Oct. 4, 2012, 09:35 PM
Weaning my baby Saturday!- change of plans- see last post
The plan is to take mama and baby to my friends' ranch, unload baby, close trailer door, take off with mom. I am kind of nervous but I feel it's the safest scenario, since if we keep them both at home I wouldn't trust mom not to jump the fence. I'm still nervous about going cold turkey with my baby. She has never been out with anyone but her mom. My friend will initially keep her in a "common barnyard area" - other horses will be adjacent but not in with her. My friend is a lifelong horse person who has raised many babies. Any experiences weaning this way?
Last edited by springer; Oct. 5, 2012 at 11:27 AM.
Oct. 4, 2012, 09:40 PM
No. I always leave the foal in familiar surroundings and move the mare. Make sure you treat for for ulcers for a week or so.
Oct. 4, 2012, 10:01 PM
I agree with Laurie - I would feel MUCH more nervous about the foal hurting itself in an unfamiliar place than I would be with the foal at home. Are there any other horses you keep at home?
Oct. 4, 2012, 11:26 PM
Thanks you guys. Thanks to your input I am going to try and keep baby at home. I was a bit worried about trailering them both and unloading mom, but it just occurred to me that we wouldn't have to trailer the both of them. We can load one of our older geldings with mom and keep the other one here with baby. It will be stressful but I agree... I think the baby will be far less stressed at home. Thanks as always for being a wonderful support system!!
Oct. 4, 2012, 11:28 PM
I see "stress overload" for the foal. We never wean "cold turkey"...ever, but if I did, I'd relocate the mare. Baby will have an aweful lot to deal with...better the mare. JMO
Oct. 5, 2012, 12:44 AM
I always wean my foals gradually,especially the fillies. Fillies seem to need their mom's longer than the colts do. I start with just a few minutes of separation parked in two stalls next to each other and gradually increase it until both mom and baby are confident about it. Babies can get very frantic even with a few minutes until they get use to it. I plan a special treat for both of them so they look forward to their "separate" time. I allow nursing for several weeks , but I gradually decrease the nursing time. It works well for mom too so her bag can dry up slowly...no problems so far with mastitis. ( hope I spelled that right) Good luck!
Oct. 5, 2012, 07:47 AM
I always take the mares away, and leave the foals in their usual surroundings, as others have mentioned. When weaning, I would NEVER keep the foal turned out by itself. It worked out well for me this year, as I have 3 colts. In the past, I have managed a single mare and foal. In that situation, I had an old, super gentle gelding turned out with both mare and foal. Then, we just took the mare away for weaning.
Oct. 5, 2012, 09:59 AM
I wrote this a few posts up... plans have changed. Thanks for the advice-
Originally Posted by springer
Oct. 5, 2012, 10:22 AM
I thought the weaning dates for October were the 24-25.
I never take baby away. You have gotten good advice.
Oct. 5, 2012, 11:22 AM
Best days for weaning ARE the 24-25th.
Originally Posted by Sugarbrook
And definitely do not move baby. Move mama.
Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver, Equine Insurance Specialist
Oct. 5, 2012, 11:30 AM
OK- one of our old, safe geldings (she already visits with these guys over the fence) may be introduced to the mare and foal paddock today. My new idea is to see how that goes for a week then remove mom. She'll go to my friends' ranch. Wish me luck. And what is this about weaning dates? Some kind of star alignment thing?
Oct. 5, 2012, 12:38 PM
I always do side by side weanings. First in the stalls to separately feed and then extend the separation times. Then I do side by side pasture or paddock so they can touch, no nursing. Wood fences of course, if hot wire turn it off. The mare walks off and the baby finds things to explore and it's a done deal real quick. No screaming or stress. Use a good buddy for the baby and it's totally painless. I would never consider ripping them apart cold turkey.
About the only time losing is more fun than winning is when you're fighting temptation.
-- Tom Wilson, actor & comedian
Oct. 5, 2012, 12:48 PM
After the foal has a new friend and mentor and they know each other, when foal comes in for the morning feed, feed them as usual, then load up momma and take her away. Baby should stay in familiar surroundings.
I have a momma (somebody's broodmare) at my farm right now. She is doing fabulous btw. She has been here about 3-4 now. She does have a field totally to herself, but company on the other side of a fence.
Oct. 5, 2012, 01:01 PM
This sounds like a good plan. With all things horses, just be prepared to change it, lol. It seems like every ideal plan I make, we end up tweaking based on the horses reactions.
Originally Posted by springer
We've removed the dam from the farm in the past, which went fairly well. The last couple of years we've done graduated shared-fence line weaning which worked SUPER with 2 and required a modification in the plan for 1. My ideal is to have the horses the baby will be turned out with out with the mare and foal. Eventually you really see the foal hanging out with the other horses, and lessening time with mom to nurse mainly. When you split that way, it's so peaceful.
This year I WANTED to do that, but the mare was being a B**** with any horse we were putting out with her and her foal. We ended up with a nasty kick on the pasture bud-horse by POed momma and decided it wasn't worth the risk so she has been solo with her baby. We decided to try fenceline anyway, and after about 30 minutes realized it was going down hill (frantic mare/foal), so I pulled the mare away to a pasture farther away. That made a difference. It has been a week and the filly has integrated herself into her new herd and is good with life, so we'll try to move mom back in the adjacent field.
I always try do what is best for the horses, and sometimes that means changing things mid-stream.
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