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WWYD - wean a 5 month old filly?

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  • WWYD - wean a 5 month old filly?

    Filly is quite large, sticks at over 12 hands at 5 months. She is a dream temperament, easy to handle, loves to be groomed, etc. Her sister is 16.2 as a long two year old, brother is over 16.3 at 5 years old. Mom is in very good weight, she could stand to go back to work. Mom would be sent to a friends place for a couple of weeks during weaning. Filly would have a gelding across the fence for company.

    Weaning days for Dec are basically now. Weather is very good in CA, some fog but basically warm afternoons.

    Would you wean this month or wait?

    Thanks for your input.

  • #2
    I'm not sure I understand what the potential issue is here..?! There's nothing wrong with weaning at 5 months as long as the filly is eating hay on her own and fairly independent... that said, you better separate them for a heck of a lot longer than 2 weeks, my dear! She'll go right back to nursing otherwise! lol

    ps - is this a WB or TB foal?? 12hh at 5 months seems awfully small.... mine was 13hh at 5 months and I don't expect him to finish much over 16hh..


    • #3
      The age does not worry me. However, if I read your post correctly, weaning and then having the filly alone across from a gelding is a worry. Weanlings need companions - preferably other weanlings - but at the very least some other equine companion.
      Mary Lou


      Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


      • #4
        Hey au_panda - I was just in your neck of the woods today! I have a five month old colt that we are just starting to wean - BUT based on readiness NOT just age. Max is pretty independent (from mom) and we have put him with my older gelding to play with during the day (right now) and then he goes back with mom in the evening. We'll do this for a few more weeks (mom's udder is going down and we have worked our way up to this length of time). Mom is in the pasture right next door (which cannot be done in every situation) and both are fine with it it. He is learning to eat breakfast and lunch out of his very own feeder and the hierarchy of sharing a pasture with someone OTHER than mom - then he gets dinner, along with his "nightcap" from the "milk bar" with his mum.

        It sounds like your baby may be ready. I think it may be more traumatic for your baby (and possibly the mare) to lose mom and not have a friend to play with and get comfort from. Even with the mild weather, they can lose weight and get sick pretty quickly. My first baby did - she got a high fever and mysterious infection for few weeks afterwards. She recovered and is fine now (all grown up) - but she did not have a friend to console her and keep her mind off of mom. I learned from THAT mistake. Good Luck!
        Anney Daugherty
        Winsmore Farm


        • #5
          Ditto what ML said, company would be my biggest concern. If she is alone I would worry that she will either run and go through a fence or try to jump out to get to another horse nearby-they need a companion.
          I keep my weanlings locked up together or with another horse in a stall next to them for a minimum of 3 days when I wean. The broodmares go on 24 hour turnout across a road so they cannot see/hear each other.


          • Original Poster

            Slight clarification, the mare will leave for a couple of weeks, she will not go back in with the filly when she comes back so continued nursing is not a possibility. The mare only leaves as I don't have enough space to get them out of earshot of each other.

            The filly has been eating out of her own bucket for a couple of months now and she gets mom to share hers as well. If anything, the filly is able to get to more feed than she actually needs. That's actually my concern at this point, she loves her (and her mom's) food and if anything, I'd like to restrict her consumption a bit.


            • #7
              They really do not have to be out of earshot. We are able to keep a weanling with at least one other similarly-aged foal and a gelding as well. The mare joins the other horses that are in a big field right next to the field where the weanlings are. We too usually spend a few days with the weanlings apart from their moms for the day and back together at night. We have seen no trauma whatsoever on anyone's part. Some mares are a bit worried at the beginning, but our experience has been that the babies are quite blase about the whole affair. We do assess their readiness for weaning more on the basis of maturity and independence than age.
              Sakura Hill Farm
              Now on Facebook

              Young and developing horses for A-circuit jumper and hunter rings.


              • #8
                I wean anywhere from 5 to 6 months.

                Even the most devoted mom is happy to wave goodbye to the foal.

                In my case, mom is in a pen 20 feet from her foal, no problem.

                Unfortunately, I have an only child and no one for her to play with. I turned out my Routinier yearling gelding with my filly and they played a bit, but he wanted to go back with his herd in the front paddock and she went back and stood by herself next to other horses.

                While she was turned out with the yearling, the mother was whinnying in a very worried tone.

                The filly is next to my elderly mare, at least mid 20s, and mother of 10 foals.

                Foal doesn't seem stressed.


                • #9
                  I agree with Home Again Farm. I would wait until you have someone you can put her with. She can't go out with the gelding? The easiest would be to put them all together now, then wean in a few weeks, when the filly is comfortable with the gelding.


                  • Original Poster

                    My gelding is not a suitable companion for the filly. He is only 6 and is too aggressive himself in his "play" to be an "uncle".

                    You all did get me curious about size so when I got home I measured her again - my first measurements were from last month She sticks at a little over 13 hands at the withers and 14 hands and 1/2 inch behind - we have a little catching up to do in the front end.

                    She is a very calm filly and I may try separating Mom and her for part of the day over the weekend while I'm home. They can be next to each other in grassy paddocks and I'll see how she takes that.

                    Again, thanks for the input.


                    • #11
                      Barbara - horse are very sociable animals and as such need companionship more than an over-the-fence situation offers. For your filly's benefit I would suggest you find a suitable cpmpanion(s) for her to share her paddock. Keeping young horses in solitary confinement borders on cruelty as far as I'm concerned.
                      Siegi Belz
                      2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                      Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by au_panda View Post
                        My gelding is not a suitable companion for the filly. He is only 6 and is too aggressive himself in his "play" to be an "uncle".
                        I have had fantastic results putting newly weaned foals with 3, 4, 5, 6, etc geldings. Even those that tend to play rough. They become mush when presented with a baby. If you allow the gelding to be with mom and baby before weaning, mom will give her protection and a buffer. You will probably find they both have ditched mom within a few days.

                        The biggest problem I have when introducing babies to the geldings is that they are eager to be with the baby, and the baby tends to run, not realizing that the gelding just wants to be a friend. If they are together first with mom, the baby learns to trust.
                        Last edited by Fairview Horse Center; Dec. 5, 2008, 12:46 AM.


                        • #13
                          Good point Fairview. While I could not put "Uncle" with mom and baby first, because this mom is a "hind ruling alpha", I did put "Uncle" in pasture next door to mom and baby. Mom kicked the fence at first, but got over it after awhile. Baby was immediately intrigued and then after a few weeks we allowed baby to join "Uncle", but didn't move mom.
                          Anney Daugherty
                          Winsmore Farm


                          • #14
                            Foals, weanlings, yearlings, and up---all horses---need to be out with other horses. I have really never understood lone turnout for any horse let alone a youngster. I would never paddock a weanling alone--even next to another horse. Known of enough broken legs of youngsters going over fences.
                            Ladybug Hill--Hunters and Ponies
                            WWSD? (what would Suerte do?)


                            • #15
                              Do you have any nearby friends or neighbors who will be weaning shortly? Maybe you can borrow a friend (preferably another filly or gelded colt) for her.
                              "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).


                              • #16
                                I have never weaned one alone. Ever. Not good. Try for another plan.
                                hunter/jumper ponies


                                • #17
                                  It's hard having one weanling. I have one weanling now and put him with a 2 year old. How about if I drop off my weanling with you Au Panda?
                                  www.grayfoxfarms.com Home of Redwine, Aloha, Federalist, Romantic Star and Rated R.


                                  • #18
                                    Grayfox and au_panda - we can add them with my colt, Max with Uncle Eurie - then they can all keep each other company!
                                    Anney Daugherty
                                    Winsmore Farm


                                    • #19
                                      Sounds great with me!
                                      www.grayfoxfarms.com Home of Redwine, Aloha, Federalist, Romantic Star and Rated R.


                                      • #20
                                        I only had 1 foal this year too

                                        After he went to inspection (4.5 months) I introduced my 20 year old gelding to their pasture. Cadet and Hailey had been pasture buddies until she foaled and seperated ever since. My gelding learned to babysit Aiden and play dad.

                                        Aiden was hurt in September and had surgery at UCD (put foot thru fence) so he and his mom were on stall rest for 4 weeks. They were SICK of each other by then. So October 1st I put Aiden in his own stall between his mom and my gelding. He never yelled or cared. He had 2 more weeks of stall confinement in his own stall too.

                                        When the TBs went back to pasture I put my daughters pony in the stall next to him for company. When he was cleared for turnout he spent most of his time alone in a pasture area off his stall with his mom and my gelding in the pasture next to him and the pony in the pasture on the other side. I'd put him in the pasture with my gelding for a few hours each day and all day on the weekends.

                                        But I felt he needed a playmate of his own. I just adopted a 6 month old filly from a rescue in Auburn for him. We've had her for 2 weeks today and they are inseperable. He's happy having a buddy his size to grow up with.
                                        Cloverfox Stables