Breeding FAQs, weaning dates, etc. -- add useful info here!
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Here is the explanation for newbies to 'Weaning By The Signs" -
The theory is that for many years the old farmers weaned calves based on the astrological signs. The Feed/Seed Co-Op stores usually give away this kind of zodiac calendar. The theory is based on the belief that certain zodiacs rule certain parts of the body.
Capricorn ruled body parts include bones (skeletal structure), joints, knees and teeth.
Aquarius ruled body parts are the circulatory system, ankles, Achilles heal, calves and shins.
Pisces rules the feet and the immune system.
Those are the three zodiac signs that govern the lowest part of a body.
Farmers used that theory that when the zodiac (moon) signs were in the lowest part of the body - during Pieces - otherwise termed that the blood was in the feet, the lowest part of the body during this phase - that less trauma occurred and events of a more dramatic nature were less stressful. Thus, weanings and geldings were always done when the signs (zodiac/moon) were in the lower extremities - with Pieces being the best time.
Old time horsemen followed this theory and it has always lent itself to a smoother, less stressful weaning and gelding.
Weanings in general always work best when the natural progression of weaning has already begun by the dam, and that, along with using the weaning by the signs theory, almost guarantees a smooth and safe event.
Use the final three days in the run of days ensures the most grounded time frame for weaning.
Article by Julia Hodkin, owner of the young stallion Future Illusion, on how to assess your mare for breeding, which provides a framework for objectively assessing the qualities of your mare and rank ordering her good/weaker points.
If you have such a foal born and not sure what to do, here is my video diary of our experiences. Included are what worked, what is required, and what your life will be like for the first couple of weeks after the birth.
My hope is that someone watches it and takes a chance! Raising such a foal is truly is an amazing experience. This video documents our successfully saving Percheron "Chakra," using "home" care.