So again, I'm asking for your, COTHers, experience.
Sonora is our first foal and I have no idea how to do the things nice and gentle.
Sonora is close to her 6th mo day. She is healthy, big and happy girl. Her mum, Shella, is expecting the next baby at mid June.
This would be about the right time to wean Sonora, but...
Shella is starting to push her away anyway, milk in one side has dried out already and other side seems drying out as well.
So, my question is - how about self weaning? Can we let it happens or it would be better to seperate them at least at night now?
See, I would not like to take them apart completely as Shella is a brilliant mum and is teaching filly seriously thus making things much easier for us
For example, we are walking filly on lead and mare is walking from the back, pushing baby forward and telling off much better than we should do for misbehaving. Or we are doing something with mare and if filly is acting silly, mum instantly tells her off for being silly around humans.
Somehow mother tells her very well what can be done and what is not acceptable. Like today I was feeding mum with mash and filly tried to kick over the bucket - I told her off twice, and the third time mum told her off. Like if human said NO it means NO - we should not be able to explain little filly things so well as Shella does.
So, if we shall start separating them at night (next box) - would it be enough or we must do it in usual way and separate them completely and for a long time? Or maybe mum will know when it is the right time for her and will wean baby by herself in a less stressful way? (we are giving mare all possible supplements, vitamins and rich mash to keep her in shape for this double job - feeding filly and growing the next one)
We noticed that she is pushing baby away already then and there, but she still gets meals at milkbar. Filly herself had been introduced to all "adult" foods so no harm would be there.
Currently I'm trying to put two things together - less harm for mare who is in foal and for filly who does not need more milk but would benefit from education, carried on by mare.
I see your herd is growing by leaps and bounds!
I think Shella and Sonora can probably be kept in adjacent stalls at night without any problems. I wean gradually like that, where they are separated by a fence, so no nursing, but they can still sniff each other for comfort. I start with a couple hours each day and then increase it to overnight until each is established with their own buddies. I don't put mare and foal back together for at least 3 months, since sometimes the foal will go right back to nursing! You'll do great!
Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...
I put Mom and baby in with another mare, when they are comfortable then I remove Mom and allow other mare to assume the role but not allow suckling. After a month or so they can all go back together.
That is what I do, too. I just finished a quite sedate weaning by putting the mare, foal, nanny mare and a yearling together for about three weeks, and then finally putting mom on the other side of the fence. She actually seemed delighted to go in with her adult friends, and didn't even call for the filly until her engorgement made her uncomfortable.
OK, thank you - we had started the gradual weaning now. First we separated mum and baby for about an hour - baby was interested to stay with us, humans, even lifted legs on command and not worried about mother at all. At night we put them in separate boxes and again - baby was more interested in yearling on the other side than mum. So so far it is going really good. During the day baby is hanging out with buddies - mare and yearling and leaving mum alone - and just few quick meals at milkbar during the day.
Thank you again - gradual weaning is really no stress at all.
I'm weaning mine on Wednesday. He already eats his meals in the stall next to Mom, so that's not difficult. The signs are good for this week (see "Weaning by the Signs" sticky above) so you will be good!
Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist