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  1. #1
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    May. 15, 2006
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    Default Is it time to wean?

    My foal has just turned 3 months old and he is huge. He us eating his mom alive, she is beginning to look skiny. The dam's feed has been upped. She is now getting 6flakes of hay and some grain. I would rather not wean until he is four months, although he is a very independent colt and often is hanging out with other pasture mates. Another option is to separate them for a few hours so that his dam can eat, lets call this semi-wean.
    Would you wean at this age or would you semi-wean him? other options and suggestions are welcome



  2. #2
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    Jul. 14, 2004
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    Try & put if off as LONG as possible. Six months is premium. Then, check out the "Weaning By The Signs" thread for the best time.
    Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse



  3. #3
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    Mar. 24, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by twcolabear View Post
    The dam's feed has been upped. She is now getting 6flakes of hay and some grain.

    And that's AFTER it's been upped?? That wasn't enough BEFORE it was upped! Once the mare slips her weight it is even harder to get it back. 'some' grain?? What feed are you using? Have you read the feeding guidelines on the sack? What protein grain are you using, what hay??



  4. #4
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    Nov. 13, 2007
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    I had to wean my filly at three months because my mare was skinny by then. She was thin at two months, and by three she was maybe a 3 condition-wise. Of course she was eating a ton of hay, 4 or 5 big scoops or alfalfa cubes, probably 5 scoops of feed (beet pulp based), and oil, plus some pasture. Filly was fat.

    If you can put it off, by all means do. But sometimes it just has to happen. I weaned my filly over the fence, so she couldn't nurse but still had mom's companionship. She also had a buddy who had been with her since she was 2 weeks old. She was eating hay and grain and drinking water by 2 months.

    After 2 months apart, I put them back together and my mare would not allow the filly to nurse. They have been together ever since (filly is now a yearling). She is well adjusted, is physically in good condition. If anything I think it did her some good to be taken from mom, because prior to weaning mom didn't have what it too to actually keep her in line. Now she at least occasionally puts the little one in her place when it is deserved.



  5. #5
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    6 flakes of hay could be 30lb of hay - that's a lot unless the horse is really large. But if it's 24lb of hay, and that's an increase, then it wasn't enough to begin with.

    We also have no idea how much grass the mare is getting.

    If the foal is already really independent, and has a good relationship with other older horses, then since Mom isn't providing real nutrition for him anymore, there's no *real* reason not to wean him. If his older buddies will teach him good manners, that's what you're really after at this point.

    If you can keep him away from Mom for some period of time while she eats her meals, great - having forced separation time makes real weaning so much easier.

    You/we do need to know what "some grain" means. A handful? 1lb? 5lb? What grain? If she's not getting free choice forage, that's the place to start. If she is, there are safe, low-sugar ways to get more concentrated calories into her - alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, oats, along with either a ration balancer or vit/min supplement for the nutrition she needs.
    ______________________________
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by babecakes View Post
    And that's AFTER it's been upped?? That wasn't enough BEFORE it was upped! Once the mare slips her weight it is even harder to get it back. 'some' grain?? What feed are you using? Have you read the feeding guidelines on the sack? What protein grain are you using, what hay??
    6 flakes can be a lot of hay, depending on the size of the flake. Most of the bales I get down here, that's nearly half a bale. So about 25 pounds of hay.

    But really, you can feed these guys a ton of feed. I was worried about feeding my mare too much at first. But if you buy alfalfa cubes, or a beet-pulp based feed (like TC Senior), you can feed a ton. My mare was going thru something like 3 bags of feed a week during the second month, on top of the cubes and hay.



  7. #7
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    Mar. 26, 2009
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    If you are not already doing so, why not purchase a grain/pellet developed especially for lactating mares and feed it according to the directions? These are already balanced as a far as minerals, vitamins, etc. are concerned, and when fed according to the directions (as a general rule anyway) will provide your mare with proper nutrition and adequate calories. Of course each horse is different and some will need more or less depending on the individual. Talk with your local feed dealer and see if they can put you in touch with a nutrition representative from the feed company of your choice. They should be happy to help you come up with a feeding program to help put your mare's weight back on or at least to keep her from losing any more while she is nursing. Once the baby is weaned, they should then be able to help you come up with a feeding plan that will finish putting her weight back on and get into a good body condition to be rebred if that is what you choose to do. Good luck with your girl and the weaning of your foal. Post pictures if you can.
    Dawn



  8. #8
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    Six flakes of hay makes me think that the mare has no pasture. My brood mares, after the first week or so when they are in the stall, get NO hay. they are out on a hugh lush pasture and just get grain. Mine are ponies, and at times I do have a warmblood or thoroughbred brood mare. Grain is ( we just juse a 12% sweet feed) increased as needed but we do that right away if we think the mare is starting to loose weight.

    Pasture is your friend with brood mares and foals. I could not do all I do without good pastureland.

    But, btw, in the stall 6 flakes is not at all unusual. Two am, two lunch and two dinner ( and OMG, i forgot the nighttime ck when they get two more!!! I am a pushover for happy mares and foals). LOL
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  9. #9
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    Dec. 14, 2007
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    Wilsonville, Ontario, CANADA
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    My easy keeping mares with foals at side are on about 8-9 lbs of grain a day and the harder keeper one is on 10-12 lbs a day. Plus free choice hay all day and all night long - gorgeous alfalfa/soft grass hay mix, and pasture as I rotate them on and off of it

    One mare is a little porky, one is perfect and the other I'd like to see another 100-200 more lbs on but she wont eat more than what I am already feeding her. The fat content of their feed ranges from 8-14% and the protein ranges from 12-16% and my hay is at about 20-25%

    If you are talking 6 normal sized flakes for your mare - I agree - that is WAY low for what she should be getting to eat ... Mine will get 4-6 flakes each during the daytime hours and another 4-6 for their night feed so with all things being equal, your mare is getting about half of what she should (IMO) be getting in the hay department ...



  10. #10
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    Jun. 23, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    6 flakes of hay could be 30lb of hay - that's a lot unless the horse is really large. But if it's 24lb of hay, and that's an increase, then it wasn't enough to begin with.

    We also have no idea how much grass the mare is getting.

    If the foal is already really independent, and has a good relationship with other older horses, then since Mom isn't providing real nutrition for him anymore, there's no *real* reason not to wean him. If his older buddies will teach him good manners, that's what you're really after at this point.

    If you can keep him away from Mom for some period of time while she eats her meals, great - having forced separation time makes real weaning so much easier.

    You/we do need to know what "some grain" means. A handful? 1lb? 5lb? What grain? If she's not getting free choice forage, that's the place to start. If she is, there are safe, low-sugar ways to get more concentrated calories into her - alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, oats, along with either a ration balancer or vit/min supplement for the nutrition she needs.
    Obviously the mare is not getting enough food if she is losing condition like that. I have no idea, either, what "some" grain means but it sounds to me like the horse still is not getting nearly enough food. Our mares and foals are turned out on good pasture for at least 12 hours a day, have free choice hay in the stall, and get a feed made for lactating mares and foals (we mix a pelleted feed with the flake version) in a quantity appropriate for the individual - which works out to a lot more than they get without a foal at their side.

    A human mother burns approximately 500 calories a day nursing a baby - imagine how much a foal that weighs at least 10 times what a baby does would require to nurse.
    Last edited by YankeeLawyer; Jul. 21, 2009 at 11:18 PM.



  11. #11
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    May. 15, 2006
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    thank you for your responses. I have the mare and baby boarded out. So there is pasture, but it is rotated between all the horses. I cannot remember how much the BO said she feeds the mare, but once I know I can post. The mare and foal have been to the vets clinic for re-breeding and that's where she lost the weight. I think partially because she wasn't getting enough and partially because she was in a stall and that makes her uncomfortable.
    Could the reason we are not successful in re-breeding be because she lost weight?

    So the consensus is to keep the foal with the dam as long as possible and feed the mare a lot of groceries.

    Hampton Bay-my mare lets this colt do anything he pleases, she doesn't check him at all. she was a lot stricter with her other boys.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrueColours View Post
    My easy keeping mares with foals at side are on about 8-9 lbs of grain a day and the harder keeper one is on 10-12 lbs a day. Plus free choice hay all day and all night long - gorgeous alfalfa/soft grass hay mix, and pasture as I rotate them on and off of it
    I have a hard keeper who I feed similar and she still looks like a "rescue horse". The two previous owners had also told me that she is difficult to keep weight on during lactation. I always make sure she is at very good weight prior to delivery as I know she will need every pound I can put on her the last several months of gestation.

    I feed her over 16 lbs of feed a day -- a mix of 16% Mare and Foal by Legends and a high calorie Beet Pulp feed. I also supplement with Purina Amplify, Neighlox (acid reducer), and probiotics. She also gets premium T&A hay -- about 1/2 bale a day and she is on a lush pasture all night long (too hot to leave her on pasture 24/7 as she will overheat). I feed her 4 times a day to distribute the food as I worry about colic with this much feed.

    Luckly, when she is pregnant she does better with her weight and she is now back in foal so right now I think we are actually putting back on a little weight (at least not losing any -- yeah). She confirmed in pregnancy with one attempt even with her poor weight.

    I wean her foals right at 4 months, they always are nice, plump and big (I guess that is where the food actually goes -- into milk production ) and they do well being weaned at that age.



  13. #13
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    Nov. 13, 2007
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    NW Louisiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by twcolabear View Post
    ...

    Hampton Bay-my mare lets this colt do anything he pleases, she doesn't check him at all. she was a lot stricter with her other boys.
    That was the other factor in me weaning my filly at 3 months. My mare was just miserable with her around. I know this mare like the back of my hand, and I swear she had just given up on the whole mom thing. I could remove her and leave the filly, and she never even looked back. It took her a good 45 minutes to start to whinny for her filly.



  14. #14
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    I'd stretch it out another two weeks if possible... 3 1/2 months is the minimum in my book, with 4 1/2 months being maximum. It depends a lot upon each individual mare & foal though. I don't have green pastures, so the mares & foals get 24/7 access to grass hay, then alfalfa once a day plus grain (Omolene) twice a day. I've got a colt who is three months old right now, and I plan on weaning him within the next couple of weeks as his dam is actually getting VERY fat with all the "extras" that the foals get (she's only 14 hands), the only two other mares left in there are large Warmbloods, so they also need quite a bit. Luckily this colt honestly does not care where his mom is, he's the most independant foal I've ever had. I could wean him now, but I'd like another two weeks just to be on the safe side.
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  15. #15
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    I have a hard keeper who I feed similar and she still looks like a "rescue horse". The two previous owners had also told me that she is difficult to keep weight on during lactation. I always make sure she is at very good weight prior to delivery as I know she will need every pound I can put on her the last several months of gestation.

    I feed her over 16 lbs of feed a day
    Geez sfstable - I just WISH my mare would eat that amount!

    She never finishes her breakfast - ever. Not once in her entire life, so when she comes in at night, she has that to eat as well as what she gets for dinner. Dinner plus whats left over from breakfast takes her all night to finish and sometimes her bucket is licked clean by morning, but most often there is still about 1/2-2 lbs left in there by morning. So I then slightly adjust the morning ration so I am not piling more and more food on top of each other

    And leading up to foaling? Forget it - I'm lucky to get a few lbs a day into her then ... even if I stand there and try and hand feed her



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrueColours View Post
    Geez sfstable - I just WISH my mare would eat that amount!

    She never finishes her breakfast - ever. Not once in her entire life, so when she comes in at night, she has that to eat as well as what she gets for dinner. Dinner plus whats left over from breakfast takes her all night to finish and sometimes her bucket is licked clean by morning, but most often there is still about 1/2-2 lbs left in there by morning. So I then slightly adjust the morning ration so I am not piling more and more food on top of each other

    And leading up to foaling? Forget it - I'm lucky to get a few lbs a day into her then ... even if I stand there and try and hand feed her
    Sounds like your mare and mine are long lost twins . She doesn't always finish the feed -- takes her all day and night to finish it. She makes such beautiful foals though -- she was one of the top producing mares for the NA Selle Francais when they were still in the US. She currently is in foal to Edeweiss du Bonce. I knew she was pregnant within a week of breeding because her appetite zoomed. She always eats better when pregnant.



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