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Does anyone else experience this when weaning,

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Mona

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I just hate weaning time...not so much because of the screaming babies, because they get over that fast enough, but for me, weaning time is the period that turns my sweet, friendly foals into scared little rabbits!


I am sure it is because it is at weaning time they are already stressed enough, and then on top of that, they get their shots, and also that is the time I spend more time tieing and leading. They have had halters on, been lead small amounts, and been tied, just so they know what it is basically, but then I really do not fuss much with anything like that until they are weaned.

I go out several times a day just to "love" on them, but I don't really ask a whole lot of them until they are weaned, as I want them to just enjoy being babies. Then they are weaned, and they get taken away from their mom's, moved from pen/pasture to pen/pasture, jabbed with umpteen needles, and forced to be caught, haltered, walked etc.

This turns my people lovin' little sweethearts into scared little things that run the other way from you, instead of the usual running up to you. It is always hard for me to get pics of the foals, as they follow me around so close when I am with them. Then after weaning, I cannot even look at them! Makes me feel so bad. I think the worst part is the needles....vaccinations, blood drawn for coggins etc.

Does anyone else ever face these things at weaning time?? Makes me sooo sad to see them this way.


Once I give them some time, and just slowly make them reallize the halter is not a weapon, and I am not going to hurt them everytime I carry it, it goes alright, and they once again learn to trust, BUT, it will soon be time for their 2nd round of vaccinations, and it will start all over again.
 
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SunQuest

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Hi Mona,

I don't have this issue when I wean. I normally will not give shots when weaning as it is too much stress for their bodies. I wean late, around 6 months, so their shots are given before I wean. Also, I prefer to halter break the babies before weaning. This way they don't have to worry about that. And another thing I do which makes all the difference in their confidence level... When I start to wean, I like to leave the foals with the herd and remove the mares. I move the mares next to the foals for a a few hours and then put the mares back. This way the foals learn that I can take mom out, but they learn to trust that I will put mom back. After a week or so, I am up to the mares and foals being seperated for the day time, and back together at night. Then after a week of that, the mares just get forgotten in the adjacent field, and I will remove all the other horses as well, but put them next to the foals. Now the foals are in with their "Uncle Bullet" and "Uncle Bullet" will take care of them. And it is during this weaning time that I do absolutely nothing with those foals. I let them be and just love on them. They need comfort at this time, so that is what I give them. I don't need to overload their delicate minds, so I don't do any teaching of anything until they are acting secure with their new situation. Now if the weanlings are colts, I will then bring up a couple of other geldings to put in with the foals and "Uncle Bullet" as "Uncle Bullet" loves his babies and will protect them from the other horses. Once the colts and the other geldings become great friends, then the colts and the geldings get moved to the bachlor herd, and "Uncle Bullet" gets his harem back.

I find that by just giving them time to feel sorry for themselves actually earns their trust. My foals are the first to come running to me even after weaning because they trust me not to change too much too quickly.
So try to do most of the things before weaning as that allows you the time to take it easy and share in their misery. This will most likely mean weaning later, but weaning later often helps the foals to adjust better to it as they are more mature mentally. That is why I don't wean at 3 to 4 months old.

And finally, don't feel bad for them! They are sensing your change in attitude and they don't know what to do about it! They are like.... "We haven't see her act like this, should we be upset? Should we worry about it also?" By believing that nothing is happening and being just like you always are, that will help them to still trust you as well and it assures them that this is all a normal part of life.
 

Dona

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I haven't experienced this either Mona....but then, I have a different "set up" than you do.

I work with my babies daily (from day one) and by the time they are weaned, they are well accustomed to being without Mama for long periods of time. I gradually wean by first separating Mom & baby thru the day....by a common fence where they can still see each other & interact. Then I put them back together for the evening. I do this for about a week. then I will separate ALL the time....except I will allow the baby to nurse once in the morning & once in the evening. I'll do this for a few days before completely separating them for good. Usually....when the foal is stalled by itself...it becomes even more loving & friendly to people, as they are lonely. If I have two or more that can be weaned at the same time...it makes it easier for them.
 

Becky

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I don't vaccinate at weaning. I let them get over the stress of weaning first and I like to wait until they are around 6 months of age to start vaccinating. I generally wean at 4 months and find that even the less than friendly ones get friendlier after weaning when they don't have their mamas to rely on. I just weaned 3 last Fri and put them in with two that had been weaned late June. The 'newbies' have done amazingly well as they had the two older ones to rely on and follow their lead.
 

ChrystalPaths

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I do things a bit differently too. I hate weaning so I generaly do it over a period of time. Before we begin they get the first shot given by a mean old vet, not me. They get a physical at the time so I can be sure they are ready to wean. They get the next shot just before they are all done weaning. See, mom can still console them. I do the 2nd shot. Usually buns shots here. If they are selling I do a 3rd shot in 30 days and then the rabies at 5 mos. Lots of love. I am way behind this year. Missy is halter broke but won't lead. I really need to work on that. You are definitely not the bad lady and they will remember all the love you've given. Kind of like a child that gets spanked hates the spanker but soon forgets and loves once more.
 
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Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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Mona i will say I think the reaction of the group of weanlings is different when you have one or 2 foals compared to 8 or 9 or whatever and yes generally when in a larger group if one decides you are scary that day usually almost all the rest do as well. It is what they are supposed to do and i do think there senses are heightened when first away from mom there protector.

I give shots shortly after weaning as well since most vets now say that doing them at 6-8 months(and I wean at 5-6 months) as long as there dams were vaccinated shortly before birth

I find if i can find a couple that are a bit more friendly and just sort of hang out with them in there pen for a few minutes the others cant resist but to come back around.

And some just are not pleased wtih the halter period i find it is more often fillies then colts that resort back to oh no help me please when they see me coming after being weaned but in a week or so all goes back to normal
 

DebiM

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Hi Ya, Mona,

We also do things a bit differently. I give the first shot right before weaning usually then the booster 3 or 4 weeks later. Like someone else said I remove the mare from the herd instead of the foal. That's seem to work much better for mine in how quickly they recover.
 

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