Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Username: Password:
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Weaning - advice from those with experience?  (Read 427 times)

Ozhorse

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« on: August 07, 2014, 04:19:07 pm »


My foal is now 6 months old (I know, where are the photos).  Its time to think about weaning.  Do I have to hurry?  I like that the foal keeps weight off the mare.

Any advice from those who have done it before on the method?  I can try different methods, lock mare in coral in the paddock, lock foal in coral in paddock, with another mare, with an older quiet gelding, further away in a set of yards where they can see each other but cant get close. A mixture of all the above?

Could I wait until October when the weather is consistently nicer and I might have more time to spend with the foal. 

The mare gets separation anxiety badly.  Any advice on how to avoid this in the foal.
Logged

loneelk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
  • Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!
    • Lone Elk's Lodge
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 06:10:17 pm »

I'm not a fan of early weaning of any baby, regardless of how many legs it has, unless there's a good reason for it.  I've left a foal w/ dam within a small mixed herd until almost one year of age.  For about the last half of that, the mare was regularly being ridden away from the foal (who was left w/ a few herd members, not alone), for as much as 4 or 5 hours. 
I know that when folks breed back the mare, it's a concern to have her in as good condition as possible for her developing pregnancy, but doesn't sound as if that's the case for your mare. 
Many here have much more experience than I do (a total of three mares/foals over approx. 35 yrs.) and will not share my opinion, but I just have a bias that dam along w/ herd members can teach a lot of manners to a developing colt/filly.
For those mares/foals, weaning when it was final was a non-event.  We separated them for about a week by putting mare and a couple of close friends in another small pasture, and that was that.  No drama, no frantic efforts to get back together. 
Logged
Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


kckc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4202
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 06:23:48 pm »

wasn't there something in a thread that talked about the terrible stress put on a mare and foal to just be separated.  I can't recall the health issues it was discussing.  But seriously if they are out in a herd won't she wean the baby herself naturally? 
Logged
NC

Ozhorse

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 07:58:10 pm »


I know the cows go a bit bat crazy if you just disappear the calf (on a truck) or lock up the calves and take the cows far away (quickly before they notice) and some of them run through fences for a while.  I find with cows if I have got the luxury of not weaning onto a truck then I leave the calves in the yards with the cows on the outside and the gates to the feed paddock open.  The cows hang around for a few days, get hungry and leave and get a feed, then gradually get over it and leave the calves. 

I was just wondering how other people weaned their foals, preferably in a way that we dont end up with busted fences and vet visits.

One of the reasons I dont ride the mare much (apart from I cant get a saddle to fit) is that she gets separation anxiety badly and it makes her an annoying ride, despite being otherwise very quiet.  I have been told that separation anxiety problems can be caused by weaning and how young foals are kept and if they learn to be independent.  How does one encourage independence in a foal?
Logged

gallatingal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1002
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2014, 05:38:05 am »

I am certainly no expert either, but I have always just moved the mare away somewhere where they can't see or hear each other, usually to another property at about 5 or 6 months. Before doing that though, I would make sure they had a strong relationship with the older geldings or another foal so they were not left entirely alone. It has worked well for me  with the last two that I had to have them hang with the older geldings who don't put up with as much as mamma, but "pull their punches". My neighbor just weans them and puts them in a stall all by themselves. I don't buy the theory about separation anxiety.
Logged
Life is short, buy the pony!

ahmenti

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 354
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2014, 06:45:53 am »

We wean around 4 months as that is usually the time when we start getting our winter weather and we don't our mares to lose weight. Usually somewhere between 4 and 5 months.  By that time, we make sure that they have a buddy that they have been hanging with besides mom and we then take mom away and leave the foal with it's new friend. We can't take mare off property so we just make sure that we put them in a field away from baby.  At the time of weaning we have usually been separating them some anyway for grooming, feeding etc so that they are used to being separated some.

It works different for different people and it will be a trial and error type situation.  Some of our foals took to weaning just fine and one in the past had an absolute fit so he was put back with mom for a little while longer. 

Kim
Logged

GloriousJourney

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 225
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2014, 09:12:05 am »

I guess I was blessed years ago when I bred Fjords. My top mare,Rosita,  VERY Alpha, was amazingly easy to wean her foals from her. (she was the lead mare when I bought her in a herd of 23, including the stallion)  I did it early...like at 3-4 months. Her foals were quite independent, and out with my small herd and their mother daily. On weaning day, after their breakfast, I would put the foal out with the herd, and sent Rosie out alone into my front pasture. She took a BIG breath...like a sigh of relief, and power walked straight to the far end of the pasture alone to enjoy her day. Never a neigh or whinny. The foals would cry a bit for a short time, and join the herd. I was very fortunate. Rosie lived to be 28, produced 11 foals, the last at age 23. She was just the BEST girl!! I miss her.(she rode, drove, pulled logs, and jumped fire, too!)
Logged
Lesley in Jupiter

G84me

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 748
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2014, 09:35:24 pm »

I never raised a foal myself, but since I've boarded all my horse life, I've seen quite a few come and grow up.  I've seen them weaned early and later, letting the mare decide when it was time. 

I know the seasonal weather changes can drive weaning times, especially if the mare's being bred back.

The QH owners weaned very early: at 3 or 4 months, and they put the foal out with an old babysitter gelding.  These foals were pretty traumatized for about a week.  (The calling and crying for momma stressed ME out!)  I don't think the gelding cared much about their behavior.. they were more of a handful for the owners (pushy, manners) but they turned out very nice.

Two other owners let momma decide.  It was kinda fun watching the mare-foal interactions as the "babies" approached six months.  Both mommas "disciplined" the foals when they acted up.  Neither of these needed much manners training.  Mommas did their jobs nicely, and both mares decided enough was enough at about six months.  <G>

Just what I've seen...
Joann

I saw this article in Horse Journal on weaning: http://horse-journal.com/article/ite28099s-time-to-re-think-early-weaning-of-horses-5364?utm_source=HorseJournalNL&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter

Logged
- Joann
Central Ohio
Black Jack - STB gelding @ Rainbow Bridge 11/15
Lady - Tennessee Walker mare
Ebony - Tennessee Walker gelding

Ozhorse

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2014, 10:12:44 pm »


Thanks for the replies.  It seems that horses cope with both short and long times before weaning one way or another.  There seems to be a fair bit of evidence that no harm happens if it is left longer. 

I went out in the paddock today and the foal (who is 6 months old now) was hanging around with the old gelding and another mare, a long way away and out of sight of his mother.  When she was only a few months old she would become hysterical if mum was more than 10 feet away, mum would get upset too.  It seems only natural that the anxiety involved in the mother/offspring bond decreases as the need for mothering decreases.

This is good as I think I will leave weaning until spring comes and the weather is good and I will bring the foal in for weaning and more handling and feeding when I bring the gelding in for summer riding.
Logged

loneelk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
  • Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!
    • Lone Elk's Lodge
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2014, 05:51:09 am »

Sounds like you have it figured out.  I like your thinking on this!  Sounds sensible for everybody involved.
Logged
Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


finallygotem

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
Re: Weaning - advice from those with experience?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2014, 05:15:17 pm »

Nice thread. I was wondering.  Odyss is a mule not horse foal but I would think similar.  I was thinking id have to sorta start early as six months will be mid Dec
I may have a non issue with him. He has ignored cross fence and gone under or through since about three weeks. I was worried about it at first. Don't wanna open the fence cause mamma won't get enough to eat. Now he pickef the big mare to be hos mamma. He only gos back to nurse. Since he's not losing weight and he grows like a demon I left it for now. Noone seems upset with the arrangements... I think weaning will be alright, guess I'll see.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up