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  1. #41
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    Bringing mare and foal to your place to wean makes no sense. You're risking injury to your foal, from a horse you're planning to take away anyway, and you're going to have to deal with the drama of weaning. Wean them at her place and bring the baby to your farm. If they have a babysitter gelding that's even better, bring him too. It's really nice to have an older horse in with babies if they are safe, because they can help teach manners and can be calming if something scary happens (thunderstorm, etc). The kids will usually run to the babysitter instead of running around freaking out.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.



  2. #42

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    We ended up with an orphan only 5 days old. We brought her home from the vet clinic and put her in a stall by herself. I took down half of one stall wall and put an open broodmare next to her. Every time we bottle feed the orphan, we gave "crunchies" to the broodmare right next to where we fed. During the day turning them out side by side in pens for a week. Then, we turned them out together and she kicked at her once but then ignored her. After a week, we turned them out with the rest of the mares and foals, and the broodmare looked after her. I think it is important to turn them out with others including the foal and older draft horse. Good luck. My orphan is 3 now and huge. When she was a yearling, my vet thought she would be potbellied and funky looking. He didn't realize that she was standing next to me. 4 months of bottle feeding was so worth it but the horse socialization made sure that she wasn't a brat.


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  3. #43
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    How important is it that he get turned out with another horse/foal? Could I turn him out by himself next to another horse till he is a year old? Or what age is it appropriate? I love my old horse but don't really trust him with my foal. At least at 3 months.



  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    How important is it that he get turned out with another horse/foal? Could I turn him out by himself next to another horse till he is a year old? Or what age is it appropriate? I love my old horse but don't really trust him with my foal. At least at 3 months.
    As others have noted over and over again, it is VITAL that he be turned out with another horse. Horses will teach other horses how to behave.

    Please re-read my post. Again, you introduce gradually and make sure there is plenty of space. Many geldings are great weaners, although I can't really say about yours.

    What happened to the other weaner?


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  5. #45
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    That's what I thought. Ok. Still working on the other baby but just wanted to explore my options.



  6. #46
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    What is he doing right now? Is he by himself? If so, nix the baby, get him anybody that is safe. Time is majorly of the essence here.


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  7. #47
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    He is by himself next to the pony in field. I've tried the pony several times even with sedatives she is still not cooperative and I'm afraid of him being kicked. I do have an older gelding and he is off my farm for the moment but I'm going to try him next this week if I can't get the other foal situation worked out.



  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    He is by himself next to the pony in field. I've tried the pony several times even with sedatives she is still not cooperative and I'm afraid of him being kicked. I do have an older gelding and he is off my farm for the moment but I'm going to try him next this week if I can't get the other foal situation worked out.
    The chances are the pony is just establishing herself as dominant -- which is OK! Horses kick at each other. Depending on the size of the pony vs the size of the foal coupled with the size of the enclosure, there might not be as much danger as you think.

    Maybe try introducing them with pony on a longe line? If she starts to kick, you can jerk her off balance and growl a "NO!" at her. Meanwhile, foal learns to respect her space....which is the main reason he needs to be with another horse anyway, to learn that "horse stuff."

    At this age, it is likely his mom would be teaching him this stuff now, and maybe even kicking/biting him some. Of course, she wouldn't be as mean as the pony, but Baby needs to learn...

    Again, BB's are useless for this sort of stuff....maybe if you took a video of the pony's behavior with the foal many of us could tell if there is actually a real danger or if it's just a threat.

    Here's my take: I'm betting one ad in the local PEnny Saver or Craig's list for a temporary companion horse who is good w/foals will bring you more candidates than you can handle. If you weren't so far away you could use my 19 yr old Arab mare. She is HELL with grown horses, but she loves the babies...and I have a 2 yr old filly who let her half-sister nurse off of her when she was just a yearling....

    I don't think it will kill him to be alone for afew months, but not much longer than that....


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  9. #49
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    Sorry you are going through this.....have you thought of sending him to another farm for a little while. Like Hilltop? Call and see about another local breeding farm as they may have other youngsters and can more easily fit him in. Then you can bring him home either later in the fall or next spring when he is a bit bigger.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Home Again Farm View Post
    Don't worry. If you address his nutrition and social needs, he will be perfectly normal. The filly I weaned early grew to over 17h. Your foal's mama fulfilled all his most vital needs.
    Very correct! Only thing I would add to his current feed is some powdered foal milk. Just sprinkle it on his grain dry according to package instructions. After the third month the mares milk decresses in importance as to nutrition as other solid foods begin to take over. What the mare's milk DOES is make the solid foods more digestable.



  11. #51
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    Please don't leave the baby without companionship. Foals have a physical need to be touched (and you can't be there 24 hours) and they need companionship for a sense of security and normalcy. I would watch out for ulcers, as this sort of stress situation is problematic. Good luck.


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  12. #52
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    Just like the others have said, you MUST get appropriate company for this foal. A sweet yearling can work. You could try to find a local farm that has weaned some early born foals, and "borrow one", maybe a kind pony, SOMETHING. I'd try a mare before I'd try a gelding. I turned mine out first with a donkey jenny when she was orphan at a month old, and then when she was a bit older with her 2 year old half sister. They formed a great bond....The older sister was somewhat like a mom to her.


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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunnydays View Post
    Please don't leave the baby without companionship. Foals have a physical need to be touched (and you can't be there 24 hours) and they need companionship for a sense of security and normalcy. I would watch out for ulcers, as this sort of stress situation is problematic. Good luck.
    Ditto this. This foal should not have been alone for more than a day at most. It is imperative for its health - physical and mental - to get it a companion. IMHO, when we breed horses we have a moral responsibility to give them basic requirements. For a foal that has been orphaned that would include companionship. I recognize how difficult this can be when you had a plan (mare and foal together) and it has fallen apart. But, now you must change your plan, no matter how inconvenient, and get the foal with another equine of whatever age.


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  14. #54
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    I disagree that the foal can't be left alone AT ALL; especially if Pony Mare is within 50 ft or so of him even on the other side of the fence. Just like humans, not all personalities react the same way. As I mentioned the mare I got was orphaned at 3 WEEKS and never put with another horse till I bought her at age 4 yrs. She was NEXT to them, but not in with them. She was never undernourished (she was 17 hh) nor stressed out about it: she figured she ruled the world.

    So I disagree that this will scar the colt forever to alone for afew weeks or so. Hopefully the OP is doing some bonding time with him, but if she can confine the pony so she can't get too far away, even with a fence between them the foal will feel ok.

    However, if he is showing obvious signs of stress (not lying down to sleep alot, not eating his full ration, crying out frequently, pacing the paddock), then his social needs must be addressed quickly.

    But at (close to) 4 mos he could be getting independent. However horses are herd animals and don't really feel safe when alone....especially a baby. If you've ever noticed, in a herd some watches guard while others sleep. And Mom is always awake if Baby is sleeping....this is why Baby feels safe.

    Horses/ponies/donks are better, but even goats (big ones, not minis) or cows can be better than solitude.

    But again, I'm thinking if you get the word out, in rural PA you are bound to fine plenty of perfect candidates that you can use if you will just feed them (so choose wisely).

    For that matter, you could make a trip to New Holland and pick up a baby-sitter for $200 or less. And you'd save a life; just make sure to quarantine the newcomer and, at 4 mos, Baby can have vaccines as well.

    Or call the TB farms....really, there are a million options. You sound like you lead a busy life, but this really needs to come near the top of the "To Do" List.

    And DO treat for ulcers...we are just now realizing how common they are in babies and is he is still eating grown up food he can't really digest, that is going to tax is gut even more.

    Maybe start a new post here on COTH Looking for a babysitter? Lots of possible solutions...it just needs doing.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Kyzteke; Aug. 27, 2013 at 12:34 AM.


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  15. #55
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    For that matter, you could make a trip to New Holland and pick up a baby-sitter for $200 or less. And you'd save a life; just make sure to quarantine the newcomer and, at 4 mos, Baby can have vaccines as well.
    Another foal, you mean? otherwise how would one tell that the "babysitter" is good with foals (I thought foal in question was 3 months not 4?)
    I definitely would not pick up an auction horse & put it anywhere near my newly orphaned foal (stress suppresses the immune system) without a minimum 3 weeks quarantine.

    I would not turn baby out with a pony that is threatening to kick - there are plenty of horses that would be able to sort out herd dynamic with a baby without immediately threatening to kick said baby ...


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  16. #56
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    Sheep are good too. Easier than goats. I have two out in a field and they hang with the horses. They call to them when going to turn out their pasture mates.

    Maybe not as good as another equine friend but may easily fill the void for a few months. Once the rest of us wean our foals this fall there should be more buddies. I do have a good baby sitter pony but she's out with my yearlings now. She will put the yearlings in their place but I view that as a good thing. But she makes ugly faces at them and bites them more than kicks.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  17. #57
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    If she buys a babysitter she has to quarantine, the foal is still alone. There have to be plenty of suitable horses or ponies she can borrow. Just get the word out, I bet you would have your pick this afternoon. There is a mare at my barn that is a great babysitter if you want to ship the foal here. We are about an hour from Philly.


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  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Another foal, you mean? otherwise how would one tell that the "babysitter" is good with foals (I thought foal in question was 3 months not 4?)
    I definitely would not pick up an auction horse & put it anywhere near my newly orphaned foal (stress suppresses the immune system) without a minimum 3 weeks quarantine.

    I would not turn baby out with a pony that is threatening to kick - there are plenty of horses that would be able to sort out herd dynamic with a baby without immediately threatening to kick said baby ...
    Threatening to kick and kicking are two different things. You see horses fire a warning shot all the time. As for the auction, not all horses come with no history and often they are jammed in together. And you CAN get foals or yearlings often for almost nothing.

    I agree it would be better to have a horse/donk/etc who is completely solid, but the OP seems to be having trouble with that.

    As for the foal's age, he was orphaned at 3mos. This thread has been going on for awhile now...so he's probably 4 mos or very close to it.



  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyzteke View Post
    Threatening to kick and kicking are two different things. You see horses fire a warning shot all the time.
    Yes - still easy enough to place foal with a companion whose first "go to" is not to kick.
    Yes - friend also got to bury the horse whose leg was smashed - guess it wasn't a warning shot that time.

    So YMMV ... but why take the risk with what is a rather precious foal for the OP.

    As for the auction horse, again, there are likely much lower risk foals/yearlings available through local classifieds, forums, community boards etc (perhaps your auction houses are different than my local).



  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Yes - still easy enough to place foal with a companion whose first "go to" is not to kick.
    Yes - friend also got to bury the horse whose leg was smashed - guess it wasn't a warning shot that time.

    So YMMV ... but why take the risk with what is a rather precious foal for the OP.

    As for the auction horse, again, there are likely much lower risk foals/yearlings available through local classifieds, forums, community boards etc (perhaps your auction houses are different than my local).
    Agreed -- which is why I also suggested all of those things. As for your friend's horse, it is tragic, but those are horses. Again, I'm not sure at the size of the pony or the size of the foal or the size of the pasture....all these things would determine if I was really worried or not.

    As I mentioned in another post, the very first thing my Arab mare did when we turned my "orphan" in with the herd was turn around and start double barreling at her. Just kept backing up and double barreling. Never actually struck her, but sure looked serious.

    And the mare, who had never been with another horse her entire life, knew enough to back the heck up and get o/o the way. Took her like...1/2 a sec...to figure it out.

    Again, I'm thinking that the OP could get a good candidate from ads and stuff, but there is still no guarantee the horse will be disease free and or appropriate.

    It's a shame there aren't more COTHers in her area...

    What about breeding farms? Any other COTHers in that area who could give her some names and contacts at least to start with?

    As I mentioned, she could borrow the Fat Arab mentioned above, if she wanted to ship her from ID to PA, but I doubt she's that desperate.



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