I have an older mare that has had many foals, and is *possibly* in foal again for her absolute LAST foal. She was checked yesterday at about 15 days, and has what looks like a pregnancy, BUT, it is right smack next to a cyst of about the same size. The possible pregnancy is also a bit mishapen, which my vet says could be due to it's close proximity, or worse, it's attachment to the cyst. So, my vet wants to wait until 28-30 days and then recheck to hopefully find a heartbeat. The mare's tone is good, so that gives us hope it is indeed a pregnancy.
Ok, so now the dilemma part... The mare has a 4 month old filly by her side. The filly is HUGE and draining the life from the mare, she is eating a LOT and still not holding her weight. So, I think, ok, time to wean. But, the mare will get distraught, as she always does when it's weaning time. I am worried she will lose the possible pregnancy if she stresses too much during weaning. I'm also worried she could lose the pregnancy because her condition is poor regardless of how much food I put in front of her.
I'd personally wean if in the same situation. Older mares can go downhill so quickly with a 4 month old baby on them, unless you are super careful about her diet. If she is already starting to show signs of the baby being a burden, I wouldn't risk the mare for the sake of the embryo.
We have a mare that is having weight issues this year. She was at the vet clinic with her filly, who had her umbilical stump removed, for just over a week. During the surgery, they obviously have to take the baby away and my mare gets stressed easilly away from home. She lost a pile of weight at the clinic, and we are now working with our nutritionalist to try and get some of it back. It isn't easy to put weight on a nursing mare, it is a delicate balance...
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Can you 'day wean?'
Once the foal is really drawing the mare down, I am able to put foal in stall next to Mum for 8-12 hrs. Mum gets time and FOOD to herself. Foal gets foal-specific feed... neither are stressed because they are right next to each other.
Obviously you start for a short time, and lengthen it, I usually am up to a whole 'night' separate by the end of the first week. Foal still nurses during the day, but it quickly becomes a 'comfort' rather than nutrition...
Thanks pintopiaffe and Amoroso. My first concern IS what is right for the mare. It just worries me because she stresses out so much when she gets weaned. I would typically send her to another farm for a few weeks with my other mare but they are so far apart with their foals this year that can't happen. So weaning at home is the only option.
I think putting some sort of divider up in the stall is a really good idea. The filly does eat more of mom's grain than she ought to, and with a divider up at least mom will slowly get used to the idea of be weaned from her filly (hopefully).