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Baby moving, wean first or just move her?

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  • Baby moving, wean first or just move her?

    I got a baby I'm moving to Wyoming at 3 months. The breeder is in Wyoming, and she weans her babies at 3 months and they'll all play together in the big green pastures.

    I'm currently in a boarding barn situation where I can't really separate mom and baby unless they are next to each other in the turnouts or something. At this point, baby is almost 2 months old, and I can put her in a separate turnout if mom has food to distract her. Baby is pretty independant and doesn't seem to care a whole lot, but she's busy exploring so maybe that's why.

    When the baby is weaned, mom is moving to a new stall. So that'll be some distraction in itself.

    I wasn't sure if I should try and separate them now (not for good, just short periods so they get used to it) or just do it all at once when I move the baby.

    Baby is already eating hay and supplements on her own, growing like a weed.

    My other mare is going to Ft Collins for surgery at CSU, so baby will have company on most of the trip.

  • #2
    3 months is too soon IMO... and if you don't have other babies for your foal to be with, it's WAY too soon.

    Oh, and short periods of separation are a good idea.. but doing it all at once can create a very dangerous situation. Your baby might very well fatally injure herself because she is so upset (I’ve seen it happen).


    • Original Poster

      that's why I'm moving her to wyoming, to play with her 15 cousins, they're all 3 months old too.


      • #4
        Originally posted by mrsbwayne View Post
        that's why I'm moving her to wyoming, to play with her 15 cousins, they're all 3 months old too.
        I don't think putting her in a trailor and driving her off as a means of weaning her is a great idea... just my opinon.


        • #5
          When I was a child in Colorado, the next door neighbors did exactly that, and opened the trailer door at their destination to find a dead weanling. THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO THIS!
          Sakura Hill Farm
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          Young and developing horses for A-circuit jumper and hunter rings.


          • #6
            Weaning at 3 months is way too early - it doesn't matter how "independent" the foal may seem. And then to put it through all the stress of trailering in addition to weaning is just indefensible as far as I'm concerned. Just because it's convenient to you doesn't mean it's good for the foal.....

            At three months the baby will ship just fine with its mother. And please get those Hallmark pictures of baby playing in a field with 15 other foals out of your mind. That's something that will happen gradually if you know what you're doing. Remember, your foal will be the outsider trying to gain admittance to the herd.

            You obviously had doubts about this situation which is why you presented it on this BB. Please heed some of the advice.....

            Good luck!

            Ok, now I just re-read the original post. The baby isn't even 2 months old and you think you need to start weaning now or wait and throw the foal on the trailer to wean.... I don't even think I have an answer to that.
            Siegi Belz
            2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
            Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


            • #7
              Babies don't just merge into a new herd easily even if they are other babies. Even with different groups raised here on the same farm, we gradually introduce them to new herd members and buddy them up with one other foal first. To add the stress of new herd, a new environment ,and a trailer ride to the extreme stress of weaning so early is really risking your foal's health and possibly life.
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              • #8
                Can you take mom and baby there together now and atleast leave them for a month or so to be introduced to the group? If they can turn them all out and then remove your mare after a month it may work better as the foal will then be "established" into the herd to some degree. Otherwise I would not even consider it until the foal was older.
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                • #9
                  My concern would be that a foal's immune system is not completely mature until they are 3-6 months old. Foal is still getting antibodies from Mom through the milk, even if they aren't drinking a whole lot. So you ship the baby, with a potentially immature immune system, to a new place with lots of new germs. The vet bills will be 100s of times higher than the cost of keeping baby with Mom a few more months.
                  "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

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                  • #10
                    Agreed. Do whatever you can to not wean her for another couple of months. If that means bringing Mom along to Wyoming, fine. If it means leaving them both where they are, fine.

                    Also, I am a wholehearted believer in gradual weaning. It's best if you can introduce her to another horse who will be kind to her and help her feel secure. (But not allow her to nurse, of course.) With my little one, I turned my 'nanny' horse out with mom and baby at about 4 months. They had known each other from across the fence before that. I had the most non-dramatic weaning imaginable. At 5 1/2 months, I put Mom in the trailer, she and Baby nickered goodbye to each other and then went back to eating their hay. No screaming, no running, nothing. Just 'See you later' followed by 'Mmmmm, hay!'


                    • Original Poster

                      Other issues are:

                      Only have a 2 horse trailer, and need to take other mare for surgery. It's not life threatening, but CSU is on the way to wyoming, seems silly to make and extra trip all the way up there. Ditto with taking mom along, then I just have to drive back up there in a month and pick mom up.

                      Weather. If I wait to long, it'll be cold up there, and baby is in CA now. I figure this way it'll be a gradual climate change. I could go end of August and give her an extra month with mom, not a huge deal. But I dno't want to drop her off up there, or drive over the divide, when there's snow.


                      • #12
                        WAY too early.
                        Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist


                        • #13
                          It seems everyone is on board and agreement on this one. Way to early. Scary early the way you plan on doing it. Find another way. She needs to be with mom. I don't care if she has 40 other babies to play with. Just plain wrong.
                          hunter/jumper ponies


                          • #14
                            Why do you want the baby to go to Wyoming? Just to play with other babies? Are you going to be able to keep an eye on the little one at all?

                            Unless there are some very good reasons for the baby to go to Wyoming, I would not wean the baby until 6 months, or close to it. I definitely would not take a equine that young on such a long trailer ride.


                            • #15
                              I am in agreement with everyone.

                              I've started 'day' or 'night' weaning a foal at four mos for medical reasons for them or the mare--separating for 6-8 hrs tops, foal NEXT to Mum but with their own free choice MILK REPLACER/Foal formulated ration... Not full weaning though, even then.

                              The only thing I'll add is I was quite shocked at how difficult the adjustment was for my SEVEN month old filly when she came home in November last year. My herd (including a filly 2mos younger, an immature 3yo, and a broodie whose been the 'community mom' and nursed others foals) was ROTTEN to her, and she was lost and miserable for far longer than I expected. It was awful. And she was a very independant, alpha type filly. I've always weaned my own into family groups, and honestly, in the last.. oh, 20 years or so not experienced bringing an 'outside' weanling into a new herd. It was really quite traumatic.

                              I really know gas prices suck. I understand the *idea*... but honestly, there are VERY few things this many of us on this board AGREE on. This is one of them. <shrugs>
                              Last edited by pintopiaffe; Jun. 6, 2008, 10:32 PM.
                              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

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                              • #16
                                Are you selling this foal or giving it to the breeder with 15 foals? If not, I cannot see a good reason to take the foal there at this age. The risks are just too great for 1) early weaning, 2) transporting without it's dam at an early age and 3) introduction into a large herd. Foal herds are still a herd and a newcomer will be plenty scared...possibly getting itself quite injured or worse. I'm sure not all the foals in the weanling herd are 3 months at the exact same time either so some will be older, stronger and you will always have a heirarchy, even with foals. And to be honest, I would be very concerned to leave my baby with a breeder who weans their foals at 3 months of age. Mother nature wouldn't wean a foal at 3 months of age so why do people want to do it that young?

                                I have had to wean a couple of foals at close to 4 months of age due to the dam's health and it did not go well. They were in a very stable low-stress environment, I didn't move them to a different farm or trailer them a long distance. They physically went downhill even though their older counterparts at 5-6 months did just fine with the same environment and variables. That extra couple of months makes a big difference.
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                                • #17
                                  Borrow a larger trailer. Take all three and leave momma and baby in Wyoming. Then use your other trailer to pick up momma and surgery horse a month later.

                                  But three months is waaaay too young to wean.
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                                  • #18
                                    Agreed, we wean at 6 mo... I couldn't imagine doing it at 3, they are just not ready, physically or emotionally.

                                    When our foals leave for their new homes, we wean at LEAST 2 weeks prior if not more... just so they can settle into their new life as their own horse before things change again. It has worked great. I wouldn't dare try to put a foal on a trailer that was not yet weaned, that seems like asking for disaster with a panicking foal, and a bad experience too. Hope this helps!
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                                    • #19
                                      Having a 2 horse trailer, you would still have to make 2 trips, so take baby later.
                                      Your foal will have to haul loose in an open box, with or without mom. You can't tie her in a single stall.

                                      What I would do is to wean Sept 1 (at 5 months) and ship a week later. When is there snow in Colorado?


                                      • #20
                                        DEFINITELY wouldn't wean at 3 months and put this baby on a trailer to Wyoming. I agree totally with others. "playing with" other foals isn't a valid reason for pulling a foal off a mare at 3 months and risking it's health (possibly dying from dehydration) now. We will also NEVER ship foals long distances unless it's an air ride rig or there can be damage to their legs and joints from the vibration of a regular 2 horse.

                                        Why go through all the trouble of breeding a mare and getting a nice foal on the ground only to risk losing her??? She should be left on the mare fo5 at least 5 months - we wean later than that.

                                        Good heavens is this the only place you can find to send your foal to have turn out after weaning?? Really it's ridiculous to risk losing a foal when I'm sure there are plenty of places near you - where you can actually keep tabs on the foal - after it's weaned at about 5 months.
                                        Last edited by ise@ssl; Jun. 7, 2008, 10:21 AM.
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