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4 Month Weanling Started Biting and Kicking

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  • 4 Month Weanling Started Biting and Kicking

    Hey there!! I have a question for you. This may bounce all over the place so be prepared.

    A week ago today I delivered a 4 month old weanling colt to his new home in a brand new paddock of sand and two other recently arrived weanling colts.
    These are the only horses on the property.
    The next day my colt developed diarrhea which the new owner did not tell me about til Friday at which point I advised him to use Pepto and get veterinary intervention if it continued.
    The Pepto did not clear up his liquid stool so the vet was called on Sunday who diagnosed him based on appearance as having a heavy worm load. He also took blood to check fibrinogen levels as he said high fibrinogen would indicate a heavy worm load. (ended up being high) I was present at this vet check and informed him that I dewormed the colt a few times and very recently as well. He thought my herd is developing a resistance to Ivermecting products and suggested doing everybody with Strongid.
    He put the colt on Tribrissen for secondary gut infection and recommended continuing with the Pepto.
    The colt started having better stool the following day but because of the high fibringen levels the new owner was recommended to deworm again with STrongid. I don't think a fecal flotation was ever done at all. ( Please share your thoughts on the diarrhea part of the problem with me)

    Some background info:
    This colt had been dewormed three times at my place since two months of age with an Ivermectin name brand paste the last time being two weeks ago.
    However, this colt did start looking wormy at around the 3 month stage. (A bit ribby on top and a belly) I weaned him a week and a half before he was to leave but left him in the paddock with his two siblings and their dams til it was time to move him to his new home.



    So onto the behaviour issues. This colt has always been friendly and kind. Easy to halter break. Leads reasonably well. Had some practice trailer loading before being moved. Independent and didn't worry when I moved his mother to the pasture. He is the lowest ranking colt at the new place having arrived three weeks after the other two. He has been very sweet at the new owners and has allowed them to give him Pepto with a lead rope around his neck. Stood quite well for the vet.
    Yesterday at feeding time he attempted to kick the owners daughter through the fence and then charged the new owner who hit with him a feed bucket. The colt shook his head, pinned his ears and charged the owner again to be hit a second time with the feed bucket. He then trotted around him and kicked towards him.
    Apparently he has tried something similar today. WHAT THE HECK????????? What would you recommend or what could the problem be????

    Apparently he is still easy to handle for treatments but becomes aggressive at feeding time.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Mary-Anne

  • #2
    While I think its possible that the worms could generate the big belly appearance, I would be concerned that the little guy has ulcers.

    He's 4 months old, recently weaned (stressful situation), then moved to a new location (another stressful situation), and introduced to a new "herd" (yet another stressful situation), with new owners that probably handle him different than you did. Now he has runny poop and his behavior is changing, you mentioned on instance at feed time specifically.

    I would be treating this little guy wiht GastroGard.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Its becoming a nightmarish situation.... First the diarrhea now the attitude. The owners are quite adamant that he must be sold so as not to hurt their three kids under the age of 10 if this keeps up. This is why I did everything I could to convince them to buy a nice old family horse to start with.
      I know the husband and wife from way back and they were insistent about buying three well-bred colts instead of a nice safe family horse I recommended they buy and have set up everything very nicely.
      I am so stressed out about it.

      Comment


      • #4
        There are several things that really bother me about this colt. The first is that you weaned him way too early. The second is the de worming at such a young age and the number of times it was done. I know these are just my thoughts and I am sure it is routinely done at many places where foals are raised. I have raised quite a few foals over the years and just like human kids you don't do them any favors when you treat them like adults when they are still just babies( or toddlers).


        The stresses on his young system were still in progress and then he is moved, put with 2 other dominant weanlings and is probably not getting much to eat.
        Then add the change in diet or amounts of feed.

        Then add to it all people he doesn't know who probably handle him way differently than you did and may not be very experienced and you are just begging for trouble. The fact that the man hit him in the face with a bucket( twice) tells me we are not dealing with someone who can read the warning signs when a young horse is pushing the limits, or just feeling like crap.

        I would buy the weanling back if I were in your situation.

        Comment


        • #5
          ^ That too
          "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

          Comment


          • #6
            Young foals need to be double dosed by weight with strongid or panacur once a month. He has been stressed emotionally and physically and you have an uphill battle on your hands. If he were mine I would have him on gastrogard. The behavior issues are likely related to the pain and stress he is feeling. It's not an excuse and can not be tolerated but you need to remove the pain and stress as well as discipline him. This is a disaster in the making that I don't see an end to. Even if they get him through this crisis it doesn't sound like they have the knowledge to handle a young horse and train him to be a good citizen.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home

            Comment


            • #7
              the loose stools can be just from stress as well. Both of my mares got loose when they came to my place. Once they knew the routine, things got better. A few days should tell you if it is stress.

              As for the aggressive behavior when being fed, are the other colts pushing him away? He might be really stressed and hungry. They need to get a halter on him to control his head (and therefore those feet) and instill some manners, rather that throwing buckets at him.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't normally chime in on posts like this but there are so many things wrong here..

                You did wean him too early. 4 months is YOUNG. Three weanlings living all alone is a recipe for disaster, and I find it (oddly) amusing that the new owners don't want their 3 children under the age of 10 to get hurt, yet they buy three weanling colts and throw them in a sand paddock all alone together. Babies need "been there done that" babysitters.

                The foal is only 4 months old and has already been wormed 3 times already, and with the same wormer. It's already been said, but that's just... not good.

                Take the poor guy back imo. You'd be doing him a great disservice by leaving him there from the sounds of it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Memphis View Post
                  The owners are quite adamant that he must be sold so as not to hurt their three kids under the age of 10 if this keeps up.

                  I am so stressed out about it.
                  They sound a little clueless. ANY colt can hurt children. Id never ever let my children get around a young horse.

                  Also the fact that they didnt listen to your advice about buying a family type of horse.

                  I also dont like the fact that they seem happy they were able to give him meds with only a lead rope around his head. Never ever would I do anything with a young horse without a halter and a lead and a crop in my back pocket.

                  If you are able, take him back! Sounds like a bad situation and sounds like they dont know how to handle him and its only going to get worse

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I don't really want to debate but there have been studies done on the quality of the milk and by the 4th month it is rapidly falling and some foals reverse their growth and become not nearly as thrifty after the 4th month. Blessed are the Broodmares is a great reference book as well, and the vet who wrote it recommends weaning at 3-4 mos of age. She said that foals weaned earlier were superior to those weaned at 6 months, in physical characteristics and mind.
                    Typically I wean at about 5 months of age but this colt had been eating well since he was a few weeks old and his mom was losing more condition then I liked. He wasn't very stressed at weaning - hardly called for his mother at all because he was still with his siblings and their dams.
                    He did not have diarrhea at home and neither was he aggressive, at all. Not even any ear pinning.
                    I have no doubt he became stressed at his new home being the under-dog, change of feed, etc. That's not an uncommon stress for a weanling at a new home. That being said it doesn't usually lead to aggressive behaviour towards humans.
                    Because I have known this guy a long time when he called me in the Spring I spent a great deal of time trying to persuade him to buy an adult horse or pony for the kids and get them used to the whole concept. There was no swaying him because he wanted top of the line colts and couldn't afford three adult horses with the look and pedigree he wanted.
                    He has done some great things to prepare his home for the colts. Brand huge new sand filled paddock with a great shelter. Relatively good hay, mineral supplements, etc. Going out to handle the colts.
                    I will definitely take this colt back if that's what it comes down to. I just wanted to know what the best route of action would be for treating this food aggression as well as other people's experience with wormer resistance and diarrhea.
                    Thanks,
                    MB

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would only add that multiple youngsters is not totally ideal. Sure, you can keep herds of young ones, but having an adult horse around who knows how to keep the peace would be the best situation. Absent an adult horse, the owners have to know what's what with young horses. And the sound of it is that they don't know enough to be handling 3 baby horses.

                      That's really the bottom line problem.

                      You might not know babies to be aggressive towards humans because you handle them properly.
                      "Friend" me !

                      http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well, that's the horse world for you. No matter how unsuitable the match, there's always someone willing to sell it to them anyway.

                        For the food aggression, the least they can do is separate the horses at feeding time. Three colts loose in a pen and the owners walking out with buckets is just a disaster waiting to happen. The whole situation sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, honestly, but especially if they're pasture feeding.

                        Anyway, the easiest solution requiring the least amount of actual skill is to separate the horses into stalls or separate pens. The kids should not be feeding at all right now until things are under control and they've established a routine. Adults need to dump feed, and keep the horse off of it until the ears are forward with a polite expression. If they don't have the skill to learn that, they need to come up with a system where they can dump feed without coming into contact with the horse.

                        And of course that is just a temporary measure to make sure the horses get fed while the owners either a) get a clue or b) get hurt/scared enough to give up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Babies can be brats too, especially when they are penned together and fed as a group by people who are totally clueless how to handle babies. Or themselves around babies.

                          I'd just take it back after they get hurt, which they will. Soon. Hopefully before they create a headshy, defensive, non trusting, mannerless, rapidly getting bigger yearling. The loose stools are probably the least of the problems here.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Memphis View Post
                            He has done some great things to prepare his home for the colts. Brand huge new sand filled paddock with a great shelter. Relatively good hay
                            MB
                            A sand paddock with relatively good hay??? I would treat for ulcers and check for sand in the stools. This is bound to end badly.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Any ideas for the owner on how to deal with the aggression??
                              By relatively good hay I meant nice clean timothy with a low percentage of alfalfa. I prefer a 50/50 mix.

                              Not sure why this thread is promoting that internet know-it-all attitude. I know I can be that way sometimes on a group where I don't know people personally and I make assumptions that they must be morons so I get it, but its just not helping.
                              I just really was hoping to get some good ideas on helping to improve the situation.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Actually it's not unusual for a weanling to test the limits at that age... and honestly, I'd probably have hit the baby with a bucket too... his dam would have kicked the snot out of him. A bucket is nothing compared to a hoof. If the new owner isn't a complete novice they'll work it out.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Memphis View Post
                                  Any ideas for the owner on how to deal with the aggression??
                                  By relatively good hay I meant nice clean timothy with a low percentage of alfalfa. I prefer a 50/50 mix.

                                  Not sure why this thread is promoting that internet know-it-all attitude. I know I can be that way sometimes on a group where I don't know people personally and I make assumptions that they must be morons so I get it, but its just not helping.
                                  I just really was hoping to get some good ideas on helping to improve the situation.


                                  You've gotten a few, and will no doubt continue to get more in time. This thread is new; give it a moment and you're sure to get more suggestions. Part of the problem is that retraining food aggression requires good timing and the ability to read the horse. Can't teach that over the Internet.

                                  You should not be surprised if you also get some judgment, based on the situation as you've reported it.

                                  I know for me personally, this is the point where I kinda start to question whether you're really a new poster, or an old one trying to prove a point about how "mean" people are on the COTH forums. Your post hits so many of the most provocative trigger points that it makes me a little suspicious. Please forgive me if I'm wrong.

                                  Selling a young horse into a situation like this is a terrible idea to anyone with half a clue about horses. To then wonder WHAT THE HECK???? when things go south strains belief. If you're getting a bit of attitude on this thread, that's probably where it's coming from.

                                  If you are for real, just sit back and wait for suggestions and ignore the rest. If not, please feel free to bring the drama - I will make some popcorn.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Memphis View Post
                                    Any ideas for the owner on how to deal with the aggression??
                                    By relatively good hay I meant nice clean timothy with a low percentage of alfalfa. I prefer a 50/50 mix.

                                    Not sure why this thread is promoting that internet know-it-all attitude. I know I can be that way sometimes on a group where I don't know people personally and I make assumptions that they must be morons so I get it, but its just not helping.
                                    I just really was hoping to get some good ideas on helping to improve the situation.
                                    You got some great advice...treat for ulcers (Gastroguard), separate at feeding time, Tell people that kids shouldn't be handling the weanlings, halter babies with a leadrope attached to treat/handle babies. I'd also tell them not to feed on sand. They are asking for sand colics.
                                    If they won't or can't do those things, take the weanling back.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                                      Young foals need to be double dosed by weight with strongid or panacur once a month. He has been stressed emotionally and physically and you have an uphill battle on your hands. <snip> This is a disaster in the making that I don't see an end to. Even if they get him through this crisis it doesn't sound like they have the knowledge to handle a young horse and train him to be a good citizen.
                                      yeah lots of people have no idea either how to worm babies or even (truly) handle them properly
                                      you are 100% correct.

                                      Tamara
                                      Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                      I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I am a total new user to this forum. I decided to join a few weeks ago when I was researching a OTTB that I had just bought and found her being discussed here.

                                        I will definitely take some blame for sending my colt to this situation but things are not always as black and white as they seem and I am sure many of you have been in awkward situations as well.

                                        These are friends of mine - not close friends - but I have known them for a long time. They were very serious about getting into horses and no amount of convincing would get them to buy one or two adult horses or ponies as I thought that would be most appropriate for their kids. The husband is the one with horse experience - he and his father used to buy and break PMU colts and sell them so I "assumed" (based on many conversations) he would have a basic handle on things.
                                        He also has access to good horse people.
                                        I had about a billion conversations before and after the purchase of my colt and also sent him to another reputable breeder as he wanted a western pleasure bred type colt. That breeder had no qualms about selling him two colts.

                                        This situation changed directions over the course of the summer. He was originally supposed to get only two colts which we all know is still much easier then three. He did a lot of good things. To ensure they had good footing - because he is a low area he brought in 20 semi loads of clay fill for his paddock and then several more semi-loads of sand to prevent mud. They have a nice treed area that is grass and he has built them a great shelter. He has made sure to have a good hay supply for winter and he is already looking ahead to send colts to trainer at the appropriate age. Oh yes, and he plans to geld all three this fall.

                                        It really just comes back to the inappropriateness of the situation. Colts will be colts and young children don't have a place with them til they learn how to present themselves and be alert. I am disappointed that after all these conversations with him regarding colts and the things that come up that it is taking the smallest things for this guy to "give up'. When he first got the other two colts one of them was being a bit rude (not the same level as my colt) but nippy and stepping on them. Even then he was talking about getting rid of that one.
                                        I gave him some advice and that it worked well for clearing up that issue.

                                        I breed Paint horses and take good care of them. I never walk around my young horses without being completely aware of where and what they are doing. Its their typical silliness and exuberance that can get anybody hurt if they are not on the ball.

                                        I have asked for help on this forum because I am in a no win situation. If I could go back in time I would not have sold him the colt. I was swayed by his enthusiasm and get it done attitude. I am usually very careful about matching horses ( anyone who knows me personally can testify to that) but yes I have made a mistake.
                                        I can't just swoop in and take the colt as it would damage things badly so I am I am hoping they can get the situation under control. We have plans to go there this weekend.

                                        The thing is I am also pissed off. I spent oodles of time explaining the hazards of young horses and children prior to the sale and spent the summer on the phone discussing a million horse things with him. A week into them owning this colt I am being blamed for selling a sick colt (was healthy and alert, normal stool, eating and drinking - I wouldn't even deliver him on the day we planned cause the weather was the shits) and that has aggression issues that he says will probably have to be sold. (this was the most laid back colt of the three this summer)

                                        After all the conversations and help - what was he expecting would happen with three colts?

                                        Comment

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