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Hello,
I am about to pick up a baby mule. The owner lives about 4 hours from me. She wants to do abrupt weaning. She says the baby is throwing tantrums and is not that happy to be away from mom. I really like the handler and do trust her. She's kept me in the loop and has been really working with her. The mule is incredibly sweet and has already had a farrier visit that went great. She's halter trained and you can touch her all over and lift up her feet. She's super sweet. The baby is eating on her own and was born on June 12th. We have a great stable we inherited with our new house. We currently have 2 miniature gelded donkeys and 5 goats. Does anyone have any advice on the 4-hour trip? How to handle tantrums? Any advice on ways to make this go as smoothly as possible with both the mule and our donkeys. I would greatly appreciated it. Thank you!
 

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Hey, how is 'abrupt weaning' for the mare? Do you then have to milk her to reduce pressure, or...?
I figure you're asking this for your own near future reference. Short answer is no but I'll back up a few steps for you. As the foal starts eating more on it's own you should be able to reduce the extra calories you're giving to the mare. She will naturally slow down on milk production as both those things happen. Milking her will only drag out the dry up time so you want to avoid doing it. I always waited until a minimum of 6 months to wean and by then they were only nursing a couple of times a day anyway and by then the mare would be back to just regular maintenance rations, if any, other than forage.
 

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Thanks JCnGrace, yes, asking from curiosity & future reference. I don't plan on 'abrupt weaning' but just letting it naturally happen, but always pays to know these things for 'Justin'. My last foals had to be weaned abruptly at only 4mo because mares were hatracks, but that was 20yrs ago & mares were also wild, so we weren't going to be able to do any... pressure reduction anyway!

I know how it works, as in it's a 'supply & demand' thing, that the more you 'milk' the more there'll be... tho no one told me that when they sent me home with a new baby who couldn't breastfeed, so I had to pump... which they just told me to do as much as necessary... Mate! I turned into a dairy cow, could have supplied the neighbourhood! But also thinking of that full feeling, knowing cows that aren't milked suffer terrible pain & can get mastitis from it, I was thinking of say, just once or twice a day milking a little off...
 
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