Jump to content


Best Way To Wean A Foal???

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
13 replies to this topic

#1 rcfarm


    Habit Forming

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 284 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 09:54 AM

I want to wean my colt, but have no place off propery to put my mare. Any paddock I have they can still see each other and call. Last night I started , the night time is not too bad. This AM is horrible. I want to give in and put them back together. no.gif
I know I cant, but it is tempting. I had QH foals way back, always had a pasture for mare off property. Any suggestions??
Mo Jo is almost 5 months now, the mare was losing to much weight thus my decision to wean.
Thanks Carol

♥ ♥Check out the latest Lil Beginnings Featured Sale Board Ads HERE!

#2 Joanne


    Someone just shoot me!

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,415 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 10:09 AM

Every mare and foal is different. We actually like them side where they can see each other through the fence but cannot nurse. It is always easier with multiple foals weaning together.

The first few days are the hardest and I think all of us have second thoughts about now like you are. But he is plenty old and as you said, the mare needs the extra calories right now.
Conformation in a Colorful Package!

Joanne Abramson
Pacific Pintos Miniature Horse Farm

Pacific Pintos Website

#3 ~Lisa~


    Someone just shoot me!

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,545 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 10:23 AM

Everyone does it differently. I seperate only at night first for a week sometimes 2 weeks depending on mare and foal and how they react. People do not realize how stressful weaning is on foals and many do it at 2-3 months new_shocked.gif
Studies have shown something like over 60 perecent of weanlings have ulcers which just goes to show how upsetting and stressful it really is.

I put the foal with whoever I am going to wean them with if they stay with the herd I put them in with or next to someone I think they can buddy up with at night in the morning they go back together and stay together for the day-having nursed my own kids for me slowing down the milk production for a a bit seems to be the most logical way but again that is just my way there are plenty of ways that work.

By the time they are seperated thru a fence permantenly they both seem to realize it is not a tragedy they call a bit but it is not the same frantic totally panicked calls to eachother

I never understood why some take forever to introduce a horse to a harness or ground driving or other training things so they can take the time to get used to and understand the process yet they rip the foals off the dams and expcet both mom and baby to just get it and get over it

I have then had great luck putting them back together again sometimes after just a few weeks (although usually only if the mare is bred back since I wean later then most and by then she is heavy in foal) or a few months later. I know many say it can not be done but it works for me smile.gif

Ruff N Tuff Minis and Shetlands

Ruff N Tuff Minis and Shetlands

#4 Riverdance


    Someone just shoot me!

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,166 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 11:40 AM

I usually wean all of my foals at the same time, unless I need to breed a mare or a foal is dragging the mare down. My foals are 4 months before I will wean. Since I have several foals, I have all of the foals and dams in one paddock area. They all go out to pasture together and in their paddock at night. Recently I took a mare away from her foal as she was sold and was to be bred. He was 4 months old.

I left him with the other dams and their foals and took his mom to a different run and put her with the stallion. The colt almost never called to his dam and after 2 days, the dam stopped calling to her foal. Quick, clean weaning with the least amount of stress on the foal.

When the rest are ready to be weaned, I will move the dams to a different paddock area . All of the foals will still be in the same area they are used to with all of their buddys. Last year I tried the dams in the adjoining paddock area, but some of the foals managed to get their heads through the 3 board pvc fencing lined with hog pannels to nurse. new_shocked.gif

I find if you do the weaning slowly, it just perlongs their anxiety. They are away for the day, but together at night (or vice versa, though taking them away from their dams at night, when in the wild preditors are at their peak, can be very scary for a foal). The screaming goes on and on and I really feel it stresses the foals out more to be taken away from their dams, then back, then away, then back, etc. Much better to do it quickly and cleanly with the least amount of stress for the foals. Thus same surroundings for the foal and at least one buddy. This buddy has to have been a buddy for a while before weaning begins, so the foal is not stressed out with a new horse in its paddock area.

NEVER TRY TO WEAN A FOAL BY ITSELF. It will be under too much stress and will try to escape any way it can to find mom.

I told this to my daughter who had borrowed a Morgan mare from me for a foal. She had the most outstanding, classically beautiful old style UVM type foal. Everyone commented on him. Well when it came time to wean, I brought mom home and told my daughter to keep the foal with one of her geldings. She did not take my advise past a couple of days and one AM she came out to find that the foal had hung himself between the fence and gate trying to get out.
Home of Riverdances Marbled Tigress, AMHA Reserve World Champion

Home of Riverdances Desperado, AMHA Central Regional Champion and Multiple Grand Champion winner
Home of Fallen Ash Scouts Prince Of Tides, AMHA World Top 5 and World Champion Producer

Breeder of AMHA World Champion and Reserve World Champions


#5 rabbitsfizz


    I just can't help myself :-)

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,941 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 12:05 PM

I am one to wean slowly, and, having tried just about every way known to man in the last Lord knows how long, I find this works best.
The one thing that stands out form all the different advice you will get, though, is that if you wean at the right time for the mare and foal as opposed to the time you think is right, there will be less stress.
I have a colt and a filly who are ready to leave now, and the mares are ready to let them go, both mares are back in foal although they are not "dragged down" (sorry, never had that happen) they are ready for the foals to leave.
Both foals are four months old, and they will stay on another two weeks as I know the mares are not yet "sick" enough of their foals to have them go without stress, and I have to geld the colt. So he will go with Mama to be gelded, stay probably a week longer on the mare, then both foals will just not go out after being fed.
They are in the front stallion paddock to be fed, it is sheep hurdles and they can see the mares, touch noses and talk, just not nurse.
They come in each day, get tied up, handled and fed, and then stay in there for an hour or two.
When the colt is healed they will just not go out again and I do not expect any problems.
Timing, that is the most important thing with weaning, if you get that right everything else will fall into place.
Your foal needs to be eating feed well, and hay, and drinking water properly, BTW, both my coming up for weaning foals are eating a good feed each day, which cuts down considerably on what they take form the mares, and I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons I never have thin mares.
Quite the opposite, I'm afraid smile.gif


All good things come in small packages.......including horses!
Proudly breeding British Miniature Horses since 1978.

#6 lilnickers


    I gotta get a life...

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,042 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 12:19 PM

I follow the exact same procedure as ~Lisa~. Works for me. Only once did I wean a foal at 3 months, and the he went straight to his new home. The colt actually did just fine, but mama cried for him for almost 2 days no.gif I won't be doing it that way again.
GOOD LUCK, and don't give in!
Karin Sanford

Little Jimmy's Creekside Minis

Home to KAYS MLF ALFA HIGH HOPES , amha/amhr 30" stallion

sired by KS LUV POTION NO FIVE , 2X AMHR National Top 10 champion

#7 ~Lisa~


    Someone just shoot me!

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,545 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:00 PM

QUOTE (rabbitsfizz @ Aug 2 2009, 11:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The one thing that stands out form all the different advice you will get, though, is that if you wean at the right time for the mare and foal as opposed to the time you think is right, there will be less stress.

I could not agree more with that wink.gif

Ruff N Tuff Minis and Shetlands

Ruff N Tuff Minis and Shetlands

#8 shelly


    Someone just shoot me!

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,144 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:23 PM

I am preparing a strategy to wean both my filly(4 months on the 15th) and my colt(4 months on Sept. 7th). The filly hardly ever nurses, is eating well and drinking water. The colt still nurses frequently but is eating well and drinks water sometimes. I want to wean them together--should I wait for the colt to catch up to the filly as far as nursing and put them in the same area at night first, then all the time? Mommas are both doing ok body condition wise and the filly's dam could care less if she is around or not, but the colt's dam is not quite as "sick" of him yet as the other mare. What do you all think? I also have a bred mare that they can buddy up with if needed.

curious to know when is the "Right Time"?
Loving home of:

AHA PAB Fortunes Shadow--Black Polish/Egyptian Arabian Gelding "King of the castle!"

AMHA/AMHR TMABS Avalanche Joe--Silver Dapple Homozygous Tovero Stallion "Mini King of the castle!"

AMHA/AMHR M&Js Silver Mystique--Silver Dapple Tobiano Mare "Queen of the castle!"

AMHA/AMHR Dancers BB Taxes--Black and White Tobiano Mare "Princess of the castle!"

AMHR M&Js Lil Golden Trinket--Bay Roan Dun Filly-born 4/15/09 "Duchess of the castle!"

M&Js Paintedminis
website: http://mjspaintedmini.weebly.com

#9 rcfarm


    Habit Forming

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 284 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:43 PM

Mo Jo is and has been eating and drinking for about 2 months now. So no prob there. So I started this, and I do like the idea of being together daytime seperate at night. Question is How Long wacko.gif Should I put them back together tomorrow? I fell terrible no.gif
He is the only foal this year, so I put him with my gentle gelding. I have had them together for a few days, mom didnt mind too much. And he played without incident with my gelding. He is getting a little more fretful as day wears on.
We do have split rail fence so he could still reach mom thru fence.
Thanks Carol

#10 Make A Wish Miniatures

Make A Wish Miniatures

    Can't stop now

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 406 posts

Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:49 PM

I wean slowly . I wait till the youngest foal is 4 months and do them in groups of two or three. I have been bringing my mares and foals in during the day as it is so hot here in Texas. The foals all go in the stalls with their mothers ,while I start feeding then I just take the foals out . They are able to see their mothers but not nurse. They usually just play with their buddies and check on their mothers throughout the day. I make sure the mares have lots of hay to take their minds of the foals. For about two days , I will let the babies back with their mothers at night . Then for the next few days they will not go back but can see and smell their mothers. After about a week I take them completely away . I have four foals weaned right now and all doing well eating and drinking well I have two more that are four months right now but I will wait for another three or four weeks untill my last foal is four months so that she will not be by herself. This has worked well for me. But there are so many different ways to wean . You just have to see what will work the best for your situation. The foals do not stress as much as the mares. Mine only call for a day or two. Good Luck
Bronagh Floyd
Make A Wish Miniatures

Home of

  • Alvadars Double Whammy ~ Paternal borther to Alvadars Double Destiny
  • Triple J's Spunky Dude ~ (25 year old) son of Boones Little Buckeroo
  • Make A Wish Double Your Bucks ~ son of Alvadars Double Whammy
  • HCM Bucks Fast Trac ~ son of Little Kings Almighty Buck