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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2008
    Location
    SE, PA
    Posts
    1,074

    Default Weaning Advice?

    So, my "surprise foal" (see thread from June) is going to be weaned in October sometime. She is already Miss Independence and I would rather do it in the fall before the weather gets nasty here in PA.

    What are your experiences and what has worked for you? I already have her & mom out in the field with two seniors at night. She will stay with them during weaning & mom will go to the mares field. They are within calling (faintly heard) distance but not close and they cannot see each other.

    Can any of the sage Cothers out there give me some pointers on the process, how long and what NOT to do?

    Thanks!
    Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2004
    Posts
    3,220

    Default

    You can start some separation periods side by side, first several hours inside next to each other in stalls. Good for individual feeding times.

    I've done side by side pasture weaning (I have wood fences), no screaming this way. They can stand together, touch each other, but no nursing. The foal eventually wanders off to graze. Mom doesn't care much either, too relieved to be done with it. It's just breaking the nursing comfort, the weanling will try to nurse any gelding friends.
    The truth is what you can get other people to believe.

    -- Tommy Smothers



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2003
    Location
    The good 'ole State of denial
    Posts
    5,064

    Default

    I'm going to try something different this year. In the past I've done cold turkey - off farm - and while they are "out of sight out of mind" I HATE taking the mare off farm. Like weaning isn't stressful enough, she is a strange place with strange horses.

    Anyway - this year I've actually been seperating them whenever I can (started this at 2 weeks old!). I'll take the mare out to ride, wouldn't mind taking her off farm to ride, bring the foal out for attention, etc and the mare could CARE LESS and enjoys being away - the foal......she is Ms Independant BUT she loves her milk bar. So when she gets hungry she does scream for mum. My plan is to just put the mare out with her old pasture buds and keep the filly with her yearlings - they will be able to hear each other but I can keep them out of sight. I was thinking about putting them next to each other so they could still 'Be' together but the foal couldn't nurse, but frankly the nursing is the only reason our filly cares about mom. I'm sure she would scream her head off standing right next to mum too - if she couldnt' reach the nips.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2002
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    8,278

    Default

    I have weaned across a fence that is reinforced with hotwire for many, many years with excellent results. The foals and moms can see each other, but the foals cannot nurse. They usually hang out next to the fence for a day or two and then wander off, with no drama.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2008
    Posts
    346

    Thumbs up Another thumbs up for Gradual method.

    I've done the gradual method for the past 6-7 years; used to take the mares off farm. The gradual method is a WHOLE lot less stressful for all, and so much easier! After a few days everyone is acclimated to the new routine - no drama.

    Like OKKGO, I start early. As soon as foal shows interest in mom's food, I start taking the foal to the other side of the stall and feed from his own bucket. By 3 months I'm feeding in an adjacent stall. By weaning time they're down the aisle from each other. When I first put them in adjacent pastures it just for about 10 minutes, then an hour, then a few hours, then 1/2 day. There's no schedule and no deadline. If foal gets a little too anxious, it's okay if they backslip to a previous comfort level a day or so before trying again.

    Anyway, that's how I've been doing it and it's worked just fine for me. Everyone's happy - no injuries, no drama.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2008
    Location
    SE, PA
    Posts
    1,074

    Default

    This is comforting - I like the gradual method & I do have wood fences with good grazing to keep them both busy. Mom will eventually go in the mare field and baby will go out with the two seniors where they are right now.

    The baby is already eating on her own, so I think I'll try the feeding in the adjacent stall to get her used to it and then put her back in with mom for the day.

    Thanks everyone! This makes me feel much better!
    Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears.



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