Sign in to follow this  
littlebayroan

It's Almost That Time! (Weaning. I Think I'm More Stressed Than Mama).

Recommended Posts

Mare has been a career broodmare for the past 7 years, so with Baby at 4+ months old, she cares but, she doesn't freak out when you take her out of the field and out of sight of Baby. She will go off on her own and leave Baby with the other horses on a regular basis. So, I'm not really worried about how she will react because she's been at this point before and she's about over it ;-)

Filly obviously has not :) And, filly runs the fence when mama OR one of her buddies is out of sight for too long. She is eating grain well and eating out of her own bucket at feeding time.

Current pasture situation is mare and foal, old retired mare, young 2 year old and yearling on roughly 8 acres of pasture and trees for windbreak.

Neighbors about a mile away have a mare with a slightly older mule colt who will be weaning around the end of the month. They have offered to house both babies in a small, safe lot.

I feel like it would be better to leave filly where she is familiar with everything else, and remove mama to our bigger farm. The problem is the wide open 8 acres of pasture where filly is at. I could move some panels from the other farm and build a small pen to keep her in for a day or 2, where she could still see her buddies but not run the fence.

I'm not in a hurry to wean, mare is holding her weight fine and I really wonder if she will just wean the filly completely in another couple of months, where it will be more emotional weaning than wanting to nurse. Mare is going to be started back under saddle after weaning, so weather would be the only factor in doing it sooner than later.

I'm having vet out to pull mare's Coggins and booster filly's shots and plan to talk with him, but he's not really a repro guy so....

How do you folks who are experienced breeders keep weaning as stress-free as possible, and which of the above options do you think is better?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally am not a fan of putting weanlings in together like that simply because you ultimately have to wean them from each other at some point. Is there any way you can stall the mare and foal next to each other over night? I think a gradual wean where they go out together during the day, but are separated at night (can see and touch, but not nurse) for a few weeks makes the transition easier. When it comes down to it, I would agree with you. Leave the filly where she is, and move the mare. Why not start the mare's saddle work now? Can do brief separations now too. Of course, I don't know what your situation is as far as stalling, arena, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stall beside the mare for a day or two, then side by side paddock with the mares paddock being one that is very large and goes out of sight of the weanlings, mare hangs close for a day, then second day goes out of sight but comes back if foal is whinning a lot, by third day mare often wanders out to back pasture and doesnt bother coming back. Others are loaded on trailer with the mare, then mare taken off and foal heads to it's new home. Got 1 leaving that way next week and another later this month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always done abrupt weaning. Yes, weanlings will bond withe each other, but that bond is no different than that of running any other horses together, once you start working and handling them. Having another weanling their age, is both less stressful, plus it provides that playmate , which is so important in having young horses move and play like they should .

Since I stopped halter breaking babies, before they were weaned, once i no longer showed them at halter as foals, weaning has always also been a start of their education

I stall my weanlings for the first week. During that time, I halter break them. By the end of the first week, they are not paniky any longer, far as trying to get back to mom.

The mares have stopped coming up tot he fence and calling,

Second week those babies go out daily into a large corral and are brought in at night. If they are hard to catch, they wear a halter with a short drag rope for a few days. I will then put a second halter over that one, just as if I was haltering them from scratch. Once they are easy to halter, they also go out without a halter on

During this time, they also learn about standing tied, while I trim their feet

After two months of this routine, they are ready to go in the large winter weanling pasture, which shares a fenceline and automatic waterer with the main herd, where their dams are. Neither show nay interest in each other, and the mares will more or less tell their babies to 'get lost', when they come up for water .

I would not just try to wean a baby in a pasture. Too great a risk of that foal going through the fence, in those first few days after weaning

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did a "soft wean" with our colt this year. Simply took his dam out of the their pasture and put her in the one next door. There wasn't a single neigh or complaint from either. We kept my mare (not his dam, but my own personal horse) in with him as a baby sitter. We had to wean at 3 months because he was growing SO fast, and mom was getting SO worn down. We were worried about epiphicitis (sp?) with him since his full brother and sister both got it. Weaning him at 3 months seems to have done the trick, he's looking fabulous, and still huge.

here's a pic from this past week...he took a nap while I braided him for a little photo shoot. He's such a chill little boy.

1378462_10151890680713480_253454612_n.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done both soft weans and hard ones. Yes there can be some calling over the fence with hard weans, but after the first day both do just fine. What I've had the luxury to have access to other weanlings or foals that had to be weaned at the same time, so all the babies end up going out to a paddock together which makes things easy for them. The problem with soft weans, is that some broodmares will sometimes line themselves up with the fence to allow their foal to nurse through the fence, which defeats the purpose of trying to separate them in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have always done hard weans when the mares did not wean on their own. If you have the time to wait and see if the mare weans on her own that is what I would do. That is certainly the least traumatic method for them both and an experienced mare might just do that.

It never seemed to make any difference to ours if we moved the mares or moved the foals. We usually moved the foals and left the mares in the pasture though. The mares rarely even called once the foals were off the property and the foals always settled within 24 hours. We usually weaned in groups because we always had multiple foals and they are easier to care for all in one pen. It would be safer to confine her for a day or two, at least until you see how she takes it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this