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Keeley57 07-20-2012 06:09 AM

Help my mares milk is drying up foal 6 weeks old
Hi my mares milk is dryin up bag is much smaller and he's going to her perhaps every 5/10 mins. His head goes mad trying to get the milk to come down then he either gives up or he does get abit! And I know it's only abit because I tried to get some down and ll I got was 1 droplet on my finger, vet said not to worry hes eating grass and hard feed but surely the best thing for him is milk? I did actually try him with goats milk yesterday in a bottle and a bucket and he was having none of it! I don't know whether to persever or leave him with mum to try get some down because vet said he will be ok but he tried to nurse yesterday she kicked out with force because she hit the wall so I til her off and he went back she did it again and bit his bum he stomped his feet and bucked at her? Is she sore or something? Please help
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usandpets 07-20-2012 07:10 AM

I'm not an expert but from our experience with our horse Lucy. If he's eating grass and such, you could try feeding him Milk Replacement Pellets. We got Lucy at 6 weeks old. Her dam wasn't producing milk either. So we started her on the pellets. We had to grind up the first batch but she ate the whole pellets after that. It is better for them to get the milk from the dam but that can't always happen. That's where the pellets come in.

How is the mares feed? If she is lacking in amount or quality of nutrients, she'll stop producing. After we started Lucy on the pellets, her dam was also eating them and started to produce milk. I know their hay was poor and they got no other feed except sunflower seed hulls that were used as bedding. That's just the way things were done at the barn where we got Lucy. We did end up having to cut out the feed for the mare so she would dry up because we were taking Lucy to a different place after she had surgery on her leg. So she was weaned at 8 weeks old. I'm not sure if she was stunted in growth because of that or she wasn't meant to get very big. She's only 14.3hh and she's a TWH. Her sire wasn't very tall either but her dam was. So it's hard to say.
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Speed Racer 07-20-2012 07:16 AM

Why aren't you listening to your vet? If the foal is eating solid food and won't accept milk replacer, leave him be.

He should ideally stay with his mother until he's at least 3 months old, but if the mare is in danger of hurting him, maybe they need to be separated now. Put him in with other youngsters and an old broodie, so he learns proper horse behavior from them.

I'm puzzled as to why your vet hasn't tried to suggest ways to get the mare lactating again, but he's right; the foal will be fine. Usually mares will only dry up early if their diet is poor.

StellaIW 07-20-2012 07:29 AM

I would not worry about the mare biting him. My mare bites her filly when she nurses - If she bites on her teats. The filly got some teeth now, and sometimes they are a bit rough when they nurse.

Is the mare getting enough quality feed?

I would start the foal on Milk Replacement Pellets.

Keeley57 07-20-2012 07:32 AM

Yea she's fed on mare and foal, ready grass , apple chaff and garlic she's got a field full of quality grass and has a hay net that she just picks at I will try upping her feed and also getting the foal some pellets the only thing is he will not eat from his own bucket will only eat from hers or your hand so should I hand feed or put them in her feed? And just keep trying him with his own bucket
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MyLittlePonies 07-20-2012 12:12 PM

Some mares will wean their babies early. If she is getting aggressive then separation might be another thing to concider. Have you checked for teeth? I would get him on milk pellets as the others have said since he's eating grass and grain/hay. I've never had any problem since our mares lactated till we took the babies.
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Keeley57 07-20-2012 12:22 PM

Yeaa he does have teeth and he really knows how to use them! I've ordered some pellets so will see how that goes
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Chiilaa 07-20-2012 09:00 PM

There is really no way to be certain her milk is even drying up. Just because you can't hand milk any out is no indication. As long as the foal is not losing condition, I would just keep an eye on him and let them be.

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