Originally Posted by Alexart
Foals should not be weaned until they are at least 6 months old unless there is something seriously wrong with the mare - they are still learing stuff from mum about how to interact with other horses and learning their place in a herd and just generally learning to be horses, they may not be getting a huge amount of nutrition from mum but it is still something too. Weaning at such an early age will predispose the foal to alsorts of behavioural and social issues and make them far more clingy to other horses in the future - they are still VERY much a baby at that age!!! If you are wanting to make a fast buck and get the foal away as soon as possible and don't want to have to give your mare extra feed if she is back in foal and therefore costing you money then I can see why people would wean so early, but it is not for the benefit of the foal - just the owners pocket!!!!!!
We have always weaned at six months or older, and we wean cold turkey - we put all the youngsters in a barn, sometimes with an older chilled out herd member that they all get on with to give them some security and within a few days they are back out in their own herd without mum - we have only ever had them call for an hour or 2, mum is usually fed up by then and the quality of the grass isn't as good so the mares tend to dry up much more easily.
All of our babies have been weaned at around the same time. All of them did very well. All of them have made excellent horses/ponies and are all still in the same home we sold them to. They always go out with a quiet older buddy, so they are not alone. None of our babies were weaned early for money, considering the fact that many of them were BOUGHT at that age. Meaning, we SPENT money. And they are all doing very well.
Let me ask you this: If the mare is physically pushing the foal away and weaning him herself(as is our current mare) what would you do? Leave the foal with her and have him get hurt? All of the babies we have weaned on our property were pretty much weaned by their dams, we just made it permanent.