When do your foals join the herd?

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Marty

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Been trying to think this one through. All my girls stay together in a big field. Nick is separated and does not run with the mares.

Holly hasn't been with her buddies now in months due to her being on dry lot and she is starting to miss being with them. Although she's a great mom, she does stand at the fence line and call to them. She wants back in the herd. But it's not safe in that big field for Timmy. It goes down over a hill where I cannot see them all the time when they head down there.

But Timmy's only 2 weeks old and very tiny so I have no intention of putting him out in the big field where I cannot keep a close watch on him. Not that anyone would deliberately hurt him, I think they all love him and are amused by him when they gather round him at the fence line to nuzzle with him, but you never know. No doubt that Holly would also be protective as my girls all get along and are very peaceful.

By the time he's weaned, (don't plan on doing that in the dead of winter), maybe he can then join the others. He'd be around 6 months. But then it would only be for a couple of months after that before he starts wanting to jump their bones, and I don't intend on having him get himself hurt by getting kicked at for it. I"d probably geld him somewhere along the line, but not in any hurry to do so since I am set up with facilities and paddocks for more horses.

So what would really be the point in having him join the mares in the first place? Just for socialization would be my only reason.

So, what do you do with your foals?
 

blueprintminis

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Well, mine are born in the foaling stall. At a day or two if the weather is good, baby and mama will go out in paddock that adjoins the mare pasture. All the mares gather around to check out the new little one. If there is more than new foal, that mare and foal will also go out in the paddock with the other new mare and foal. A mare and her new baby will rejoin the herd when I feel the foal is strong and alert enough and when it is well bonded with mom. If I can lead the mare around, back and forth to the paddock, in and out of the barn, and the foal is able to stay at mom's side and not "get lost" and when the mare band has had sufficient time to check him out thru the fence, then after the outside mares are fed and are happy and have wondered back out to pasture then I'll put mom and new baby out back. On occasion, usually with a younger momma, the foal will get confused and start following a more dominant mare. Amazingly, this resolves itself shortly. I just am sure that I do this when I can be in close proximity for the first several hours. Good luck. It's always scary to let them out. Kinda like when the kids first day of kindergarden and sending them off on the big yellow bus.
 

hhpminis

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I do the same. I have a paddock that the other mares can get to know the new foal through the fence first.

I watch the mare and kinda let her determine when they go back as well. I always watch for a while when I first do it to make sure no one is going to get the stuffing kicked out of them though.

I have had very good success with my mares and geldings accepting the foals and they usually are very protective of them.

This year I brought a mare home that had been out being bred and another mare to breed to my stallion, it was a trade, and when they joined the herd, every other mare made a circle around the foal and would not let the 2 new mares near her until they established the rules, it was really neat to watch them all protect her.
 

Miniv

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We have a pasture area right off the barn that is used as a nursery area. The mares who are about to pop are in there and then mares with their 2 day old foals are turned out there.

Marty, have you thought about bringing another mare up to Holly??? The other mare could keep Holly company and help to socialize Timmy.

MA
 

Marty

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Yes Holly and Timmy are in a small grassy paddock which is right off the barn and adjoins the other fields. Everyone has met everyone.

Silver Belle and Ebbie are very closely knit to Holly so I was thinking of bringing one of them in there. Silver Belle has always been the one to take the young ones under her wing and try to protect. Ebbie however seems way too infatuated with Timmy and the night he was born, she about came unglued during the event as she watched in the window of her stall. She was digging, pawing, rearing, screaming as Holly delivered. She may have been scared for Holly, I don't know, but she seems to want to possibly steal him away if given the chance. Just a possibility.
 
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SunQuest

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Our pastures are next to each other. I let the mare and foal share the fence line with the other mares. Then I observe who the foal wants to talk to and what mares respond the nicest. Then after two to three weeks I put a mare into the same pasture as the mare and foal. I choose the mare that seems to be the nicest to the foal. Most often the foal's dam will keep the mare away for a day or two, but once the dam allows the foal to pester the other mare, I then add another mare to the mix. I do this until my whole herd that I want the baby in with is able to share the area. The reason I do it this way is that I don't want the foal to have to worry about learning a new area while it is learning to be part of the herd. Too much stress and the danger of the other mares chasing the baby through or into a fence is too high. Once all the mares and the baby are integrated together, I will then put them to a new area for the foal. This way the foal will not be as likely to be chased into a fence.

As far as why would you put Timmy in with mares? Well, call it grade school. Timmy needs to learn the dynamics of a herd enviroment. It will teach him manners and how to be nice to others. Also, the mares often take turns babysitting. It gives the dam a chance to relax a little when the foal is pestering the other mares. It is neat to watch them all interact together. So yep, start to introduce new horses to Timmy's area.
 

Bess Kelly

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I do pretty much what the others are saying. When I have several mares and foals the have a great time! But, this year I have only one foal and one more that I'm hoping will arrive "soon"
. so mom & month old colt are in with her, 2 other older broodmares and a young mare. Everyone was quite fine with the whole thing, the foal will learn to socialize and mom has companions other than a pesky kid.


You know, the colts are usually far more independent than the fillies. Heck, when I went out to feed tonight the foal wasn't with mom -- nope, he was sleeping at the far end of the field. However, the older mares had left the younger one there to keep watch! When he got up at hearin my voice and scampered off to mom, Penny then wandered on up too.

Amazing to watch a field of mares and foals! It's the only part of breeding several mares that I've missed while not breeding many in last few years.
 

Marty

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Here's the little Casanova on his first day out giving kisses to Merry Beth and Silver Belle

 

ChrystalPaths

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I have to agree with Nila. Timmy needs to learn to socialize. The herd's pecking order is very important. Holly will protect him. He won't stray too far at first, but I find the boys to be more adventurous.

My Casey never hung with his mom after the first couple weeks, he found the others much more entertaining. He could jump on them and bite them and kick them and they just smiled and said "boys". That stinker even tried nursing on my Treasure and was allowed!

He is almost 3 mos now and the herd stopped being so tolerant of his bad behavior and did begin the teaching of manners. Now with Ginny he'll be weaned and be out with a bunch of other kids. Man is he in for a surprise.

I would let the girls into Holly's paddock one at a time then just open it up. He'll stay with the herd and all of his "aunts" will take care of him too. Don't worry about the fussing, there is bound to be some flat ears and nipping and butt spins until they learn just how much Holly will tolerate. Good luck, be strong. he needs his extended family! Just walk the outer fence and look at it from "his" perspective to see any problems.
 

zacharyfarms

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Marty I wouldn't wait that long to have him join the herd...Holly will protect him and it will be easier now than later...I introduce mine out into the herd as soon as the babies are strong and well bonded...he needs to join the herd as soon as possible and so does Holly.

Judy
 

CountryHaven

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My mares go back into their respective herds when the foal is one week old, assuming all is well, and the foal is healthy and strong. Our stallion is even out with them, and he's great with them.
 

CountryHaven

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blueprintminis said:
On occasion, usually with a younger momma, the foal will get confused and start following a more dominant mare.  Amazingly, this resolves itself shortly.
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I had some hilarious occassions this year, as two of the mares in one of my groups are absolutely IDENTICAL... well, their two foals would every so often get confused as to who momma was. They let them no in no uncertain terms (gently, but with no uncertainty). LOL
 

DebiM

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I agree with the others, Marty. I would go ahead and get him into the herd. They've been visiting along the fenceline already by the pics so I would try it for awhile today.
 

bob r

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WE'VE HAD 28 FOALS THIS YEAR, THEY'VE ALL GONE IN THE HERD OR AT LEAST STARTED RUNNING WITH A STALLION AT------ DAY 5
 

Margaret

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I am currently weaning a 4 month old that will ship in a month or so.. he was in a pen beside his dam with pasture, and also next to the others...I ended up letting him be with my most gentle mare of 3 years old.. She is my "adjustment mare," for any new mini, that comes in to the herd. He is now with her and they exchange scratches and run alot and chase each other.. It is so much better than all by himself, as he has a big need to be with some other horse.. Although I did not expect it, he is allready trying to mount her, but she is being gentle with him, although she does not appreciate it, and bumps him when he tries... (he must have inherited his daddys hormones
)
 

sedeh

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Marty, I know you'll be a nervous wreck the first time you put Timmy and Holly in with other horses. This was my first year with babies and my friend Kathi was laughing at me and calling me "nervous Nellie" when I was putting mares and foals back together and then in with the stallion again. All went well though and the mares all watch out for the little guys. I'm amazed at how patient they are even when it's not their own foal....especially when the colts mount the mares...amazing. I learn so much just watching the herd interactions. Good luck.....
 

virginia

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Marty he needs to know he is a horse. He needs to know what is expected of him in a herd. Timmy should be out there by now. He has to learn and it's something that you can't teach him. If you keep him seperate, he will not know how to socalize and that is VERY important. Please put him out now, his mom too!!! LOL

Ginny StP
 

Range

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I would go ahead and let them together. I usually wait a month before I do, that's when our mare finally calms down enough to let the foal get pretty far from her without having a panic attack and no one else is excited through the fence line. Be prepared for some hysterics at first while Holly lets everyone know Timmy is definitely HERS. He needs to learn herd dynamics or he will think he is a big boss man!
 
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Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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My babies always go out with the herd geldings and all (and next to the stallions or colts where they can get nose to nose and groom eachother and stuff)

I have never had any problem I wait about a week or more if it is a maiden mare and let them in a pen near the other horses if not a maiden they go out with the herd at about 3 days or so

When i wean i seperate the mares from the herd and let them stay togther and leave the foals in with everyone else i have been able to put my foals back with my mares during the winter after weaning and the fillies stay there and the colts stay till the spring of there yearling year
 

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