Who is weaning foals now and how is it going?

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targetsmom

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We separated our mares and foals yesterday morning with the foals at just over 4 months. They two foals were born two days apart on May 1 and May 3 and this week was convenient for us, as we don't have any horse shows for the next couple of weeks. Lots of crying, and owner stress, but so far, so good. Foals spent the night together in one of the foaling stalls while the mares were NOT locked in a stall for the first time in months!. They were both outside (together) this morning. Udders look huge, but everyone is eating, drinking, and pooping. Foals are getting Gastrogard for a few days, plus both mares and foals are getting soaked alfalfa cubes every few hours. The 4-Hers were here yesterday and gave the two mares a much-appreciated grooming while another group (out of sight) gave the foals some attention.

When and how do you wean and are you weaning foals now? I figure a lot of foals on here were born about the same time as ours.
 

MountainWoman

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I don't wean at four months. I'd wean at 6 months if they were leaving but since my foals are staying with me, I'll just let them self wean. Moms are all fat and happy and babies are doing great and leaving their Moms for longer and longer periods of time. And because I don't do back to back breedings, Raven and Sweetie can just enjoy motherhood this year. I know I'm probably in the minority in this though but it works for me and my horses.
 

Magic Marker Minis

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We were forced to wean our four foals between 4-5 months. Two mothers were losing weight and feeding extra wasn't showing any improvement.

We started with the four babies in one pen and the four momma's divided between two pens. The four foals are now in the backyard with access to a bigger pen. The mother's are out with the rest of the herd. Some calling, but otherwise the babies are fine. We kept them all together, so they are bonded. Later we will separate the two colts from the two fillies(the smallest filly is the leader).

We are feeding the foals a equal amount of 14% Senior feed and Calf Manna. They are also getting grass and alfalfa. I little more grass, due to the alfalfa being rich(just cut and baled about a week ago). Mares are getting alfalfa and slowly gaining weight.
 

eagles ring farm

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We are weaning our 2 oldest now 5 & 7 mos we started them a week ago on labor day- they are both doing fine. we stall our horses at night so babies go on 1 side of the barn with board they can see thru usually with another mare with no foal next to them. this year it worked best for the mare to be on the end and 2 foals next to each other. Mares are across the hall in stalls they can't see out 2 of our foaling stalls. Outside the foals are with the rest of the herd and our other unweaned foal only 3 mos old. and the 2 mares of the weaned foals in an adjoining field where babies can visit at the gate but not nurse. They get bored hanging near the gate after a couple days and go join the rest of the herd. it's been a little over a week and they hardly ever go to the gate now. And moms are the same. We will in the next couple days move moms away to another field where they can't be seen by the foals

Now everyone is quiet at feeding time moms and foals. the first couple days we had a bit of yelling from babies and 1 mom.

This is our first year weaning foals on Purina miniature horse feed. Our mares and foals with moms have been on it for at least 1-1/2 yrs. So far all are a great weight and babies have been eating drinking and pooping fine since day 1
 
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AnnaC

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We dont wean until 6 months either, but last year we had experimented with later foalings so our babies were approx 4 months at the end of December when we would usually be weaning. Like Sara, we dont breed back to back, so decided to let the babies run through the winter with their dams and the rest of the girl herd. Also we have lost or had to dismantle a lot of our buildings/barns due to our building programme here, so I didnt have any spare space to house the weanlings. We obviously made the right decision as here in the UK we had one of the coldest winters on record, loads of snow, biting winds and weeks of sub zero temperatures. We opened up all our fields to the herd so that they could choose where to go to find shelter from the winds and put out big round bales of hay ad lib. Everyone came through the winter looking fat and sassy (and with huge hairy coats!) and the foals were eventually weaned at around 10 months of age when we pulled them from the fields, loaded them into our horse box and moved them over to Cathy's farm - cold turkey - with no 'complaints' from them or their dams.

This year we have 4 or 5 mares bred at the usual times so due to foal next May/June, which means we will be back again to weaning after Christmas - and will hopefully have a new barn/building available for the foals who will then have their own 'weanling' field well away from the mares who will be left with the herd.
 

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I'm a 4 month weaner, and have been for almost every mare/foal. I did have one that had a hard start, so let him go to 6 months, but wasn't breeding momma back, so it worked for them. Most times, at 4 months my babies were already eating so well, they hardly noticed mom was gone -- as they had other weaning buddies with them -- so it was never too difficult a time.

My two mares that I found had weaned their foals between 3-4 months, kind of confirmed to me that this was an okay age. They both did it on their own, and I never even noticed until I began separating them for weaning, and discovered moms had completely dried up and done it themselves.

I have had to wean a foal very early due to a momma's health once, but that went well, just had to give a lot more attention and find a buddy close to the right age to keep baby active and her attention focused on being a foal -- not nursing.

I think we make it harder on ourselves than it really is for many of the babies. Most seem to handle it just fine, as do the momma's after the first day.
 

happy appy

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I weaned my 3 at 4-5 months. The youngest was already weaned from his mom by her! She always weans early. He was fat and sassy so it was ok by him. He joined the other 2 older ones in a separate area for a few weeks and then they left for their new homes at 1.5 months into weaning. No one had any problems. The moms called for the first afternoon and then nothing. They are all seasoned pros though. The moms had almost no udder at the end of the first week and nothing by the middle of the second.
 

Magic Marker Minis

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We have switched our horses around. Mama's are in the backyard with unlimited feed. Going to add senior and beetpulp. They are not bouncing back very fast with the rest of the herd. Need them at better weight with winter coming, we will be moving back to Missouri(around Jan), and they are all in foal again.

Babies are with the rest of the herd. They will be separated at night, so they get their grain. They also don't have to compete for hay that way, also. Three of the four babies are fat and sassy. One is a little behind, but she eats the most because she is top horse(with the babies).
 

targetsmom

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OK, I got a new halter this week so I had to try it on one of the weanlings. Weaning is going well so far. For those that question cutting the mares feed back, I am running a very poorly controlled experiment. One reason we weaned now was because one mare was a bit thinner than I like to see but the other one is fat. So the fat one got her grain cut back to almost nothing and the other one is actually getting MORE grain because she is not sharing with her foal (below). Both udders seem to be coming down at about the same rate. Of course it is too early to tell if Dancer is gaining weight but no one seems especially stressed. I stopped the foal's Gastrogard on Tuesday.

This is Jake....a keeper.

Jake_show_halter_9_13_13.jpg
 

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What a pretty halter! And look how beautiful is that stance!! Stunning as ever!

I always put weaning moms on a "regular" portion of their grain, as when I weaned my own kids -- I didn't stop eating! So, I'm always in favor of keeping things as "normal" as possible for the mommas, which reduces their stress levels, and I think makes for a happier weaning time for all.
 

Vansplic

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I am following momma s lead. She has done this at least 11 other times! We are still open to a buddy but right now could not squeeze one into the barn
even found the one I want


Anyway... Mom is wanting to eat alone so they are eating separately. Mom also asks for breaks so I try and take Topaz out of sight to work on halter stuff, loading... All the training stuff she still needs. She always knocks mom one in the utter when she returns but I don't think there is anything much there anymore.
 

paintponylvr

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Mary - Jake is a stunner!!

I have weaned at various periods in the past.

The late foal that I had last year was weaned early this year and he didn't do well. I stubbornly kept him away from his dam (she needed the break) - he quit eating. Getting him to eat again was tough. For a while, I have had him on Ani Med's Equi-tum suppliment which his 1/2 sister was put on while in training for showing by the trainer she was with but getting more of it seems to be a problem. Our vet doesn't think it's necessary. He is eating now - I want to introduce a higher protein additive to his feed - but every change I make causes him to stop eating, soooo.... At least he's not a rack of bones anymore, but still looks very bad... Getting ready to do a 2nd round of Panacur Powerpac followed up by Ivermectin before going to a double dose of Strongid. He is also very attached to a 2 yr old stud colt that I have sold and is supposed to be leaving soon. I'm not sure how to handle "weaning" him again...

The 3 foals that we had in April have been separated for hours at a time from their dams. They eat hay, graze, eat feed and drink - along with running around and calling. Only Echo's dam, Tory, calls back. When they are turned back out with their mums, they run directly to them, the mares welcome them back, and they nurse hard. Only Stuffy is doing any "bunting away" at this point but only after a couple of minutes of hard sucking. Stuffy is doing the worst of the mares - I'm ready to completely wean the foals. I was planning on weaning them next week, but -

On Saturday 8 September, they received their first Rabies shots. They were each give 2 MLs (as far as I can remember, last year they only got 1? maybe I'm wrong?). Echo is STILL kinda mopey, not himself and Bunny has a HUGE knot that is still painful just in front of her shoulder blades. I'm not sure exactly where either of them actually got their shot as I was on the opposite side and holding them (Bunny was "rabbiting" about, LOL). Actually, this is not funny. I'm not positive that the knot she has is from the Rabies shot or from a fly bite (I've had one other pony & a full size horse get a knots from fly bites and one is sore the other is not). Neither foals has had a fever when I've checked.

Seems like each year I'm having more and more reactions to shots here and I'm really getting concerned about it... Last fall I treated 6 out of 10 ponies for reactions at injection sites for Rabies shots and 2 for reactions at injection sites to WNEWT. I was hot packing all of those necks 2 x daily (boy that was TERRIBLE!!), two of them that couldn't seem to move their necks at all were done more often as well as given banamine. Our vet has changed protocols for Rabies - says it needs to be given 2x more in the next several months on the foals. I'd never even done boosters on the Rabies, so that was a HUGE surprise! I have done boosters on the WNEWT, usually 6 -8 weeks after giving the first dose. Also have done boosters on the PHF and Strangles when they've been given (I don't regularly give either - those have been in response to ponies going to certain states or when they've gone out to show trainers and it's been required).

All of these shots were given by my vet. I have also started having an occasional reaction to shots WNEWT that I've given - didn't have any this spring, though...

Is anyone else having reactions to Rabies shots? The ages of these ponies was all over - some were getting theirs for the first time, others had been getting them 1x yearly since 2008. In other areas, have protocols changed on Rabies shots? YES, I know that Rabies has cropped up in our area and that MAY be why the protocol has changed?

I'd still like to plan on weaning my three foals next week... That will be "cold turkey", but they will still hear and see their dams - just not be able to get to them... I don't know how I will handle weaning our new guy later.
 

targetsmom

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Hi Paula-

Thanks for the compliment on Jake. As for shots, our vet splits them up into 2 visits, at least in the spring, so they don't get everything at once. And he also uses both sides of the neck each time for more than one shot. He will be doing fall shots this week and we haven't discussed what he will do when yet. I hope I don't jinx myself, but we don't seem to get reactions, yet I remember an occasional reaction with a riding horse where they couldn't reach the ground to eat!
 

chandab

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I've only ever had mild reactions to shots, except with my half-Arab gelding, he had pretty good reaction to Strangles vaccine (I was boarding and they required it). Vet recommended dosing him with a low dose of bute for 3 days (maybe it was 5), starting 1-2 days before the planned vaccine and going 1-2 days after the planned vaccine. This protocol did work with him, and his last two strangles vaccines hardly affected him. [i have no idea if the banamine would be as affective.]
 

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Never gave rabies shots here, so no help.

The first time I met my equine vet I found she gave ALL shots just sub-cutaneous in the chest -- never a knot, and basically no discomfort from it. After her first visit here, I started giving all my shots in the chest, just under the skin, and never had a problem at all. The nice thing is you can use a smaller gauge needle most of the time -- unless it is a thick medication.

It's an area that doesn't cause any pain when they move, no knot or painful neck, and as they move it works itself in nicely.

Just an idea.
 

Maple Hollow Farm

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Mostly done weaning at my place, only have one left to go. I leave babies where they are and just pull mares out to another pasture when it is time. I usually wean around 4mos depending on the foals. Babies rarely ever look for their moms, occasionally have mares that call for the babies but since the babies ignore them, doesnt last too long. I took this lil guy to a fun show a couple weeks after weaning and he was Champion of Champions :D I love watching the babies grow up!





 
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AnnaC

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Good to have you around again Melinda - what a cracking baby you have there, and congrats on the show results.


Mary, Jake is just gorgeous, growig up to be such a handsome lad, and I love that new halter too.
 

Maple Hollow Farm

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Thanks, its been a busy few months! Hoping to be able to pop in more often now that Nationals and show season is over!
 

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