Bottle feeding a three month old?

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

ServiceMini

Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
40
Location
Central New York
Hello there!

I am purchasing a mini that will be coming home at 3 months(when her breeder weans her foals), and I was reading that weaning at 3 months is doable but many seem to be weaning at 5-ish months. My question is, would bottle feeding her be helpful to her system? I can't find any information about it online.
This will be my first ever Miniature horse, and I want her to be as healthy as possible.

Thank you in advance for advice on this topic!
 

Taz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,162
Reaction score
2,112
Location
Canada
Ugh! Three months is way too soon unless there's a problem...IMO. Nothing you can do about it though. I'd ask your vet what the best feed is for her. There is good mare and foal feed as well as milk substitute pellets. Do you have horse company for her? She needs a nanny type to look after her and teach her if possible. Any pictures? I bet she's cute as can be.
 

JFNM miniatures

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2021
Messages
217
Reaction score
416
Location
Canada
Hello there!

I am purchasing a mini that will be coming home at 3 months(when her breeder weans her foals), and I was reading that weaning at 3 months is doable but many seem to be weaning at 5-ish months. My question is, would bottle feeding her be helpful to her system? I can't find any information about it online.
This will be my first ever Miniature horse, and I want her to be as healthy as possible.

Thank you in advance for advice on this topic!
3 months is pretty young to wean. Is there some way you could ask the breeder to wean her at 5 or 6 months ? It would be way better than three months. Ideally, foals should be weaned around 6-8 months.

If that's not possible, you have to make sure she has good apetite in eating forage and supplements. If it's not possible to wean her later, there are supplemented feeds made especially for growing foals. It would avoid you having to bottle feed her, and would still provide minerals and vitamins she needs. But I'd really say to ask the breeder if she can let the foal stay some more time...

Although she may have a reason for it : older broodmare having trouble keeping weight... etc.

But if there are no understandable reason, three months is too young.

At three months, foals are just beginning to learn social skils... so they need their mothers around to teach them.
And like Taz said, you'll need a companion horse for her. Weaning is stressful. If you don't have another horse companion for her to get friends with, it's not going to help the weaning/separation process.
 

ServiceMini

Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
40
Location
Central New York
That's kind of upsetting! She said she usually weans at three months, but would be willing to separate earlier to help our bond due to the type of home she's coming into, but I feel like staying for at least three months is better. She'll be able to visit other minis, but will largely be living inside due to being a service horse. She said she can stay up to four months with her at the farm but will be weaned at three, but prefers they go at three months.

She said it's so the dams don't reject the stallions, as some mares will refuse to breed when still with their foals.


If she does come home at three months, would bottle feeding be a bad idea? I just want her to be as healthy as she can be. I've read on here that some people do wean early, but I feel like if she does have to be separated so early just because of the breeder, I'd like to bottle feed for another few months.

I have photos from the breeder, may I post those? If not, then I will be taking a load of pictures and videos this weekend. :) She is a stunning sorrel filly, with white stockings and a white face apron marking.
 

Maryann at MiniV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
363
Reaction score
563
Location
Powell Butte, Oregon
Personally, bottle feeding her at 3 months would probably confuse her as she is most likely been sharing mom's food for a while. I would provide milk pellets plus an appropriate grain available for young horses. A lot of her issues will be emotional and psychological separation. If you are able to convince the breeder to keep her with mom for at least an extra month, it would be better for her weaning mentally. Offer the breeder board money, if necessary.

IMO, 3 months is just too early, unless there is a valid reason. We tend to go beyond 4 months....Often the mare and foal are weaning themselves off by 5 months.
 

JFNM miniatures

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2021
Messages
217
Reaction score
416
Location
Canada
That's kind of upsetting! She said she usually weans at three months, but would be willing to separate earlier to help our bond due to the type of home she's coming into, but I feel like staying for at least three months is better. She'll be able to visit other minis, but will largely be living inside due to being a service horse. She said she can stay up to four months with her at the farm but will be weaned at three, but prefers they go at three months.

She said it's so the dams don't reject the stallions, as some mares will refuse to breed when still with their foals.


If she does come home at three months, would bottle feeding be a bad idea? I just want her to be as healthy as she can be. I've read on here that some people do wean early, but I feel like if she does have to be separated so early just because of the breeder, I'd like to bottle feed for another few months.

I have photos from the breeder, may I post those? If not, then I will be taking a load of pictures and videos this weekend. :) She is a stunning sorrel filly, with white stockings and a white face apron marking.
Hmmm. I don't know what to say. Earlier than 3 months is indeed way too young. You did well of choosing to let her nurse for three months at least. One probable reason why she wants to wean so young is not to loose any time waiting for the filly to be weaned before rebreeding. That way, she ensures that her mare will be able to have another foal next year. While it is an advantage for the breeder, it's not for the foal (health wise or emotionally) or for you. I second Maryann. You should really see if you can extend until the filly is at least four months old.

About bottle feeding, the best milk is HER own mother's milk. If you are to use milk replacement, or foal formula, it's the same as using a foal supplement. And like Maryann says, bottle feeding will be terribly confusing for her.
 

ServiceMini

Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
40
Location
Central New York
I will see if I can get her to keep her with her mother for at least four months. :) I'm not very hopeful, but there is always a chance and if it will help the filly, then I'll try as hard as I can!

If I can't manage to convince her, is there anything I can do to help manage the stress? She'll be mostly inside with me other than potty breaks every 30ish minuets, so she'll never be alone at least. Would getting a blanket to rub on her mom to get her scent on it to bring home with her help, like you do with puppies?

And by foal supplement, do you mean milk pellets? I just found them while looking up foal supplements lol... It's been a very long time sense we had horses, and they were all yearlings and older. So I am clueless. But I'll be talking to our old horse vet about what to feed too. :)
 

Maryann at MiniV

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
363
Reaction score
563
Location
Powell Butte, Oregon
If she is already sharing grain with her mom, milk pellets are good.....mixed with foal grain or a 14 percent grain......believe it or not Senior pellets work best because they are high in protein and vitamins/minerals and easier to chew.
 

Pitter Patter

MHT Supporter
MHT Supporter
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
580
Reaction score
842
Location
Kingsley, Michigan
I'm a newbie at minis and foals. Just had a foal April 22nd (first one ever!). So, this is just my opinion and thoughts....My little guy is one month old. He is playing around with eating whatever mom eats. She is teaching him skills and manners, although he is also bonded with me, I think. I hope to use him as a therapy horse in the nursing home I work at. He runs to me after mama says it's ok. Is it cruel to wean so early? I think so. Current owner is treating her animals as for profit only. I think it would be very hard for the mother too. My mare has had her babies ripped away by previous owners, although I don't know at what age. I've promised her (the mare) I am keeping both of them. She is still nervous he'll be separated but is now relaxing about it. Anyway, I digress! My mare was interested in breeding with my stallion almost right away and allows it with foal at her side (although I am trying to prevent this for her health). Have you thought about seeing if you can purchase them together? Or if you know the owner, can you "borrow" the mare for a few months and then after a good weaning time, you can give her back? I would see about purchasing both. If she is an older brood mare owner might be willing to part with her? Or as Taz mentioned, get a "nanny" mare. My two other mares are always trying to steal the foal and when they manage to separate mama and baby, the other mares protect that baby and it's actually dangerous to get baby back! Or at least get another one to be with it. I understand you intend this to be a service animal but it won't be emotionally right later. Even Leader Dogs for the Blind and other organizations don't wean early because there's a lot of learning when they are very young and you want an animal with manners. That doesn't mean just being polite, it also means being safe all the way around! Remember that horses are prey animals. Humans are predators, so there would be security with another foal but preferably another older horse. On a side note, I had a sick mini and had to bring him into the house for a few days and he potty trained himself and would stand at the door to be let out.
 

Kelly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
111
Reaction score
252
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
I don’t breed and I don’t have any mini mares, this is just my experience.…. And I always have my little ponies best interest at heart ♥

I bought Breezy when he was a day old and brought him home at 3 and a half months. He had been previously weaned and once I got him home I keep feeding him what the previous owner was feeding: oats, alfalfa pellets, and free choice coastal hay. I could only put him out with my little Thunder, as Stormy & Shadow were just too rough at the time, plus Shadow is VERY dominant and would probably have killed him or injured him. Now Breezy is 14 months old and is still thriving!! When he was about 6 months old, I put all 4 of them out together and they get along beautifully. Breezy knows Shadow is in charge and is very respectful, he knows his place in my little herd. With the early training I was able to give him and that he continues to receive, he is very well behaved, respectful, loves doing the obstacle course, loves walks, and is starting to love adventures in my new Pony Express van.

6E5C7A32-1308-43DB-AC75-E9D4A18FCD86.jpeg
Breezy & Stormy out on an adventure!


I now feed all 4 of my little boys a Ration Balancer along with coastal hay. Will your new mini have a horsey friend? Maybe you should get 2?! I think it is important with her being so young to have a buddy who could teach her the ropes and/or someone to keep her company. They really don’t like being alone or left behind.

Post pics soon!!!
 
Last edited:

ServiceMini

Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
40
Location
Central New York
Thank you all for the opinions! :)

Sadly it looks like she won't be able to stay with her mom until four months or older, and I would LOVE to get her mother too, but that is just impossible right now. :( I do however have a friend with a mini and pony who will be able to teach her a bit about being a horse.

@Kelly Your babies are adorable! I'm hoping that despite being brought home so early, with all the training and attention she'll get being a house-horse (we have a lawn, but she'll largely be living inside with us) that it will counteract any negative effect being separated so young will have. Your story gives me hope that she'll grow up to be a confident well rounded horse. :)

Do you have any baby pictures of him? :)
I will be posting loads of pictures this Saturday after I meet her!
 

Taz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,162
Reaction score
2,112
Location
Canada
Be very careful about putting her with your friends mini and/or pony. If she just visits she will get pushed around normally at best. New horses are normally kept out of the herd and with her being so young she won't really understand that yet, it's not like taking a dog to the dog park to play. She will know some horse behaviour at this point but will adjust to human behaviour after you get her and will get in trouble with other horses for the rest of her life if she isn't out with them consistently for a while more. She will adjust to you being her herd, just be very careful if she doesn't stay a 'house horse' and goes to live with other horses, she will need a special friend to live with who won't beat her up for not 'getting horse'.
 

Kelly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
111
Reaction score
252
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
Thank you all for the opinions! :)
@Kelly Your babies are adorable!
Do you have any baby pictures of him? :)
Oh you know I have baby pics of him!!! 💞 💞

18B59B85-7887-461E-B047-9646D27EF25B.jpeg
Breezy when he was first born. I mean, look at that face! He was born on my birthday, so of course I just HAD to get him.



CFFF5250-072C-476C-B13D-B9E1831E0950.jpeg
The day I brought Breezy home sweet home.

A house-horse! You’ll have to post your journey with your new baby!! I would love to see her house stall or whatever kind of set up you will have for her.
 

Dragon Hill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
Messages
245
Reaction score
372
Location
South Carolina
If she is eating really well at three months, I would be less concerned about her physical health than her psychological health since she will be coming to you to live in your house and not have a horse companion. You will have to teach her how to behave in all aspects of her life. If she is going to be a service animal for her whole life and you know what you're doing it should work out. But, I don't know if three months living as a horse is enough to teach her how to be a horse if she ever has to live like a horse and with other horses later in life. Especially should you decide to breed her later.
 

Latest posts

Top