly if the foal is very young, in general stallions make pretty good step-fathers.
This short post, however, is about Hamlet, who is the actual biological sire of Penn. Poor Penn had very freshly been weaned by a rather large (and grumpy!) pregnant Audubon. While the filly was certainly old enough to be weaned, it didn’t stop her from missing her mother’s milk! Since Mum kept rejecting her, she sought out other options….I think the following photos speak volumes for what a patient Dad Hamlet is!
Niobrara was the next target, but at least she was the correct sex to produce milk, even though she has never lactated (as a mare who has yet to foal). Niobrara was also very patient with the confused yearling.