How long to wait
ok so Snowflake (momma horse)and Sparta(foal) keeps getting out because the bottom pasture is kind of flimsy. so she keeps breaking out. and we also have a foal crazy mare (carmen). who jumps the top pasture fence just to be with the baby because she loves him to death lol. fixing fence, and chasing crazy horses down is getting tiring.
is sparta old enough now to join the rest of the herd? he will be 4 weeks old on Tuesday April 6th. he has grazed with the whole herd plenty of times but it was always monitored. what do you guys think?
I would say yes. In the wild, babies are with the herd from the get-go. Unless you have some vicious horses in your herd, I don't think it would be a problem.
BUT, I don't really know, so you might want to wait for someone more baby-experienced to post. =]
i was thinking maybe it would be ok as well. but i really don't want anything bad to happen on the off chance than it will.
there is 4 horses in the herd without snowflake and sparta
there is the
Carmen - and she is the foal crazy horse then one who always breaks out to be with sparta she is the laid back one who gets picked on a bit and she and chief get along well. she also escaped from her pasture and jumped into snowflake and sparta's just to be with him and was nosing him around the pasture and snowflake didn't seem to mind.
Baby - sparta nosed her checking to see if she was his mom and she kicked at him. (she also looks alot like snowflake so he could have been confused) but she definitely didn't like him looking up at her udders lol. she's about 14.2 hhs and used to be the lead mare untill chief came and took over. she too is a little aggressive at feeding time. and her and snowflake do NOT get along.
now the geldings
Chief - i don't really know alot about his personality yet as we only got him a month or so ago. and he seems to be pretty laid back and gentle and doesn't mind what you do with him. however he is around 16.2 hhs tall and has feet bigger than my hands while all my fingers are spread out. so a kick by him can be a pretty deathly blow to such a small foal. and he also gets a little controlling around feeding time and likes to keep the foal herd away untill he gets his food.
Kitty - Sparta has been kicked by kitty before. and kitty can be food aggressive. and thats how sparta got kicked. kitty was eating and sparta got a little nosey as to what he was doing. and kitty kicked him in the chest. sparta ran and hid in carmens stall while she was eating. we checked to make sure he was alright and all was well. kitty is about 13.2hands tall and kind of like a small pony so his kicks wont hurt too bad
so my herd is pretty integrated. but i'm really at wits end at piecing together wire everyday and literally chasing carmen down everyday sometimes 2-3 times a day when she escapes to go see sparta.
I can understand why you'd be concerned. Your little one will try to check everyone for milk, it's just what they do, lol. When I got my little one at 7 months, she had already been weaned but was just positive that Ricci would have milk for her. She would just spin around and kick out a bit, but they've never made contact.
It seems that your biggest potential problem would arise during feedtime. Is there any way you could be there to supervise them while they eat? I know that's not always possible. Maybe just separate everyone as much as possible, make three times as many hay piles as there are horses, and if they get grain, try to stay while they finish it.
I still think it would be okay. I don't think the horses will be as tough with a baby as they are with the others. They seem to know. =]
i'm always there during grain feeding time otherwise the higher ups will still the grain from the horses lower on the totem pole. the hardest part is i feed grain at the same time everyday so when we show up they all gather at the feeding place and kick and chase each other untill they all have there grain in front of them. so as they see us comming with food it will be to late to stop them as they will already be going at it. i hope i made that clear lol it was kind of jumbled lol
My girls do the same thing. Ricci is pretty content to stand back, but Gracie [my little one] is always all up in my face. My secret weapon? My dressage whip. Gracie has mostly learned to stand back and wait half-way patiently for me to set her grain down and take a few steps back before she can eat. If she gets too pushy, I say "BACK" and she gets a decent whack on her chest. Not too much, just enough to make my point.
That's probably something you'd have to work on individually though, I think it'd be too much to try to convince several horses to back up, lol.
What about keeping just Carmen with Snowflake and Sparta until he's a few months old? If Snowflake doesn't seem to mind and Carmen is pretty good with him that would pretty much solve your problems right? It would be easier to keep just Carmen away from mom and baby than the other three. Just a thought though.
my last foal was out with the herd from the time he was about 2 or 3 weeks old. Momma will take care of him and the rest of the herd kinda "knows' they are babies. It is actually better for them to be with a group to teach them manners
I agree with PeggySue - the sooner you put them all together, the sooner Sparta will learn his manners. I've had 6 foals and most were out with the herd within a week. We kept momma and baby together by themselves for a couple days so they could build their bond a bit, but then it was out with the rest. Baby will learn who to stay away from and Snowflake isn't going to stand around and watch someone kick her foal...she'll protect him from any REAL danger and the others will teach him he's not the king of the pasture.
Unless Snowflake is REALLY slack with her parenting skills, I'd say put them out with the herd.
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