I'm finally weaning my not-so-little one (at almost 1 yo!) and wondered about this: should I cut the mare's grain so she can dry up or does that make no difference? I have always thought grain had nothing to do with it, just to make sure she has plenty of turn-out as usual and no contact with the filly, but now I hear conflicting advice... Mare is older and I would prefer not cutting the grain, but I don't want to make it harder for her either!
I think it's been proven that cutting/dropping grain does not significantly increase drying up time. You certainly don't want to compromise her weight for that either. But, if she's getting a growth or mare/foal feed, which has the higher protein she needed to produce milk, then you can switch it to a more typical adult/sr feed.
What is she on now, and how much?
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The idea that the grain relates to the mare drying up is an old wive's tale!!
The amount of grain does not have anything to do with the mare drying up. What stimulates the mare is the foal nursing. When the foal is pulled from the mare - the bag will engorge and then slowly dry up. Don't touch or you will keep stimulating the milk production.
Most mares are pulled down by the time the foal is pulled off so we never reduce their grain right away. If they start putting on too much weight then cut her back.
And FYI - the longer the foal stays on the mare the lower the possibility of the youngster having ulcers. We are just weaning two youngsters now at 11 months.
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It really depends on the mare. Some will have needed a lot more calories while lactating. Those mares may have had a hard time maintaining weight while their foal nursed, so I would not cut back any calories until they have regained any lost condition. Other mares may not have needed a lot of extra calories and they may need to be maintained at the rate being fed before weaning. Every mare is unique and will need to be fed according to her own needs.