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Weaning on small acreage?

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  • Weaning on small acreage?

    As weaning time approaches I am trying to decide if I can easily wean my foal and mare on my farm or if the mare should go back to the stud farm for a little R & R.

    The horses are on about 10 acres of an 18 acre farm. There are several paddocks and two barns. There really isn't anyplace to put them where they can't hear each other calling.

    I've done brief seperations where jr is with his older gelding and he's fine but then the mare will become super anxious in the barn with a buddy. Some days she seems to care less where he is, and other days she can't stand the seperation even for a minute. Same goes for him, it seems.

    They are fine when in adjoining stalls.

    Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

  • #2
    I have a smaller acreage than that and separation is difficult, I have sent mare to farm for six weeks. Weanings have been a non-issue for foal, out of sight out of mind, I guess. Mare practically leaps into the trailer and seems relieved to be rid of junior for a while.


    • #3
      I've done off farm and this year am going to attempt on (similar scenario as you, but more independant mare/foal).

      I'm just deciding whether to keep them next to eachother so they can be together but the foal can't nurse, or put them away from eachother. I'm leaning toward away - only b/c the ONLY reason my filly cares about mom AT ALL is for milk. I think she'll scream and whine just as much with mom touching noses with her as with her out of sight but in hearing range. B/c she can't get to the milk supply....
      Celtic Pride Farm
      Become a fan on Facebook!


      • #4
        With our last six foals, we have just put them in seperate stalls at night, and left the daily turnout either together or in nearby paddocks. Our mares have all been very easy going, and it has always been a non-issue. With the current foal, I think we will turn him out in the paddock with the geldings and keep the mare inside during those times. Then keep the foal in with a buddy and turn the mare out. We don't do 24/7 turnout, and there is always someone around the barn, so it is easier than if we had to deal with a work schedule.
        If this was a filly, and my mare was in love with it, we might handle things differently, but she's pretty sick of him at this point and seperating them in and around the barn has gone smoothly. My only worry will be when we start turning him out with the geldings and have to worry about him possibly running the fence.
        Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


        • #5
          I have 10 acres as well. Weaning was actually a piece of cake.

          First they were in stalls next to each other. I'd doubled up the pipe panels seperating their paddocks so he couldn't try and nurse through them. From the day I seperated them there wasn't any screaming. Aiden was always independent and Hailey was ready for a break I think. Then Hailey went to the pasture with my gelding. Aiden had accress to his stall and the riding area that shared a common fenceline with my TB's. He would hang out next to the ponys paddock as well. He never dropped weight and everyone was content. I did get another weanling so he had a playmate so they had the front pasture and the TBs the other and after a month had passed and I didn't have to worry about nursing they all went back together in one pasture.

          It was SO much easier than I had heard it would be.
          Cloverfox Stables


          • #6
            Separation not a big deal, as it turned out.

            Yeah, I always stress out at weaning time. I have a smallish farm too and have always separated on the farm - lots of calling. Tried something last time that worked amazingly well.

            I put foal and mom in paddocks immediately next to each other, but baby could not nurse through fence. Both had good friends with them in each paddock, with grass fields attached. The mare would call the foal or vice versa and they would come and meet at the gate, stand there for a bit, then go graze again. They called to each other and came over to be together for a few days, but they were never frantic about it, kinda "how are you? Check in?" then go about their own days. Neither mare nor foal tried to get through or over the fence at each other.

            It was the easiest weaning ever - on all three involved, LOL.
            Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
            ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


            • #7
              Exactly as they have stated and experienced here - side by side weaning is the easiest ever! No screaming as with a separation. When the weanling can't nurse they just wander off and lose interest. I've done all of mine this way and would never do it another way.
              Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.


              • #8
                We have a small barn with attached paddocks and then a field down a hill with a turnout shed. We have always sent our mares out during weaning but this year have two foals and are hoping they can bond and ease the weaning process. We will put the foals in stalls, and lead mares to paddocks below. And then blast music in the barn so they can't hear the whinnying.
                Vixen Run Farm: Breeding and training ponies for the hunter ring!
                Breeder of the 2008 PAHBF's Best PA Bred Pony!


                • #9
                  Another vote for side by side. We've learned after many years of weaning that there is no need to put them through the rip-them-apart emotional and physical stress.

                  We simply lead the mares into an adjoining pasture and voila. They hang at the fence with each other for a day or two an then they wander off. We also wait until babies are about 6 months or more. By then the moms are sick of them and they are very independent. What's the rush, unless the mare is getting dragged down, etc. No muss, no fuss... makes weaning a breeze!
                  Signature Sporthorses


                  • #10
                    I do the side by side as well, but gradually. I start by separating them at feeding time. When that is accepted I start increasing the time before I put them back out together. Once they are fine with being separated 4-5 hours, I put them in adjoining stalls overnight and back out together during the day. Then one day, when turning them out, instead of putting them back together I put the weanling in the paddock they have been in and mom in a paddock right next to baby. It takes time but works great. No stress, no screaming and by the time the mare is completely separated her bag is well on its way down.
                    Good luck !


                    • #11
                      Another vote for side by side. Definitely easy and almost stress free.
                      www.learntolikepink.com my journey with breast cancer


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks you guys! Tonight they are side by side, jr with 2 older geldings and mom next door. So far so good. I've done this before, left him out while she was being ridden, never left them side by side in the paddocks and it seems really smooth so far. Hopefully things will still look peaceful in a couple hours.
                        Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                        • #13
                          I always wean by taking the mare off the farm. It is actually LESS stressfull on them if they cannot hear or see the mare. Usually after one day they are fine and it actually helps them to get friendly towards people (if they aren't already)


                          • #14
                            Another side-by-sider here. No issues whatsoever.
                            We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


                            • #15
                              I've done two on my 10 acres.

                              Foal #1: Attempted side-by-side. Mare was my ditzy blonde who turns into Marezilla with a foal and who also was unfortunately named Freedom by her original owners and thus has a fence vendetta anyway. I really think the foal from another mare would have been fine.

                              Result #1: Multiple fence crashes, even with hot wire. Shipped Freedom 60 miles away. According to that BO, Freedom called and paced and fretted for many, many days. Left Freedom there for 2 months. The foal was upset 1 day, then got over it.

                              Foal #2: Attempted side-by-side. Mare was my Mustang, guardian of the herd, she who has an intense innate understanding of herd dynamics and a whole lot of common sense. Fence between supplemented with hot wire.

                              Result #2: I put foal through into his half, gave Missy a slap on the shoulder for a job well done, and said, "Your job's over, girl." She immediately turned around and walked off, leaving the foal whinnying after her and galloping circles. She never looked back, never once called, actually never even approached the dividing fence except to get a drink (both water tanks near it) and totally ignored him during weaning. She had been a very devoted mother, but it was like a switch flipped off. Okay, finished that one. So long, kid. Foal was upset 1 day, then got over it. Once they were back together, she stopped ignoring him and treated him as any other herd member, pleasantly social, never anything more.

                              Conclusion: I will try side-by-side for future foals - unless they are out of Freedom.


                              • #16
                                Just to clarify, in case anyone thinks I am a heartless wench who rips apart mares and foals , I also have a gradual approach. I actually "creep feed" the foal away from the mare once they get to be a couple months old. Gives everyone a chance to get their dinner and starts to build independance. Then foal comes out for longer periods, to be brushed and led around in the aisle a bit. When I am about two weeks away from weaning foal starts to spend the night in the next stall. After two weeks of that..mare hops on trailer before foal even notices she is gone.

                                Side by side sounds intrigueing though, I wouldn't rule it out in the right circumstances.


                                • Original Poster

                                  I put them back together last night around 10:15. They were fine being seperated so not sure it was neccessary to put them back together. I'm going just start increasing the time apart. The stud farm said my mare can field board with them whenever, but i'd rather save the trip and the money if I can do it here, if you know what I mean.
                                  Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                                  • #18
                                    I've always done 'cold turkey' before as I've always had the foals going to a new home. This year I have one baby and a smaller farm, so will be doing side by side! I hope it's a nice and stress free as everyone makes it sounds!!


                                    • #19
                                      I ahve done side by side weaning for years with excellent results. It is always a non-event.
                                      Mary Lou


                                      Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


                                      • #20
                                        After reading the above posts, I'd love to try side by side and fortunately, have the facilities for it. Both of our colts are very independent and one of the mares is; however, the other mare is super high maintenance (LOL so true about MAREZILLA above). Maybe calm mare will have a good influence on the other one?
                                        Vixen Run Farm: Breeding and training ponies for the hunter ring!
                                        Breeder of the 2008 PAHBF's Best PA Bred Pony!