Quick question on weaning - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-19-2013, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Quick question on weaning

So, let's say that my mare stays fit and healthy and does bloody well over winter (which she usually does) and has no trouble keeping the foal going well, would it be bloody awful of me to leave them to their own devices concerning weaning?

I will be in the south island for the whole year and I don't expect my parents or brothers to wean my horses or do anything other than checking them and giving them food and love So my plan is to just leave Panacea on Freya and for her to wean herself when it's right for both of them. Is this really awful of me?

They are in a large paddock by the house, constantly watched 24 and fed once a day with hay ad-lib. Winter is coming up here in NZ and Freya usually does very well but I usually cover her. She has been uncovered since foaling but it's been summer so no biggy.

If Freya was to loose condition then I would ask my parents to start seperating them with an electirc tape so they can still talk and see each other but Freya gets a chance to fatten up.

So, what are your thoughts? I've never seen a foal left on its dam for more than 6 months. Same with cattle. I'm not to on to it with how it works in the wild but I guess the foal stays on the dam until the next foal is due? So would it be all that awful to let Pan stay on Freya until I am back in the North and able to get them working?

Sorry for the novel. Thanks for reading

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post #2 of 12 Old 02-19-2013, 08:51 PM
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I'm by far no expert, but if she hold her weight, I don't see a problem with it. Althoug, I don't know if electric fence alone will hold back a determined colt. My friends colt went through 3 different types of fence to get back to his dam
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-19-2013, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Luckily she's a filly and has made firm buddies with a physically (also mentally) challenged steer. They tend to hang out together whilst Freya is off talking to the cows over the other side of the fence. So hopefully she will stay chilled out as she gets older and dad doesn't send the steer off to the works (I don't think they could get it on the truck frankly)
Also we will have a good load of hay throughout winter and as I'm working my butt off down here I can afford some decent tucker for them :o)

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post #4 of 12 Old 02-19-2013, 09:32 PM
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In the wild (mustangs) don't wean their foal until just before the next one hits the ground. She will wean her foal around 8 to 11 months if left alone to do it her on her own.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-19-2013, 09:49 PM
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Nothing wrong with it at all. However, the foal may or may not be weaned when you get back, but certainly not a big deal at all.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-20-2013, 10:27 AM
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When I was breeding, I let most of my foals self wean, as I didn't normally sell my production till 3 or 4 after I trained them. I never had any issues - most of the mares would wean them somewhere between 6 and 9 months. However, I always ran a stallion with my mares, so their behavior was "natural"...I honestly don't know when a mare would wean her foal in an unnatural environment...
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-20-2013, 02:25 PM
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You go girl - I won't be weaning until 9 months, and to let the mare self wean is just brilliant If she does drop (a lot of) weight, as you say separation by electric tape so they can still touch and see each other is the best.

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post #8 of 12 Old 02-20-2013, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome thanks guys. Knowing my luck I'll come home to a yearling still on the teat haha I honestly can't wait to get home and start working them!
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-20-2013, 03:47 PM
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I've seen some mares self wean at 4 or 5 months, and others never wean and have 4+ year olds still nursing. One mare started lactating again for her 2 year old colt after a long separation.

I think it depends on the mare and foal. My BO has a fantastic thoroughbred broodmare. her first filly was left on longer, she needed the extra feed and the mare did fine. Her most recent colt was weaned early. He was large and a brat, and he was sucking the life out of her. By 4 months the mare was done with him and avoided him when she could.

I would wean a foal if it was large, robust and anoying its dam, and/or if the mare was having a hard time keeping her weight up.

if the foal was small, had been sick or was developing slowly, it could stay on for longer.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-20-2013, 09:53 PM
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we've done this in the past many times with range mares.

if the mare is keeping her weight up, it's not a problem

however, some foals will continue nursing into their 2's and 3's if the mare will allow it
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weaning , yearling

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