I have weaned as early as 3 months with no ill effects.I also had a mare go to intensive care with her 2 month old filly and the filly had to be weaned then.No problems, but I wouldn't do it normally that early.I have 1 mare who can be quite evil and I feel that she is a bad influence on her offspring.I get them away from her quickly before they develop bad habits like she has.So far all 4 of her foals have been very sweet.My babies are always eating well before they are weaned.This year my 4 foals will be weaned Aug 16 or 17 according to the signs. My oldest was born April 5 and the youngest is May 15.
Our average has been 4 months. Sometimes we may start a bit earlier. No cold turkey here, we do the slow weaning process. If a foal doesn't seem to be doing as well as normal then we take a bit longer to totally wean.
Mine are all nearly four months or over four months. Although I shall not take them away form their Mamas for another month they are coming in for feed and off Mama for at least three hours a day now. This will escalate slowly through the next month and then they will not go back . This works well for me. I shall probably wean the smallest one a bit early as his Mama does not have much milk.
Last year my foals were eating well and I weaned them between 4 and 5 months. This year, my foals will hardly eat. I bring them in, put out feed for them, and they just nibble at it. The oldest is just over 4 months old now. Their moms must be giving plenty of milk. They certainly do not look thin.
I've been weaning between 4 months to 5 months. I start slowly keeping them away from Momma if they seem independent. If they play all day and not worry about where momma is....... Once they are eating good without momma, we go cold turkey.
I do have a foal here that is only 2 months but is eating pretty good on her own. Poor momma is being pulled down pretty hard. I've had them hear a month, LOTS of good food/hay and momma is still thin. May talk the mare's owner into weaning soon just for the mare's sake.
My foals NEVER call when they are separated for a while- the mares call more than the foals!!! The foals have one another and the feed, so they play and eat, and never worry. I build it up- to start with the mares come in with the foals and stand tied, then the mares get taken out when the foals are settled, but stand outside the round pen trying to steal the feed (!) Then the mares are moved to the field next door where they have better grazing so they hang around the gate then wander off and graze. Some of my foals are near weaning, the first two will come off this week or next, I think, I do not expect any calling- the mares are milked out before the foals return so the mares are comfy and the foals get no "hot" milk, this helps weaning to seem more natural.
well as most of you know i prefer 5-6 months. Interestingly enough i just read an article in this months horse magazine that they did a big study and it showed that horses weaned before 5-6 months in general have more behavior problems when they get old enough to train. Theory being (and what i have always thought) that nursing is alot more then nutrition. The mare is teaching her foal how to behave and be a horse. So if they are weaned very early they miss alot of this. No flames please just my opinion. Bob and i never agree on this LOL
I wean at 2-4 months - earlier if the foal is really dragging the mare down - later if I am showing the foal (they seem to look better when they are still on the mare and it makes shows less stressful).
I only have a few each year, so I have the luxery of waiting until they are ready I have 2 colts this year that have been very independent since they were 2 mos old. They are now 3 mos and could easily be weaned w/out it being stressful. They are not bringing the mares doesn though, so I will probably wean them next month at 4 months.
By the way - weaning by the Farmer's Alamanc, really DOES work. A friend talked me into trying it and now I am completely sold. Almost not fuss from either foal or mother, and the mother's seem to dry up faster. Not very scientific, but hey - if it works!