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Purchased a very nice colt, but have a question?

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  • Welsh pony mares stealing foals

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    03-30-2012, 11:23 AM
Green Broke
I'll be getting a 4 month old weanling in September, so we're almost in the same situation. I have a very maternal maiden mare, who tried to steal another mare's baby, and a welsh pony gelding. The gelding may be proud cut, because he acts real studdy with other mares besides mine and will try to mount them. But the poor thing can't reach! So, we have a very large foaling stall that's not being used, so we're going to put the weanling in the foaling stall for a few days. My two horses are the only ones on the 10 acres, and they have 24/7 turnout so they can go check him out whenever they want without being able to harm him. The colt that my mare tried to steal stayed there for a year, and my pony had no problem with him even though he'd never been gelded. It's all about a slow introduction and taking the right precautions.

As for feed, my foal will be on Nutrena Safechoice. I've never used it, but my breeder has, and everyone who's used it has great things to say about it.
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    03-30-2012, 11:56 AM
Originally Posted by oh vair oh    
That being said, feed and hay are your best bets. I don't like the idea of weaning at 3 months, could stunt the growth of the foal. But I'm not a vet. :/
Weaning at three months will not stunt the growth of the foal.

Originally Posted by Kayella    
As for feed, my foal will be on Nutrena Safechoice. I've never used it, but my breeder has, and everyone who's used it has great things to say about it.
We feed Nutrena mare and foal until the horse is 2 and the switch to SafeChoice.
    03-30-2012, 03:28 PM
I have weaned early (3 months) before. I would only do it if it is absolutely necessary...if the mare is being dragged down by the foal, for example, despite a quality feeding program. I would make sure that the breeder is feeding the foal a foal-specific feed either in a foal feeder or in a creep feeder. SafeChoice is NOT an appropriate feed for a weanling foal. Basically, it just isn't very nutrient-dense, and you'd have to feed a LOT to meet a growing foals' nutritional needs, and that may be too many calories for your baby. I would suggest a ration balancer and good quality hay, if nothing else. Just MHO.

Anyway, it isn't so much the nutrition that would worry me, but rather the foals' lack of social/emotional maturity at three months of age. Social interaction is important in a young foals' development and the trauma caused by early weaning could cause ulcers, behavior issues, etc.

*I*, personally, would make sure that you have a buddy available for the foal once he gets to your farm. A quiet, older "baby safe" broodmare or gelding would be OK, but another foal would be ideal. That isn't to say you shouldn't handle the foal every day. It will be very, very important that he gets handled, even if for 3 minutes each day...halter and lead, pick up feet, lead him in from the pasture in the evening and back out again in the morning, etc.
    03-31-2012, 02:25 PM
I don't like weaning them so young..especially without a buddy..they have a tendency to become too dependant on their human contact being similar to "orphan" foal types....They have a tendency to need some ninny when they feel fear at this age and reassurance, They can't get it when your gone.. They are a herd animal and I feel keeping them alone is almost cruel at this age and CAN mentally set them back.. AND they never get the herd Savvy they need later on in life..could end up being a jerk with other horses..and hurt real bad when you do introduce them because their "etiquette" is wrong..There are many articles out there that bring to light the need to learn from a mare up to the age of 6 to 8 months. http://www.animal-science.org/conten.../1027.full.pdf

For a good companion ...if you don't want a horse ...is a sheep, goat, or donkey..
Donkeys are cheap but make excellent protectors in case a stray dog or other animal trys to attack your little one...But I would try to see which one of your horses will tolerate a foal..


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