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.
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.