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When do you wean?

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tigeresss

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I've been checking out websites and reading adds and it appears that some people wean at 3months some people wean at 6 months and then there's loads of other times. With big horses most people around here will wean when they think the baby is ready. They don't like to drag it out for too long as it can be very hard on the mare. Somewhere between 3 and 4 months.

So when do you wean your miniature foals?
 

lyn_j

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[SIZE=14pt]I wean between 3-4 months. I have had very good luck with the babies doing this.[/SIZE]

Lyn
 

JMS Miniatures

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We wean at 4 months of age, 5 months if we feel it's best. 4 months is the earilest, 6 months is the latest for us.
 

Tony

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We generally wean between three and four months.
 

Miniv

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On average we wean at 4 months, but it can be longer if the mare and foal aren't either physically or mentally ready. Often, though, both do fine at 4 months.

MA
 

Marty

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I never set a time limit before. I think it depends on the situation and what is going on with each mare and baby. I have weaned at 3, 4 and 6 months. The eariliest at 3 months because the baby was dragging my mare down badly.
 

Becky

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I wean at 4+ months. I use to wean at 3 months, but found my foals to be way more stressed, didn't eat as well and were more likely to get those big pot bellies. Now I know that foals need the enzymes in milk to help digest fiber, so I wean later and give my foals a milk based foal starter pellet until they are at least 6 months of age. It has made a significant difference with my weanlings!
 

starminis

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Becky...

What brand of foal starter do you use? My foals are 4 and 5 months and they are ready to wean.
 

SunQuest

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I personally prefer 5 1/2 to 6 months of age if the mares don't loose too much weight. But, I don't breed my mares every year either. I prefer to breed them every other year so that they are not pregnant and nursing at the same time as I think this does help with some of the weight issues.

I found that when I wean at 6 months old, the foals just don't stress out like they do earlier, and the mares are less stressed also. Also, the mares take the seperation better as they almost seem to think "Thank heavens I can be rid of that whipper snapper for a while." Also, the foals seem to have a much higher confidence level when I have waited until they are older. I have horses that were weaned at 3 months, and I can tell you that some of them were definately very certain of themselves before weaning, and then it took some time for them to regain part of that self assurance.

Another thing, by waiting that long, the foals are well on their way to eating solid food and they don't need any special formula or starter to help them along. One needs to remember that during the first year of life it is hard for a foal to get all the nutrients out of the solid food that they eat. The younger they are, the less the body absorbs the nutrients from their solid food. So by waiting, they do better with just a very high quality diet without any special diets.

Really, if the foal gets an adequate supply of nutrients from a starter, one can wean earlier. And I think that often people wean earlier not because the mare is loosing weight, but because they want to start to use the mare for other things or they wish to start using the foal. Showing horses is one example of where the practice of weaning early is often seen as a benefit.

But this is just what has worked for me. And definately it depends on each horse. Heck, there have been times I haven't weaned until 7 or 8 months and the foals are almost totally weaned by the mare herself. That makes it really easy then. (I did the same practice with large horses as well.)
 

Southern_Heart

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We always wean about 4 to 5 months depending on the foal and the dam!

Joyce
 

Becky

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Starminis - I use Progressive Nutritions' Foals First Starter and Creep. My foals eat this along with their dams feed which I use Progressive Nutritions' Diet Balancer Alfalfa Formula. Buckeye makes a similiar product. Though the Foal Starter recommends stopping it by 4 months of age, I find the foals do much better if they are left on it until at least 6 months of age.

When first weaned I feed a fairly large amount along with the Diet Balancer, alfalfa pellets and alfalfa hay. Some pasture too. I gradually decrease the Foal Starter over the next few months until they are just on the Diet Balancer, hay and pasture.
 

ChrystalPaths

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Really depends on how many I have and how they're doing. With only one I tend to wait til 5-6 mos. With 2 or more I try for 4 mos and I wean slowly over several weeks.
 

littlesteppers

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Dimimore said:
Really depends on how many I have and how they're doing.  With only one I tend to wait til 5-6 mos.  With 2 or more I try for 4 mos and I wean slowly over several weeks.
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I do the same..usually "wait" for the youngest One and than wean the whole bunch..they so nosey and playful..seems to make it easier on them ..
 

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