Weaning abruptly

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RebelsHope

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There have been a few posts lately about weaning and I know that there are lots of ideas about how to wean and when to wean. I am wondering if anyone knows if there are long last effects to the horses that are wean abruptly. Such as those at an auction or for whatever reason.
 

wwminis

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[SIZE=14pt]Weaning a foal abruptly is OK! As long as it isn't done at too early of an age! It doesn't seem to have any lasting effects on the foals! We had to wean a little colt at just under 3 months this year because his dam was very ill. It only took him about 3 days to get over it and he is now in his new home and doing great![/SIZE]

Bill
 

Tony

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We wean abruptly, usually in groups, with no problem at all. Usually waiting until I have a group four months of age. I may wean as early as three months is the dam is not keeping her weight.
 

Jean_B

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Like Tony, I wean mine "cold turkey" with no ill effects...as long as they are old enough (minimum 3 to 4 months) and have some buddies. It works best if you have a place for the babies that is far away from the mares so they can't see/hear each other, but if that's not possible, make sure your fences are in good repair and try to have at least another paddock or two between the mares and babies! After a couple of days the trauma is totally over.
 

rabbitsfizz

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This year I had to wean at a certain time because the foals are sold and going out on friday (Please GOD!!) they were all a minimum of four and a half months, one was nearly six. I usually wean according to the mare but this year I could not and the foals were ready. I had two mares return in season and two mares nearly go mastic on me. The mares went BALLISTIC, hurtling up and down and screaming. And are STILL calling ten days later. The foals never answered. I shall NEVER do this again!!! ( I have to say the foals were FINE, but I do not just consider the foals.) Also all my foals have been coming up into the round pen for haltering and feeding for over four months now- since they were around two weeks old- and are eating a good whack of feed and hay happily and were used to being off Mama most of the day. NEVER again!!
 

MeadowRidge Farm

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I wean mine "cold turkey" too, but not before they are 5 months old. They will call a few day, but then its over with. Never had any problems. I put my foals in the barn in a large stall and usually put 2-3 together for company. The mares are outside, and half the time dont even seem to miss there babies. My mare and yearling/weanling pastures are next to each other and after I turn the babies back out, never had a problem with fences either. Corinne
 

Becky

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I wean mine 'cold turkey', but it's not as bad as it sounds. My foals are fed twice a day with their dams, so at weaning time, they are used to eating. Plus they have hay out or pasture 24/7. I wean in groups at 4+ months and never have any problem. Within 24 - 48 hours the foals have pretty much forgotten about their dams and the dams have done the same.
 

Kendra

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We wean "cold turkey", but I think the stress involved in weaning at home in a familiar place with all their buddies is nothing compared to at an auction!

The foals generally hardly notice, by morning they don't even answer when momma calls. Most of the mares adjust as easily, but there's always a few hangers on that love to break your heart calling for their baby a couple days later.
 

Dandy

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I'm glad you started this post. I was going to ask about weaning a colt at 3 months. I have one who is really bringing his mama down. I only have two foals this year and one is 5 months and one is 3 months. I was trying to wait till the 3 month old one was 4 months, but I need to really get him off his mom. They have both been eating grain twice a day for a long time. I am waiting till the 10th which is the beginning of the "good" weaning period according to the Farmer's Almanac.
 

Cathy_H

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We weaned one years ago a little over 3 months because the buyer wanted it asap. It apparently got stressed, got sick & stayed sick off & on for almost a year. We did not & will not do that again....................................... Dandy- we have had to wean one a little over three months because it was also pulling the dam down (even with supplements). I like to wean ours gradually if possible. I would let the foal nurse morning, midday & evening for about three days (just to lighten the udder - not empty it). I left the foal in with a buddy or two so it could see the mom but not nurse.
 

SunQuest

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I have weaned cold turkey before. The others are right in that it often is not as bad as it sounds as long as the foal is old enough. With that said, I will tell you that I have learned over the years that gradual weaning is easier on both the mare and the foal as the mare does get some releif for her bag, and the foal gets the reassurance that it needs as well.

By weaning the foal(s) with a "babysitter" that the foal has know all of it's life, the foal does better mentally IMO. What I have noticed is that some foals that are weaned at 3 months old were full of self confidence and were quiet bold. Then when suddenly weaned, the foal lost all of it's confidence in how life is. Some foals can take several years to really get that back. I have found that gradually weaning a foal doesn't seem to do that to them.

I have to think how nature would wean those foals if they are in the wild. (I know.... minis are "man made", but still, they are equines like the rest) In the wild, the mare will not let the foal nurse after a certain age. Then the foal is still allowed to remain in the herd, but the others keep it in it's place. When the foal is old enought to reproduce, it is at that time that it tends to get driven off by the stallion. But by that time, the foals are several years old. So what I try to do is keep the herd somewhat stable when the horses are at the youngest ages so that they continue to have that family support. That is why I prefer to remove the mare, or at the least take a herd buddy or two with the foal if I have to remove the foal.

Just my thoughts and what I have found works best for me with large breeds as well as miniatures.
 

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