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weaning naturally

This is a discussion on weaning naturally within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Marecandry

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    09-03-2013, 01:31 AM
  #21
Green Broke
Well if you don't want to do the cold turkey way, separate them longer each day until they are separated completely. Since you can already separate them for short periods now without issue, it shouldn't be to difficult. I guess you already had your answer though. Until the foal is weaned, the mare won't gain weight.
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    09-03-2013, 04:09 AM
  #22
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by badgerdogbren    
Seems some of the folks here just jump right on criticizing people and don't really even read what is said.


It has been PROVEN that abrupt weaning can/may cause loss of confidence and setbacks in training.

There are such judgmental people here.
I am going to address your points in bullet format if you don't mind.

A) isnt that what you just did, a wealth of first hand real world knowledge was handed to you for free, and because it didnt jibe with what "you have read" .... you disagreed
B) The only thing PROVEN in horses? They all poop, that is the only thing they will all do every time....wait except when they colic, so see even that isnt 100% true.
C) While I agree this site can be blunt, and all too often their battle cry is get a trainer. The people you are choosing to ignore on THIS thread are not just horse owners, but horse trainers and more importantly horse breeders.
     
    09-03-2013, 06:01 AM
  #23
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by badgerdogbren    
Seems some of the folks here just jump right on criticizing people and don't really even read what is said.
The colt JUST turned 5 months old days ago and I will not go against my Vet's advice and geld him too soon. I don't think horses are people nor am I putting human emotion on them. I have been reading a lot about raising horses naturally and this is the information I have found. It has been PROVEN that abrupt weaning can/may cause loss of confidence and setbacks in training. Perhaps not with every horse but why would I take a chance?
My mare IS the reason I posted this. My concern is for her weight and how to keep it up while she weans her foal.

There are such judgmental people here.

Many of us have worked with broodies, many of them. We also have years and years of working with horses. And you have been told the mare will not keep weight on as long as foal is pulling off her, which is true. And also tells us that you are not feeding mare properly or she wouldn't be underweight in the first place.

And I've never seen anything in print that weaning early/abruptly causes behavior issues. If that were the case, it would be touted widely and followed by the big ranches/farms. Those horsemen spend time and money to turn out the best horses possible. If you have run across it, link or information on where you are reading it is needed.

As another said, what causes problems is people mishandling the foals by petting them and babying them. What is cute in a foal, ceases to be cute when that foal is 1000 pounds.

Horses take their confidence from the humans handling them. They don't dwell on their lives and need therapy to get over early weaning. They don't have problems in their training, with exception of someone spoiling them as foals, from being weaned too early, or too abruptly.

You've been given advice on what to do by people who have experience with this, who got that experience by actually doing it and working with a multitude of horses, not from a book they read on it.
     
    09-03-2013, 06:35 AM
  #24
Trained
My filly is 5-1/2 months now, and has been weaned for a month. She has NO problems from weaning at 4-1/2 months. She is with other horses who are teaching her manners. She actually behaves BETTER being away from mom. With mom, she was a stinker and her dam let her get away with being pushy and nippy. The other horses do not and she is a nice, respectable, well mannered girl now.

Mom and baby and still see eachother, touch noses, but baby cannot nurse. Mom still hasnt dried up completely. Its been a long process. But hasnt been difficult at all. On me or the horses.

There is nothing wrong with waiting until 8/9/10 months to geld. I had one done at 3 months, and others done at 1 year and a few months. They have suffered no ill-effects, are well mannered. To each their own. My boys were seperated with a herd of geldings and didnt have the chance to be with mares.

And yes, mares will continue to nurse foals. At one point I seen a 14 month olf nurse off of his dam. Ridiclious and completely unnecessary.

In order to put weight on the mare, your going to have to let her dry up. Going cold turkey would be taking dam or foal off the property. But just putting her in the round pen where they could see one another, is not cold turkey imo.
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    09-03-2013, 06:45 AM
  #25
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by 6gun Kid    
I am going to address your points in bullet format if you don't mind.

A) isnt that what you just did, a wealth of first hand real world knowledge was handed to you for free, and because it didnt jibe with what "you have read" .... you disagreed
B) The only thing PROVEN in horses? They all poop, that is the only thing they will all do every time....wait except when they colic, so see even that isnt 100% true.
C) While I agree this site can be blunt, and all too often their battle cry is get a trainer. The people you are choosing to ignore on THIS thread are not just horse owners, but horse trainers and more importantly horse breeders.
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    09-03-2013, 08:19 AM
  #26
Super Moderator
I have weaned many many foals and have done it several ways. The only time, when I was involved with a mare and foal belonging to a friend, in weaning 'naturally' whereby he left the mare and foal together, the 'foal' was still suckling his dam when he was two years old. This horse was one of the worse I had to break in because of a severe seperation anxiety.
In nature a mare would be back in foal within weeks of fooling, sometimes days. This means that as she gets to giving more to the foetus her milk will dry up. If she is not in foal then she will continue to produce milk as long as the foal feeds from her.

If the foal is happy with his 'Aunty' then I would remove the mare and take her away for at least a month, out of hearing distance of the foal. If this is not feasible then I would separate them so they can see and touch each other but he cannot feed from her.
     
    09-03-2013, 10:07 AM
  #27
Super Moderator
OP You have had only honest advice spoken out of experience, while people might not agree to your idea that leaving the colt with its mother is a good idea no one has said it rudely that I can see
Unless you can actually simulate a real wild herd with acres and acres of land it simply isn't going to work the way you want it too. You will run the risk of having a mare that's going to really struggle to get back into condition and a youngster that is going to be so clingy to her when you do have to finally split them that the whole process will be far more traumatic for him
The ideal for a weanling is that it goes completely away from its mother (or mother is taken away whichever is easiest to do) and the young one is turned out with other youngsters or even one youngster to have company or a well mannered 'nanny' - preferably a gelding.
I think you might be trying to humanize the situation too much, I have never had a problem weaning a foal this way, the mare is in need of a break now - in the wild she might even drive it away but she can't in your situation though she might begin to get aggressive with him if it becomes too much for her.
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    09-03-2013, 11:07 AM
  #28
Weanling
My mother in law has 2 pens that are across one another with a gravel road in between. She starts them out by putting them in small pens beside one another, then she moves them so there is one pen in between, and then she moves them so that they are in the pens across from one another. If there is a group of foals, she will often skip this as both are happier in groups than alone. She has always weaned this way with zero issue. They're both happy because they can see one another, but the mare can dry her milk up and the foal eats grass and foal feed twice daily to get the nutrients a growing foal needs. I have seen her do this year after year with zero issues and both have zero anxiety

Perhaps there is a way you can separate them this way?
     
    09-03-2013, 01:48 PM
  #29
Super Moderator
I personally agree with weaning cold turkey at this point. He'll run around and scream like a banschee for a while but he'll settle down.

As for gelding, I waited until mine was nearly a year old to geld because he had only dropped one of his jewels. We finally gelded and dug for them but as long as you keep him seperated and teach him manners, I see no problem with waiting a little longer to geld. Just know that they can and will mate at a very early age and if your fences are not strong, he will find a way to get to your mares.

As for keeping her healthy, we fed a mare formula to her and the baby was on a junior forumal feed.

The advice you've been given has been good advice. I suggest you read through and take what you will.

Good luck.
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    09-03-2013, 01:51 PM
  #30
Trained
Last time we were gelding here I had 2 colts at 10 and 11 months, had been waiting for the 10 month old to drop, he was shy, and one 3 month old, he wasn't shy, forward little monster.

The bigger colts though had been living in bachelor quarters from when they were weaned at 6 months.
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