Feeding a Weanling?
I'll be getting Henny at the end of August, when he's weaned at four months old. He will be fed Nutrena SafeChoice while still on mama, and I'd like to keep him on it. What else could I add to his feed to ensure he gets all the vitamins and minerals he needs? I was also thinking of going half hay pellets, half hay since it is so expensive. Would this be good for him? If not I have no financial issue feeding just hay. He's a QH/Paint and will be shown in halter to get some early show experience. I've always fed my easy keepers, who are adults, so I'm still unsure of how to feed a weanling. What would you recommend to feed him supplement wise and feed wise. Do you think feeding him soaked hay pellets would be beneficial? Thanks for helping, guys!
Hmm... 4 months old is a little premature dont you think? The normal weaning time is 6 months. Be careful weaning them too early as it could lead to deformity in the foals development. Remember foals get a lot of nutrients and growth hormones from their mothers milk, and cutting them off from that easy digestible nutrition too early could be more detrimental than good. Normally a colts digestion system is still developing so getting them acquainted to solid food will be more difficult.
Personally id call a vet for this one. Once you get him, have the vet give a general once over, making sure that his bones are developing correctly. Then discuss a feeding regime with your vet based on his personal needs. They may recommend a formula supplement, or mashed up grain, or small doses of grass hay. There are plenty of supplements I like to use on youngsters once you get this one eating correctly and well on the way to proper growth and development. For example I personally adore "Calphormin" as a starter. It's a bit pricy but does wonders in aiding the growth and development of a colts skeletal system. It's rich in calcium and magnesium, both minerals a colt needs for proper growth. Second you should feed him a basic vitamin supplement since he'll most likely be in deficit of that. Something simple like "Millennium Gold" helped me when I was rearing my stud. Besides that I wouldn't recommend anything else. You don't want to overwhelm a young horse with outside supplements, when good simple nutrition is all he needs. I can't recommend any brands, because the vet would be the best one to give you that information. Depending on the colts current situation and what it may need nutritionally would dictate what rations of protein to starches, and proportions of hay (I would push for grass though.) he'll need.
I don't believe four months is premature. I bought the foal in-utero, so I have no control over how the breeder handles the weaning process or when she weans them. She did explain to me, however, that foals no longer get valuable nutrients from the mother's milk at four months old, so it is safe and harmless to wean them at that point. He'll have great care at the breeder's, and I'd like to continue that care.
As for the Calphormin, do they sell it in stores? I did want to get a multi-vitamin supplement for Henny, to ensure he grows the way he should and doesn't lack any important nutrients in his developing period.
Okay but be aware there is great stress involved with weaning and medical studies have proven that at 6 months the foal is much more independent and "mentally healthy," which is why most recommend to wait until then. If u have no control and their is no reason to the contrary, why not the breeder just wait the extra two months? Sorry I'm not trying to be nosy here, but if u do get this colt at 4 months be prepared most likely for a very stressed out foal. Also I've never heard that foals "stop" gaining nutrition from breast milk, just because they can eat solid food doesnt mean they can digest it well. While milk is very easily digestible, and like any other "liquid nutrition" can always be gained from the foal. Their bodies don't simply "stop" absorbing the nutrients. In fact a vet told me once she had to come in an assist a woman who had a 10 month old filly who was still breast feeding. The vet said its easy nutrition and withou proper weaning the filly just got accustomed.
Anyway, to answer ur question, no, Calphormin is normally not sold in stores. It's made in Irland and imported here so I've only ever bought it online. Millennium Gold is a great basic multi-vitimin. Pretty much everyone has or is using it.
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There's so little information on Millenium Gold... I can't find a vitamin analysis anywhere for it. I'd love to use SmartPaks, but it states that their products should not be used for horses under two years which is really disappointing.
I'm heading to the barn now if you give me a few minutes I can get out my millennium gold and take a picture of the back and post it here
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I fed grain free choice and small amounts of third cutting alfalfa hay.
I tube dewormed every 4 to 5 weeks.
Keep your baby out of the hot sun as much as you can.
I worked my foals on lunge lines and round pens.
Back the foal up often.
Thanks for the help, Sunny! :)
Henny will be at a nice stable in a 12x12 stall. I'll try to get him as much turn-out as possible, but it will be limited to just himself or with other geldings until he's gelded. And while I'm there I can always turn him out in the round pen so he can stretch his muscles and expend some energy.
Get a jowl strap on him...(in the stall only).
You will also have to sweat his neck ASAP.
Tone tone tone...that is the key to showing a baby.
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