Weaning Question

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Jess P

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2004
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New Hampshire
We are currently weaning little Starlette, and do this by putting her in a paddock away from her mom, and alone at night in a stall that is next to her mom's. I can imagine the pressure in her mom's "milkbar" since I learned about cows and their mammary systems. We let her nurse twice a day, once in the morning and once at night (the poor little girl is so depressed). Is this okay for her mom? Also, does the milkbar just stop working after her foal being off it?

Your mare will keep producing milk as long as you are milking her or letting the baby eat no matter how many times a day it is.

The best way for a mare to dry up is not to let the baby eat at all. How old is this baby you are weaning?

I have better luck weaning my babies when they cannot see, hear, smell the momma and try to wean at least two at a time. Even if one is much older than the other. I really HATE to hear the mommas cry, it is worse than hearing the babies cry. Breaks my heart.

Good luck with your weaning. I used to think it was important to wean them young, 3 - 4 months. I wean early now if mommas do not look healthy and start pulling down. But if momma looks good, will leave them to 4-5-6 months. If I show them I take momma too. I do practice taking babies away from mommas for long periods of time so they know I will bring them back and that they will not scream at the shows when baby is missing.
I think you have got it just right- it's always harder when you have a n only foal and allowing her to nurse will ease the bag, but it will also mean the milk takes longer to dry up- I would pretty soon start just a once a day suck, and maybe turn the mare out,and give her something else to do. Is she bred again?? If so I would not suggest anything too energetic but taking her out for long walks will do her good. You could do the same with the foal. If you turn the mare out without the foal, and vice versa you will establish a pattern of "being away form Mama/ Baby means doing something I like" wish will be very positive. I always do the gentle weaning thing- it works for me as I am a total wimp when it comes to foals screaming for Mama!!
Okay. She is 4 and a half months, we are weaning her now because we plan to sell her mom. We are separating them completely in a week or so and she will have a buddy (our new colt) until we see any form of rough play or mounting (colt is almost 4 months old).

Thanks for the help
Is there a companion you can put the baby with? We always try to put the foal in with a friend or friends when weaning so they can socialize with others horses. It helps keep them occupied. We wean by the almanac and it seems to go smoothly for both mom and baby.
We prefer to wean our foals in groups or with a buddy. By allowing the filly to nurse twice a day, you are keeping mom's milk producing.

Is it at all possible to wean the colt and filly together? Even if you have to wait for a week or so for the colt to be old enough???

We used to do the gradual method like you are doing, but the agony of weaning seemed to drag out for both the mom and baby. So we are now doing it more quickly.

The is the second year we have gone by the Almanac and it seems to help!

We have our gelding but he can be very rough (chasing after her and gently nipping her) So we do not put them together, and our other mare is the boss mare, and she doesn't do well with her either. Like I said, our colt will be here in a week or so and they will be weanling buddies
Miniv said:
Is it at all possible to wean the colt and filly together?  Even if you have to wait for a week or so for the colt to be old enough??? 



The colt isn't here, we are waiting for him to be weaned at his seller's house and then he will be coming to our house
My 6 day plan -- 2 days - separated during day

2 days - morning and evening snack

2 days - evening snack only

This works very well for me. No hard bags with mastitis potential or pain for mare. By day 6 there is very little milk being produced.
I pretty much use Ajs method but go 3,3,3. I take mom away and leave baby with the herd and familiar surroundings. I just opened a paddock to get everyone used to it before I begin weaning Missy.
I find that it's much easier to wean my babies gradually.

I start by separating Mom & baby for 1/2 days..but they can still see & interact with each other thru a fence.

Then I separate completely....but will allow the foal to nurse once in morning & once in evening for a few days. Then I separate for good.

In my experience, this helps the mare to slowly dry up. By the time I separate them completely.....the mare's bag does NOT engorge tightly with milk like it does when I wean their babies all at once. They will just fill up slightly & then gradually get softer & softer until they dry up. I can usually put the foals back out with the dams in 2 - 4 weeks with no problems.

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