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What do you do with your breeding program culls?

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  • What do you do with your breeding program culls?

    What do you do with foals that do not meet up with your expectations in conformation and movement. Do you give them away, with or without papers? Do you try to sell them?

  • #2
    not meet up with expectations is unfortunately a wide field.
    Let me put it that way:
    If conformation is not good enough to allow a living as sound riding horse I would really think hard. I have put down a foal that had a twisted leg from in the front from knee downwards. It was a 30% chance that it would be straight after operation. It would have menat weaning at month 2, operation 8 weeks of stiff bandages etc. and physiotherapy, no gurantee at all that the even straight leg would last riding. So decided to have it put down which they did in the vet clinic where he was already for 10days for treatment.

    A foal that did not meet my expectations from movement and/or conformation I had only once. All my foals are branded and get papers. Almost no one over here buys a foal without papers. there was one filly I that did not move as expected as a foal. I sold her for a smaller amount. It was still a nice filly and pretty and developped into a good riding horse.
    It may sound highnosed but I think due to the fact I breed with mares that have been above average in the last generations in the damline (Maybe not top top class, but certainly above average). They are wellbred.
    I am always thinking a lot back and forth and do not use the so called flavour of the day, but something I am convinced will be at least result in a pretty and decent moving foal.
    This kind of breeding reduces the risk of getting culls. So I am not forced to decide something like that. But if I would be really really disappointed, I may contact a dealer in our area. Or try privately for a small amount.
    I am not responsible for spelling misstacks - just my PC
    www.hannoveranerzuechter.de
    2017: Lissaro - SPS Don Frederico - Prince Thatch and Finnigan - Sandro Hit - Rouletto

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    • #3
      I have had 2 septic foals who would not have straight limbs due to birth position and/or sepsis. If they would have been colts I likely would have put them down. As fillies I put the money into them and one was put down due to a not successful out come and the other has been bred. Her first foal was the 2nd septic filly and we will see what happens on this 2nd foal. If it is not up to standard I will not continue breeding her. She may be sound and be a pleasure horse if not she will be put down if I can't care for her. She has many super traits and a couple I think are questionable...she did pass inspection. I have worked in animal care a long time and am ok with euthanizing animals whose quality of life will be marginal or very risky. PatO

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      • #4
        We have had three - two fillies and a colt. Both of the fillies were born 30+ days early and were extremely contracted. The first one corrected with splints and we gave her away as a yearling. Her dam had had several foals previously- all normal - but was retired after this one.
        The second filly was mare's first foal and a red bag as well as being a preemie. We gave her to a good friend of ours who had check ligament surgery done on one leg. She is now being ridden and is very much loved by her owner. The mare has gone on to have two other normal foals.

        The colt was a "dwarf". Very strange as he looked normal as a foal but never got very big. We gave him away to a family who's young son broke him to ride by himself. He is still small, but has turned into a great little horse. The mare was never bred again.
        Last edited by foxhavenfarm; Jan. 31, 2013, 07:56 AM.
        Fox Haven Farm, Inc.
        Home of 2002 JC Registered stallion Artrageous

        Artrageous has his own Facebook page!

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        • #5
          well I guess that depends on what exactly is wrong with them. I have only had one with contracted tendons as a preemie/red bag foal with real physical issues as opposed to "just does not move quite as well as I hoped for from the breeding". The latter are sold priced to move. The mare is also moved along if she has more than one foal that does not live up to expectations. The one with the tendons I kept hoping his legs would straighten out in time (though sadly he broke a leg in a pasture accident and had to be put down at only 3 months old/probably kicked) but oddly enough I had tons of people that still wanted that colt. He was very well bred and had the best personality ever on a horse. He was bold as you please the more dog than horse for personality...in your face friendly that ran up to everyone and greeted them.
          Providence Farm
          http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            If healthy, but lacks in movement, type, or general athleticism I would put under saddle and sell for the right price. There are many young amateurs that could benefit from this. It helps support our up an coming riders. Many of them could not afford one of mine so I would look at it as a way of giving back.

            If it has health issues, but will live I try to give it away. If there is a chance that it will live a long life of pain, then the decision to euthanize is justified.

            If it is healthy horse you have a responsibility to care for your own. It is harder to find a good home to give them away to then someone who is willing to pay. You register it, because you bred it. We are all going to make a dud or two. We shouldn't devalue a horse just because we are afraid someone will find out we bred it. That behavoir lacks character and is not becoming of our industry.

            Tim
            Sparling Rock Holsteiners
            www.sparlingrock.com

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            • #7
              I am not a breeder, but as a buyer I am interested to hear that even these foals with problems or who did not live up to expectations are still inspected and given papers.

              I thought the point of inspecting foals was so that only foals of a certain quality were acknowledged as a Han/Hol/KWPN, etc by incluson in their registry book. If you have a filly who is not a good example of the breed, can you still register her and breed her?

              What does that do for improvement of the breed?
              "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

              Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lord Helpus View Post
                If you have a filly who is not a good example of the breed, can you still register her and breed her?

                What does that do for improvement of the breed?
                I think the point is - if the horse is sound and rideable, it is much easier to find them a suitable home if they are registered. Registration doesn't mean breeding approval.

                We register all of them. I've also had youngsters that ended up being quite nice once they went under saddle - so I've learned, don't "give up" on them if they aren't so fancy as foals - some of them grow into themselves and are much better movers under saddle. I haven't had one yet that was a conformational wreck luckily, just a few that weren't as "fancy" as I'd like.

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                • #9
                  In the case of fillies/mares--isn't there usually a difference in most registries of the mare being inspected/branded as a Hanoverian (for example)--yes that's what she is, and being approved for breeding Hanoverians?? If she's not up to snuff for breeding, then she won't get approved. But IMO there's no reason she couldn't still be papered as a Hanoverian, because that's what her breeding is. She may do well at the lower levels and the owner may like the fact that they are riding a "Hanoverian" that has an identity and a mother & father.

                  And as for colts, they are going to be gelded and cannot therefore breed, so why not still paper them just because they aren't as nice as you would have hoped?

                  I feel there's the right career (or no career) and the right person for just about every horse as long as they are healthy and sound. Even if their conformation/movement is pretty sub-standard, most horses can still be fairly useful at a low level and make somebody who doesn't have unrealistic ambitions for the horse very happy. Of course they would just be priced accordingly.

                  OTOH, if the foal is set to have major health and/or soundness issues and be in pain for the rest of it's life, I would definitely consider euthanizing depending on how bad it is.

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                  • #10
                    The one really disapointing foal I had was sold in-utero.
                    The foal was straight and healthy and very good looking but was really inferior to both parents.
                    One of the risk of buying in-utero I suppose.
                    The people that bought the foal put it for sale about a week after it got home for three time the price that I sold it to them for.
                    It sold.
                    So what you might not like, others might.... I guess.
                    Still scratching my head on that one....
                    Véronique
                    www.FormosusSporthorses.ca
                    Like us on Facebook

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by enyo44 View Post
                      What do you do with foals that do not meet up with your expectations in conformation and movement. Do you give them away, with or without papers? Do you try to sell them?
                      I once asked a well known German breeder and stallion owner this question. His answer - "Ride them."

                      When I pressed him for more info, he said, "Well, we sell them as riding horses. Some become nice horses for the owners to have fun with after a busy day at work, and maybe even show at local competitions. Some become 'husband horses'. Some become school mounts."

                      I again pressed him - "What about the ones with very serious conformation flaws (malformations), or health issues, that maybe don't have a good chance of ever becoming a riding horse, or of staying sound even at very low levels?"

                      At this, he shrugged, and said very matter-of-factly - "Those horses take the big sleep."

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                      • #12
                        I have to say, I am pretty repulsed by the people who are saying they would put down a foal healthy enough to live because it doesn't meet certain standards. If you can't afford to keep a lemon or two, you can't afford to be breeding horses and should get out of the business. These are lives we are talking about, not objects!

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                        • #13
                          Inspecting foals is strictly for registration purposes and then to evaluate what a particular mare/stallion combination will produce. Registration is just a record of the particular foal (not authorization to breed) and has nothing to do with breeding approval which usually gets done at 3 years old for mares (sometimes later) and at 2 1/2 - 3 years for stallions which then go on to take the stallion test (required for approval). That said, there are still varying degrees in the quality within the mare population even though they get inspected/approved for breeding.

                          Breeders have a responsibility to take care of what they produce (including registration) so if the foal had a certain health issue but still can live a happy and useful life, I would keep it or give it away to a suitable home that is informed about its needs. Any foal that has such a serious issue that would compromise its quality of life (unable to move or function normally or in pain), it should he euthanized. It's the only kind thing to do. If the horse is otherwise healthy but just lacks in conformation, movement or athleticism, I would get it started under saddle and price it accordingly.

                          I have been told by many breeders (and I believe it as well) that most riding horses are the "by product" of the breeding industry..... you should keep the best for breeding

                          Edited for: spelling!
                          Last edited by Mistysmom; Jan. 31, 2013, 02:31 PM.
                          Westbrook Farm
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Snowfox View Post
                            I have to say, I am pretty repulsed by the people who are saying they would put down a foal healthy enough to live because it doesn't meet certain standards. If you can't afford to keep a lemon or two, you can't afford to be breeding horses and should get out of the business. These are lives we are talking about, not objects!
                            I don't think anyone is coming back saying they'd put down a foal that could lead a normal quality of life, or even be comfortable given away as a pet. What I see people saying for the most part is that a serviceable but not fancy horse still gets registered and sold for less or given away. A horse that will be chronically lame however it's better to euthanize. That is not about keeping or not keeping a lemon. That's about future quality of life. Horses need their legs and are not meant to survive long term on medicines like bute.... If they need it from the beginning just to get around, what sort of life can they expect?
                            The rebel in the grey shirt

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Snowfox View Post
                              I have to say, I am pretty repulsed by the people who are saying they would put down a foal healthy enough to live because it doesn't meet certain standards. If you can't afford to keep a lemon or two, you can't afford to be breeding horses and should get out of the business. These are lives we are talking about, not objects!
                              I think most people are talking about euthing the ones with serious problems, not just simple conformation issues. The "lemons" as you say, are the ones sold as riding horses as long as they are healthy and sound.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by JWB View Post
                                I don't think anyone is coming back saying they'd put down a foal that could lead a normal quality of life, or even be comfortable given away as a pet. What I see people saying for the most part is that a serviceable but not fancy horse still gets registered and sold for less or given away. A horse that will be chronically lame however it's better to euthanize. That is not about keeping or not keeping a lemon. That's about future quality of life. Horses need their legs and are not meant to survive long term on medicines like bute.... If they need it from the beginning just to get around, what sort of life can they expect?
                                ^^^ What she said! If the horse needs serious "help" to even be a pasture puff then yes, I would euth it.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Snowfox View Post
                                  I have to say, I am pretty repulsed by the people who are saying they would put down a foal healthy enough to live because it doesn't meet certain standards. If you can't afford to keep a lemon or two, you can't afford to be breeding horses and should get out of the business. These are lives we are talking about, not objects!
                                  And that is the difference - the European breeders consider them to be livestock, not backyard pets. Same as cattle, same as swine, same as poultry. If the product is so "defective" it cannot provide a useful purpose, it is removed from the payroll. Most of those breeders (the larger ones, at least) are running their operation as a business - the more overhead they have supporting animals that cannot be useful to the operation, the less profit they make.

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                                  • #18
                                    yes but in Europe, they don't euthanize: they go to the local packing plant. If the foal did not have serious conformational issues (Ex: twisted leg, etc) then there is no reason to "cull" it. Judging a foal at that age for what it is going to be 3-8 years down the road sounds silly to me. If it is perfectly normal and healthy but maybe isn't the "fanciest" thing in the pasture; who cares. Often times those are the best horses who are most enjoyed by their owners.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Lord Helpus View Post
                                      I thought the point of inspecting foals was so that only foals of a certain quality were acknowledged as a Han/Hol/KWPN, etc by incluson in their registry book. If you have a filly who is not a good example of the breed, can you still register her and breed her?

                                      What does that do for improvement of the breed?
                                      I was hoping someone (else) would respond, because you asked a good question.

                                      They are not approved for breeding because they went to a foal inspection. That is where the bar is set--on the horses being inspected for breeding (not foals at inspection). Some registries grade foals and give scores, others do not. Some may have awards for top foal at the inspection site, etc.

                                      I do not know of any studbook that inspects foals and actually keeps them out of the registry--they are still Hanoverian, or whatever, because that's what their parents were approved for. BTW, I don't think KWPN requires foal inspection, (I know someone will correct me if I'm wrong) and I'm not 100% sure on all other registries either.

                                      This is also why I don't understand the OP's question about giving a foal away without papers. The foal isn't approved for breeding until it goes to mare/stallion inspection. If it is healthy and useful then I would assume it is just sold for whatever the market will bear as a riding horse prospect (vs, say a stallion prospect). Culling, to me, is selling your mares that do not produce up to your standards, or replacing your mares with better mares. The goal is to continually improve. Hopefully, if you are breeding, you have very nice mare(s) to start with.


                                      *OOPS sorry, Mistysmom did answer the question. I read the responses too quickly.
                                      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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                                      • #20
                                        Maybe OP was not talking just warmbloods. I have known AQHA breeders to give culls away without papers to keep them from being bred (and to keep the breeder's name from being associated with the cull and what it might produce down the line if given papers). Lots of TB racehorses are given away without papers to keep them from being raced/bred in the future.

                                        There are no "inspections" for many breed organizations -- anything with papers can be bred and its offspring registered. I don't blame the breeders I know who withheld papers -- they don't have any other mechanism for preventing poor-quality horses from being bred once sold, besides putting them down which seems extreme if the horse is otherwise sound. Of course, there's no guarantee the horse still won't be bred, but it is less likely without the papers.

                                        It's much different in WB breeding where you have the inspection/approval for breeding layer of protection.

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