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  #1  
Old 11-02-11, 11:10 PM
Mezza Mezza is offline
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Default Weaning foals...How young is too young?

Just wondered thoughts on weaning foals? Is there an age which can be too young/detrimental to wean them?

I ask as sthe mare is a windsucker and wish the foal to not develop this habit as the previous one has done. We weaned him at 6 months.

So all those whom breed your thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 11-02-11, 11:13 PM
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Kermandie Kermandie is offline
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Totally acceptable to wean at 3 months, as long as foal is eating and drinking independantly.
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Old 11-02-11, 11:16 PM
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Elmo's Mum Elmo's Mum is offline
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Yes, I agree with Kermandie. Shame about the previous foal though.
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Old 12-02-11, 12:32 PM
Mezza Mezza is offline
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Thanks a heap guys.
I'm not terribly knowledgable on the breeding stuff have always been riding/training. And we only breed 1-2 foals a yr here so still just working out whats good and bad.

Yes they do seem to be quite happy to eat mums feed but enjoy a good slurp every so often too. Just handling them a little more whilsit still on mum and then i think the big W day shall arrive.
Thanks again
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Old 12-02-11, 12:57 PM
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Victoria Tower Victoria Tower is offline
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If I have already sold the foal or have show prep to do, I wean at 12 weeks. They cope fine as they are already eating independently and drinking trough water.
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Old 12-02-11, 01:43 PM
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Lou_Kimba Lou_Kimba is offline
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With horse people and the subject of weaning it's almost like asking how long is a piece of string...I've had such varied answers, some quite adamant on their views of what is the "right" age. We were told years ago when we bred our first foal to leave him on for 12 months, had a couple of people tell us that and apparently that was what they did. Then I've had people tell me about 4 months, 6 months and so on. I have the book "Practical Horse Breeding" which is Australian and written by a vet, he suggests you can wean at 3-4 months if necessary without harm. The previous foal we had was a small, stunted filly (long story, we didn't breed it) and was taking everything out of the poor mare, she was tiny but I was feeding her well with hard feed from a young age (soaked Breeda pellets until they went like a mash) and mingled her with my others and my gelding took quite a liking to her and took her under his wing. Weaning her was a matter of putting her in one paddock and the mare in another. Too easy. When I told a "friend" at the time I'd weaned her at just on 4 months, I got abused and shunned for such an act. Got told I was cruel, that the foal wouldn't survive, that I knew nothing about horses etc etc. That I should have left her on for at least 6-8 months etc etc. They then offered to buy the foal off me in order to "get it away from me" as they could apparently offer a better home and more knowledge than I could.

Now my current foal I've decided to leave him a little bit longer and have had words from a couple of people that I should get him off sooner rather than later!! So go figure. And he's just on 4.5 months.
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Old 12-02-11, 01:48 PM
Willowmoss Willowmoss is offline
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My boy turns 3 months today and i am thinking it is time. He eats and drinks and i will be showing him.

He only goes to mum for the milkbar and mum couldnt care less if he was near her or not.
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Old 12-02-11, 02:05 PM
13718 13718 is offline
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Lou Kimba, aren't some people frustrating.

I think each foal needs to be judge independantly. I've seen 3 month old foals weaned that never looked back. They were growing too fast and too big and Mum was fading away. The more the mare was was fed the more milk she produced for the large foal..........
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Old 12-02-11, 05:29 PM
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Tony Tony is offline
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Exactly what 13718 said, but I would have used a more colourful word than frustrating.

Today is weaning day here, foal is 3.5 months. Its the earliest I have ever weaned, but the foal is huge (knees level with her 17hh mother) and in too good condition. I've never had this happen before, but with this years rain my mares are on good grass producing rich milk, foal old enough to be eating the good grass herself, plus helping mum eat her hard feed, plus sucking rich milk out of her = rapid growth.

So in this case it is better to wean her now.

Weaning day is horrid, no matter when you do it. It is the worst part of breeding for me. So far today has been no different than when I've weaned at 6 months, and at 5 months. How old is your foal Mezza?
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Old 12-02-11, 05:39 PM
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Victoria Tower Victoria Tower is offline
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Weaning usually is not the most pleasant time! However, I remember when I weaned one foal (who is now our stallion) at 12 weeks as he was being foal shown and he was so cruisy, I actually let him out of the stable the next day and into a yard. He looked over at his mum and looked away and started eating! Certainly made weaning alot less stressful for all concerned - including me!!
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Old 12-02-11, 05:42 PM
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if the foal was healty and eating well I would have no issue weaning at 3 or 4 months in the long term it would probably end up better for your foal not to have it wind sucking.

its funny how horses pick up habits from there mums or even other horses around them.

My old horse Zac used to paw the ground when he ate, very lighty more just lifting and holding his leg up.

he ended up paddocked with my broodmare as they are great mates, the mare picked up the habit and will paw when ever she has a hard feed, she doesn't do it with hay, she got so bad I hobbled her for a while whenever she was fed (while in a small yard) but she only sometimes does it now. Zac died when my foal was a month old, but his pawing legacy lives on as now harley does it picked up from his mother!!!!! He is a gentle pawer and does it more out of antipation then while he is eating.
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Old 12-02-11, 07:14 PM
annaba annaba is offline
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I normally do four mths with no drama. I dont really handle them before that other than to catch to worm and feet so that get a bit big after four months o "catch" to put the headcollar on.

I have seen foals weaned at 3 mths no drama.

I have also left some til 6 mths.

I havnt noticed much diff either way!
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Old 12-02-11, 08:15 PM
ciao_baby ciao_baby is offline
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I weaned my last foal at 3 months for exactly the reason Tony says. The foal was a total gorger and as a result the mare kept producing more and more milk and ended up with an udder like a friesan cow.
The filly was doing too well and filly was obese and it was putting huge strain on her legs. Unfortunately I did not catch her early enough even then and her joints swelled and I now have a two year old with two horrible front legs.

I thought the mare was just a profuse milker so watched her very carefully with this years foal and it seems its a completely different story.
This foal was eating independantly very early and the mare as a result is just not producing as much milk supply as she did last year as the demand is not there. So this foal is a healthy weight and doing really well so I am going to keep him on her while hes happy and healthy. Shes not been re served this year so he can stay with her for at least another couple of months (hes 3 mths now)

I've weaned a couple of others at 3 months due to mare issues and all have been perfectly fine.
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  #14  
Old 12-02-11, 09:29 PM
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We have a mare here that was weaned at 10 weeks as her mum died, she went on to grow into a beautiful mare that while retired now is still going strong at 23 years old.
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Old 12-02-11, 11:02 PM
Mezza Mezza is offline
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This is super news. Think as soon as i get some bedding for the boxes i mite just have to wean both foals.

1 is 5 months old(colt) end of this month and he has nearly wenaed himself not too fussed on mum only if he needs a drink he's a bit of a dude but a little in your face and the other 4months(filly) Little Miss attitude so am thinking may prove benificial she doesnt always have mum for back up.

Got a vet in to check on one of them(as had had an op done to his legs) so will see what he thinks of them both physically to do so cause am pretty keen to prevent this habit from occurring.

Thanks again Eques is such a wealth of knowledge!!
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  #16  
Old 12-02-11, 11:10 PM
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I have just weaned a foal at 6 weeks on vets advice. She is doing fine, I am adding dencavit to her feeds instead of bottle feeding her. I weaned her with a 6mt old for company. usually I wean at 4-6 months.
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Old 13-02-11, 04:00 PM
Fyadara Fyadara is offline
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While weaning age may depend on many circumstances, there is a link with the development of stereotypic behaviour (like windsucking) and early weaning in a stable. Developing this behaviour can also be a genetic predisposition, so weaning this foal at 3 months in a stable may not prevent the development of wind sucking.

But than again, the last foal developed it as well, so you may as well try something different.
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Old 13-02-11, 06:50 PM
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We never wean before 5 months, but if the mare is losing weight we creep feed the foal and feed the mare separately.
We used to wean by suddenly and totally separating mare and foal, such as taking the mare to another farm, but both mare and foal became very distressed. We now keep them in adjacent yards, but not so the foal can suckle. After about 2 days the mare is happy to drift off into a nearby paddock. The foal stays in the yard with a mate and learns to lead, tie up and go into a float. Absolutely no dramas.
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Old 13-02-11, 07:03 PM
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I wean usually at about 4 months, but have weaned at 3 or as late as 7-8.

Hmm, the one & only time I tried gradual weaning, the 16h TB mare went absolutely troppo because her foal was in an adjoining stable. The foal was fine, but she was going to kill herself. As soon as we removed her out of sight of the foal, she promptly forgot about it.

None of my broodies are distressed at all when you wean their foals by popping them in the stable & putting them back in the paddock with their friends.
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  #20  
Old 13-02-11, 07:08 PM
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I do the same Amanda and i actually think some of my girls breathe a sign of relief They know the drill. I do find with the first foal the mares hang on the fence a bit but if they are in with the old hands they soon go off grazing and no dramas.
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