Weaning early/feeding a lactating mare? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 06-05-2013, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Weaning early/feeding a lactating mare?

Okay as many of you know my mare mare had a monster of a foal ack at the end of April, however having such a bug foal as a first foal has taken its toll on her as she has lost a lot of weight. So I have the following two questions for you;

1. When would be the best time to wean her with no health or behavioral/mental problems, I know she is too young right now as she is still very dependent on her dam even though she is eating hard food which she steals from her dam, she eats hay and grass as drinking water, as her dam is on very high calorie diet the foal is getting a little podgy as she is getting plenty of milk too, so when would you ween her?

2. What would you feed the mare she is getting;
Baileys Conditioning Cubes. (No.4 Top Line Conditioning Cubes)
A couple of handfuls of oats.
Equivite body builder (Equivite Body Builder | Equine Products Direct)
Corn Oil
and some Molasses. I will look into getting her a vits and mins supplement or lick tomorrow but we are very limited to what we can get.
She saw the vet today and her teeth were not too bad there was hardly anything to take off but we got them done anyway, so if there anything you would change about her diet?


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post #2 of 29 Old 06-05-2013, 07:28 PM
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I would put the mare on some sort of senior or mare and foal feed, then wean the foal at 3 1/2 months, 4 at the latest, as long as she's eating feed and hay on her own.
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post #3 of 29 Old 06-05-2013, 09:49 PM
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tHE MARE LOOKS FINE RBALO oops sorry - (caps on) do you have an updated pic? I am very much against ever weaning a foal earlier than 8 months unless ABSOLUTELY necessary - I'd rather STUFF food into the mare as I am doing with Merlot than wean early. It's not just about whether the foal can cope physically - it sets them up emotionally as well as physically if you can wean as late as poss.
Also regarding minerals - get the best quality you can afford - mineral licks are, in my experience simply not enough.Make sure she is getting enough salt also.
You have different feeds than we do but I feed as plain a feed as possible - nothing with added minerals as I add these myself so I know exactly how much she is getting.
I'm feeding barley, copra meal, pollard and speedi beet twice a day + as much good quality meadow hay as they will eat. AND they are on grass - it is winter here now so they are rugged as well - I wouldn't rug your guys as they have woolly coats
But please don't wean the foal yet unless absolutely necessary!!!


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post #4 of 29 Old 06-05-2013, 11:29 PM
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Merlot, there is NO scientific evidence that weaning at an early age is detrimental. EVERY baby we have had has been weaned between 3-5 months and there have not been any issues, emotionally or physically. Aside from the fact that after about 3 months the nutrition value of mares milk declines significantly. If momma is losing weight it is best to pull the foal, IMO.
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post #5 of 29 Old 06-05-2013, 11:52 PM
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I would not wean before 4 months, and then as soon as you dry the mare up, I'd let the foal be back with her from then on. If you can post a more recent pic of the mare, and what you think her ideal weight ought to be, I try to help you figure out amounts to feed her. The one thing I noticed is that the Conditioning cubes are only 12.5% protein. I feed my broodmares a 16% protein feed. Can you feed something that's high in protein to boost that percentage?
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post #6 of 29 Old 06-06-2013, 12:09 AM
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I know this is a contentious issue but I base this on my observations of both the physical and mental health of foals (and mares).
I also fail to see why we would wean so much earlier than a horse would wean in the wild? What is the point? Why not give them the best start mentally and emotionally possible?
For me it is about my love of the horse and my concerns for both the foal AND the mare which must encompass their emotional state as much as the physical. No one has yet to give me a good reason for why they wean their foals early (excusing of course a mare who is very ill).


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post #7 of 29 Old 06-06-2013, 02:25 AM
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I have found that feeding on a strict schedule , 3 times/ day, seems to keep my horses looking their absolute best. Cassie weighs about 1200 pounds , I feed her 4 pounds of purina omolene 300 for growth and 1 cup of calf manna, 3 times a day. Our little guy was born on April 15 and he was quite a big boy, and he is big now too... If you are worried about baby eating too much you could always put her feed up higher than baby can reach... But I have also read (blessed are the brood mares, which the girls and guys on this forum got me addicted to) that u should allow foals to "creep feed" as much as they like while they're growing... I haven't tried this yet, since this years boy is huge and healthy enough, but I may try next year depending on our mares and foals.
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post #8 of 29 Old 06-06-2013, 04:11 AM Thread Starter
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According to defra in the UK you are not aloud to wean foals earlier then 4 months, those photos were taken maybe a week ago but I will get some new ones today,
We can get some alfalfa chaff which is high in protein.
Dodson & Horrell - Mare & Youngstock Breeding Feeds | Broodmare Feed Mix | Youngstock Feed Mix
That was what she was on when she was in foal but she didn't do very well on its.

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post #9 of 29 Old 06-06-2013, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Okay so we have been to buy some different feeds for Mara today, we couldn't buy anything for Vicky as they had no foal food in though we might order some in later on but for now she can have a little of mares maybe.

Okay Mara new diet will be;
Conditioning Cubes. (No.4 Top Line Conditioning Cubes)
Alfalfa Chaff with extra oil (Alfa-A Oil - Dengie Horse Feeds)
Sugar beat
Pink powder which is a general vits and mins suppliements (in the Pink Powder | NAF Equine)
and Equivite body builder (http://www.nutrecare.co.uk/horse-sup...der-2kg-p-9697)

Never judge a book by their cover, also never judge a pony by their height. They tend to be big personalities in little packages.
mirriedancersshetlands.weebly.com/
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post #10 of 29 Old 06-06-2013, 01:46 PM
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The alfalfa with oil should do the trick. I'd be careful of the Sugar Beet because of the sugar content. Hopefully this will add the weight you want. Don't worry about a different foal feed until the foal is actually weaned off the mother, she'll just eat it and baby won't get much of it. Once she's weaned, then you can start feeding a specialized junior feed.

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