Drying off the Mare??

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Drying off the Mare??

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    10-23-2013, 12:36 AM
Drying off the Mare??

HI Everyone,
Well the time has finally arrived, Zephyr is 11 months old and I am weaning him.
I actually started leading him away from Merlot for short periods from 4 months of age and lately had been grazing her separately in the next door paddock for an hour or so.
This all meant that neither of them are stressing at all (in fact when I checked on them a few minutes ago, Lord Lubs was busy playing with his NBF Danny Boy) and it is now 24 hours on since they have been totally separated. They are next door to each other so can see but not touch.
Now My question is....How do I help Merlot get rid of her milk??? I had thought (DUH!) that she wasn't producing much as her bag was always so small. Now I realise that that was because His Lordship is a complete guts. The poor girl looks VERY uncomfortable when she walks - sort of like she has an exercise ball between her legs.
How many days will this take to go down? Is she at risk of milk fever etc?
Cheers and thanks
Wallaby and dbarabians like this.
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    10-23-2013, 01:17 AM
She will be sore for a few days then her bag will start getting smaller.
I do not use any shots to dry a mare up let nature take its course and in a week or two she will be more comfortable. Keep them separated for at least 2 months. I have a 4 year old filly that was separated from her 28 YO dam as a yearling and when I put them together again in 6 weeks she started nursing again. Shalom
    10-23-2013, 01:24 AM
Thanks BDArabians. And yes I have heard so many people tell me about foals going back to their dams after weaning and getting stuck in to the milk bar again. I have a terrible feeling that is exactly what Zephyr would do given the chance
I am hoping to send Zephyr out to a hill country station with Danny in a couple of weeks for around 3 months over summer. That way the grass will be dry and I won't have to worry about getting his minerals into him every day
It will be who will suffer the separation anxiety.
Cheers (Shalom)
    10-23-2013, 01:25 AM
That last line should read - it will be ME who will suffer......
    10-23-2013, 01:45 AM
Weaning abruptly by separating them seems to allow the mare to dry up faster than if the foal and dam can see and smell each other. However the later way if the foal is returned to the herd I find that the mare and foal still eat from the same feed tub or bale of hay. If weaning from a distance the mare rejects the foal when they are reunited and only after a month or two do they relate to one another. If they reunite at all. Some never allow the older colt near them again.
The exception being the aged mare and her filly. They joined back up like nothing had ever happened. The mare was like that with all her fillies I retained. Shalom
Merlot likes this.
    10-23-2013, 02:15 AM
Hey Merlot, I just posted on your blog! Anyway, it took about 2 months for my guy to be off the milk bar for good.....and that was his momma's decision! When I put him back after a month he did go back to nursing and so I separated them again and she wouldn't let him nurse again a month later.

You know what's funny though? He's 3 years old now and when I bring him back from a ride he will STILL go check out the milk bar! It's like when they are separated and then reunited it's the first thing he does is go stick his nose under her. But momma will NOT let him nurse!

Unlike dbarabian's experience, my mare still loves her foal even though he's all grown up! When I sent him out for training (for almost 3 months) and put them back together she was nickering and licking him. And they do mutual grooming all the time. She keeps him in line (such as at feeding time) but basically treats him as her best friend.

I know it's anthromorphisizing(sp?) but I'm glad she was finally able to "keep" one of her foals. She was a broodmare before I bought her for trail riding and every foal she ever had except this last one (10 in all!) was taken away from her. This is her last foal (as I never intend to breed her) and I'm glad she was able to finally keep one. She really, really loves him and still treats him like he is her foal even though he is 3 now and bigger than she is.
Chevaux and Merlot like this.
    10-23-2013, 02:40 AM
Thanks Trailhorse, I replied to your posts Thanks for commenting, I love it when people comment
So glad to hear you did the same thing as I will be doing. Like you it makes me feel good to know that Merlot will always have her son around LOL (like it or not) He will probably end up being a total slob who mooches off his Mother and never leaves home LOL
    10-23-2013, 02:47 AM
If she is SUPER uncomfortable you can milk a TINY bit, but it's usually best to leave it alone. (and as I'm sure you know, milking = nursing and causes more milk production). I don't know what your mare is on for feed, but if she is getting hard feed you could cut back for a little. Just keep an eye on her.
Merlot likes this.
    10-23-2013, 06:14 PM
I went to the link you posted on the blog and saw his Daddy. He's a total clone of Daddy!

My youngster Zane in my avatar is 1/2 QH too. (For some reason I thought Merlot was a TB).
Merlot likes this.
    10-23-2013, 07:08 PM
Green Broke
Hi Merlot. When I weaned (many years ago now) my foal from my mare, I ended up taking the mare to another place for a month mainly because of my facilities (well technically lack of) at the time. When she returned, the two greeted each other but neither showed any interest in resuming the nursing part of the relationship. I know of some folks who did it pretty much the way you have being doing - increasing the length of separation to the point a complete separation is made (adjoining pastures) that prevents nursing. It was a success and neither mare nor foal were stressed out any point. That way took longer than the traditional quick method but these folks had the time and facilities to make it happen.

As a side note, I've been to production sales where a lot of the foals offered gave every evidence of being recently weaned just a few days (if that, I think) before the sale. It's a sad sight watching them looking to nurse off each other.

On a brighter note, I hope there will be many installments made by Zephyr as he writes home while he is away at summer camp.
Merlot likes this.

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