When to reintroduce mare with foal back into herd? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-07-2013, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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When to reintroduce mare with foal back into herd?

Our mare just foaled last week. When she did, she was in with the herd of 6 other mares. Most of the mares were crowding around the foal before we could separate the mom and foal. They are now in an area that is separated by a fence. The two older mares take turns standing at the fence watching them.

I'm just looking for opinions on when to let them back in the same pasture. Should we wait a month or even longer? Or should we start to let them mingle for short periods and increase the time? If the foal was older, I wouldn't worry as much about him getting hurt. The pasture the mom and foal are in doesn't have a hay feeder and its difficult to get hay in there without pulling off the mares bale and carrying it over by hand.

One other question concerning the foal. He's only a week and a half old but he seems to be trying to start eating the hay. He does have a few teeth coming thru already. When do foals usually start grazing or eating hay? He won't be weaned until at least 4 to 6 months from now. Is it ok for him to be trying to eat the hay? I know, sounds like a newbie! I'm not with horses, just with a foal.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-07-2013, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usandpets View Post
Our mare just foaled last week. When she did, she was in with the herd of 6 other mares. Most of the mares were crowding around the foal before we could separate the mom and foal. They are now in an area that is separated by a fence. The two older mares take turns standing at the fence watching them.

I'm just looking for opinions on when to let them back in the same pasture. Should we wait a month or even longer? Or should we start to let them mingle for short periods and increase the time? If the foal was older, I wouldn't worry as much about him getting hurt. The pasture the mom and foal are in doesn't have a hay feeder and its difficult to get hay in there without pulling off the mares bale and carrying it over by hand.
With Buckshot this year, we kept them separate for a little less than three months. By that time the 'novelty' had worn off, and they would all gather at the fence without fussing or mom being so protective about the other mares. When we put them back together there was absolutely no problem at all.

Quote:
One other question concerning the foal. He's only a week and a half old but he seems to be trying to start eating the hay. He does have a few teeth coming thru already. When do foals usually start grazing or eating hay? He won't be weaned until at least 4 to 6 months from now. Is it ok for him to be trying to eat the hay?
You'll see that emulating mom is a big part of a foal's learning. They will start to pick at/eat grass/hay as well as become interested in mom's feed very early, and that is no problem at all (I would actually say that it's very good). Also, the more 'routine' things you do with mom, e.g. haltering, leading, picking out feet, etc., the better, because the little ones very much watch how mom behaves, and it will make your handling of the foal easier. For example, when we halter broke Buckshot, we would always go out and halter mom first, then him. He got his first shots (rabies/6-way) a couple weeks ago and he stood there on a lead for the vet like a pro.

Good luck and enjoy.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.

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post #3 of 6 Old 09-07-2013, 09:51 AM
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We have had multiple mares foaling at the same time and they stayed together. Very natural situation that way. Never once had an issue.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-07-2013, 10:11 AM
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I had my mare and filly separated for about 3weeks. then I introduced Rumor who had been around foals before and was low in the pecking order. after another week or so, i added the geldings in, wasnt sure how they would be, but actually they pretty much ignored the foal. Chilly (mare) would position herself between them and the filly and when the geldings walked by they didnt show any interest in the filly.

eventually, within 2 weeks, everyone was fine.together. and every since, everyone...geldings included...look out for her. Shes 6 Months old now.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-07-2013, 10:12 AM
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I have never separated my mares when they foal. The others tend to be a little curious at first but the mares keep the foal away for a day or 2.
Even the least dominate ones have no problem protecting their foals.
IMO putting a mare and foal back into a herd is more dangerous than leaving them together.
Good luck. Shalom
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-07-2013, 11:00 AM
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I separate mine from the day their born til they are 3 months or so old. This year, I kept the colt separated until his mother was confirmed in foal again and then put them both out with "Uncle" Skippy, the stallion. He loves babies and geldings. At weaning time I sent mom off to the "spa" for a month to dry up and brought her back to the mare band. If the foal had been a filly, I'd have put them back in the mare band by about 2 months, and if I'd been keeping the colt intact I'd have done the same thing for a couple of months and then sent him to the bachelor band at weaning.

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