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Old 06-21-2009, 12:30 PM   #1
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How long do I wean my foal?...

I'm pretty sure we've chose abrupt weaning as even though we have one seems easier to the fact that we have to reintroduce the mother and foal later in life. But, I have to know how long the weaning period should take place because of the reintroduntion problem--anybody know?? =]

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Old 06-21-2009, 12:40 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure there are a lot of experts out there to give advice and I'm not one of them, just wanted to let you know my experience with my only foal. We chose the gradual weaning (just a personal opinion, I know there are different ideas about it) but when our filly was about 5 1/2 mo old we just started putting her in the stall for several hours at a time and mom in the field, they could see each other. Sometimes we would put the filly out with our old gelding and leave mom in the stall for a few hours and over about a 2 week time span we kept them separate more and more and after about 2-3 weeks mom's milk had dried up, and the filly wasn't as interested any more and we started putting them back together. No screaming no upset, and I don't think the filly tried to nurse mom after that. Good luck with the weaning!
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Old 06-21-2009, 04:29 PM   #3
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If you are going to abruptly wean her, make sure you keep her and mom separate for at least 3-4 weeks to allow mom to dry up and her hormones a chance to return to normal...if baby tries to nurse to soon after the mare dries up, she will start producing milk again...though it has been my experience that once you take baby away for a month, mom doesn't really want baby to nurse anymore...can't imagine why...
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:48 PM   #4
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Well, I have only raised one also, but we put them in separate but joining paddocks to wean. They could see and sniff noses, but the baby could not nurse through the fence. We had them separate for 4 months and tried to put them back together. Baby started nursing again and mom let her, so pretty soon we were back to square one! Just my lone little experience, I am sure there are experienced breeders that can give you more info!
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:07 AM   #5
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Its very rare that you can put a foal back in with its dam in only 4 weeks. They will go right back to nursing. we usually have to keep them seperate for 4-6 months.

We start feeding them seperate at 3 months. Then wean at 4 months
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:50 AM   #6
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Usually we keep ours seperate for 6 weeks to 3 months depending on the horse.

Personally I hate abrupt weaning because I have seen to many foals injure themselves because of it. My favorite weaning method is to just place the mare in the adjoining paddock. As the foal gets used to being away from mom he becomes more and more independent until it is no longer an issue.

It really depends on the mare and foal as to whether or not the foal will nurse when re-introduced. Some mares won't tolerate nursing, others will, and some foals won't try to nurse.

Are you going to keep the foal out of sight/hearing distance of mom for weaning? if they can still hear their mom it is more stressful for the baby.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:33 AM   #7
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You must leave foal and dam away from each other as long as possible of the mare will let foal nurse again. Very few will not let them. It would be better just to be separate for quite a while. Weeks if not months. Then work with foal daily and let it establish itself independent of the dam. If the dam is a riding horse start riding lightly and then more and more again to also dry her up and let her be a riding animal again or they both will just fret.
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:22 AM   #8
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There are two ways you can do this with only one weanling.. you can remove mom and leave the foal with the other horses if they are good with the baby - which is sometimes easier on the foal; or pull the foal out and put him or her in a paddock with one other quiet babysitter or alone..

Either way, we keep them seperate for at least 4 - 6 months.. any less, and they will nurse again..

Good luck. We are facing the same issue this year with only one baby.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:37 PM   #9
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We do the abrupt weaning and then keep them apart around 6 months. We will turn them out with some of the younger horses if we only have one foal but I prefer to have two foals that have been turned out together since they were born.

This year we have two colts that were born on the same day so there will be no turning back out with the ladies and since all our males are older now and too big they will only be turned out with each other.
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