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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking of getting a youngster.
He is 2 months old now but will be weaned at 4 months because he is going to be too big for his mum to feed him.
My yard owner is being a bit funny about it because we don't have winter turnout.
But a few people have said they would keep him stabled anyway with an hr or so in the dry turnout a day.
Do I need to keep him out for winter or would he be fine stabled with proper diet?
What would you do?
 

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I prefer youngsters to be out as much as possible but recently weaned foals struggle with wet weather in the UK and often won't use a shared field shelter if they feel intimidated - and anything thats used by a lot of bigger horses is an accident waiting to happen with a foal.

When we've had really wet winters in the UK we've kept our weaned foals in a barn for quite long periods when the mud became a no go for them and they were fine, otherwise they were out all day with other foals (or foal) and a 'nanny pony' and came in at night.

The barn was big enough for them to run around, foals really do need more exercise to do that than they'd get in an hour a day in a paddock or manège.
 

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No foal should be shut in for 23 hrs a day. Plain and simple! They need the turn out for strengthening and muscle development.

I ran a stud farm where we bred steeplechasers. They were all in a large loose barn and did stay there if the weather was very wet and windy but they had plenty of room to move around.

Also as Jaydee says, they easily get badly bullied in a herd of older horses if they do not have their dam to fend for them.
 

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Nope - turnout is vital in young horse for them to strengthen their bodies, and of course learn social skills and herd dynamics - ideally in a group of similarly aged horses, maybe with an older horse to teach manners too.

Could you find a winter turnout area to keep your young horse for the winter months?
 

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I have never heard of weaning a horse early becuase it would outgrow it's mum's ability to feed it. But, I admit to not knowing much about foals and weaning. When is it 'normally' done? Is the mother undernourished?
 

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I agree with the others. A foal needs movement, as much as possible. For his muscle development but also for proper hoof development. One hour of turnout a day -- that's just not fair to him.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have never heard of weaning a horse early becuase it would outgrow it's mum's ability to feed it. But, I admit to not knowing much about foals and weaning. When is it 'normally' done? Is the mother undernourished?
Foals can be weaned as early as 3/4 months if they are big/strong enough.
His owner said he is weighing her down,she is 14hh not undernourished but he is only 2 months old and nearly 11hh now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nope - turnout is vital in young horse for them to strengthen their bodies, and of course learn social skills and herd dynamics - ideally in a group of similarly aged horses, maybe with an older horse to teach manners too.

Could you find a winter turnout area to keep your young horse for the winter months?
Well hes living out with his mum atm I think and he won't be coming to me until January and our turnout starts in April so it's only 3 months but yeah I have thought about looking for a field but as of yet nobody has anything suitable and I don't want him to be on his own,I thought about putting my daughters pony out with him but she hates being out 24hrs and needs restricted grazing anyway to watch her weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have been pondering this for days now lol,a few horsey friends who have had foals/youngsters say I should keep him in for the 3 months to get him used to being stabled ,
As I said to Cleardonkey he won't be coming to me until January when he is 6 months old regardless of when she weans him so it's only 3 months in until our turnout starts anyway...a good time to establish some ground manners?
 

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I would not keep any horse stabled full time, but especially not a youngster, esp not a real baby. It's not good for them, physically or mentally. I'd want them turned out in a paddock with other horses full time, or at least for the majority of the time. If you absolutely must keep it cooped up & there's no alternative, take it out AT LEAST a few times daily for long walks & also ensure it gets regular(pref at least daily) experience hanging out with other horses, learning to BE a horse.
 

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I have been pondering this for days now lol,a few horsey friends who have had foals/youngsters say I should keep him in for the 3 months to get him used to being stabled ,
As I said to Cleardonkey he won't be coming to me until January when he is 6 months old regardless of when she weans him so it's only 3 months in until our turnout starts anyway...a good time to establish some ground manners?
No, a youngster cannot be kept in for three months. Instead of getting used to being stabled, he`ll probably develop stereotypical behavior - weaving, cribbing etc.- and get some serious health issues like joint problems, gastric ulcers etc that will affect his quality for all of his life. Keeping a foal in confinement, if it is not necessary for his health (after breaks, surgeries etc), is unacceptable. If You cannot find a boarding place, that offers at least 8-10 hour turn out on daily bases all year long, don`t buy this poor foal.
Not even to start about weaning at 3/4 months. Why, what possible rational and scientifically proven reason for this could there be?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I started this thread for advice but all I seem to get is criticized so I will leave it at that....
Thanks for the friendly advice.
 

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No one is criticising you. You asked for advice and was given it.

Seems to me that you are reading things that are not there because no one agrees with you.

I have had foals that had to stay stabled because of problems, usually twisted legs when they were born but they only had a limited time inside - with their dams, and in a large stable 24' x 25'

The only horse I came into contact with that had spent months in a stable prior to and after weaning, ended up a neurotic mess.
 

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Foals can be weaned as early as 3/4 months if they are big/strong enough.
His owner said he is weighing her down,she is 14hh not undernourished but he is only 2 months old and nearly 11hh now.
I'm aware that horses get weaned early - many big studs who churn out babies for money wean early - costs less, they don't have to keep the foals as long, mares aren't taxed so much.... I took on some mares with young foals at foot who were virtual RSPCA cases & upon vet's advice, I weaned them at 3mo for the mare's sakes. Admittedly, like Tiny, I'm no expert on foals, but I've never heard any of the sort either, for any animal. Breast(udder) feeding is a 'supply & demand' thing and the mare will produce enough for her foal. Of course, theoretically(I say, because I 'duel fueled' my 2 kids & lost NO weight) it takes a fair bit out of the mother, but unless she is ill, malnourished, or for some reason she cannot be fed appropriately, she will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't understand why you're feeling 'criticised' Chaz? Is it that you've already made up your mind or taken the foal & are feeling guilty after reading our replies?
I take onboard what everyone has commented but...
I haven't seen him yet....I just think it's a bit unfair that everyone has jumped on the fact that he will most probably be weaned early...the owner has her reasons of which I have no say in,she will have a vets report to say he is fit and healthy enough to be weaned IF it is necessary. BUT as I said previously he will stay with her to be properly weaned until he is 6 months old regardless of when she seperates him from mum.
I am trying to educate myself before taking him on as much as I can,I have not had a baby before but I am not clueless either and I guess that EVERYONE who has youngsters had to be in my position once upon a time.
The way everyone is talking makes me out to be this horrible cruel person for wanting a youngster if I can't leave it out all the time.
It's not like I'm going to shut it in its stable for 3 months with no contact with the outside world he WILL have as much exercise and field time as the yard owners will allow and really I don't think 3 months will be detrimental to the rest of his life.
I'm not saying I'm right your wrong but nobody's set up is perfect (unless you are a millionaire lol)and we do the best we can with what we have.
 

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His dam does a lot more than just feed him. Dams teach boundaries, and the rules of being a horse. Most foals start drinking less from mom at about 4 months, and yes- can be weaned at that point. But I find early weaned horses to have more neurosis and just not integrate into horse society as well as a foal who has stayed with mom(and HERD) for 6 months.

I have made the mistake of weaning early many times when I started breeding and I WILL NEVER do it again. My foals from the last decade are simply set up better for their lives than the foals I weaned early 20 yrs ago. And I know them all well.

I would NEVER keep a foal in a stall for 23 hrs. Again- you WILL HAVE leg and growth problems and behavior issues.

They need to be outside, with a herd of horses(That are safe) so they can learn how to be a horse. Auntie and uncle horses teach SO MUCH.
 

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I really don't think that a baby should be weaned that early but I also don't think that it would be the end of the world either. And besides, that point is mute anyway as this is not in your control.

As far as keeping the baby in and turnout for the amount of time that the B/O will allow could be anything. If I had to keep a foal in a stall for more than 8 hours every 24, I would probably pass on getting it. I really don't see a problem with stalling them for eight or less hours per day. They really NEED that space to run, play and move their bodies. It's a necessity for them in my eyes not a luxury. Only having two or three hours per day of turnout to do so is detrimental to a baby, they need more than that.
 

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I just think it's a bit unfair that everyone has jumped on the fact that he will most probably be weaned early...
I'm not sure that everyone has(without re-reading, I thought it was just Tiny & I that WONDERED). We explained that what you had been told just didn't sound right.

I guess that EVERYONE who has youngsters had to be in my position once upon a time.
The way everyone is talking makes me out to be this horrible cruel person for wanting a youngster if I can't leave it out all the time.
1. No, I have not been in your position. I would have never considered taking on a babies if I didn't have the appropriate environment. I also haven't been in your position of being new to having babies and asking for advice and cracking it for that advice 'bursting my bubble'. 2. NO ONE has 'made you out' to be ANYTHING. But, IF you took on a baby and did keep it in a box, THEN yes, I would think you were being very cruel & selfish. YOU did ask for opinions, so it's not reasonable to then come down on people for giving them.

It's not like I'm going to shut it in its stable for 3 months with no contact with the outside world he WILL have as much exercise and field time as the yard owners will allow and
YOU have said he will be boxed for months. When he is cooped up in his box, unless you are planning on living there with him, bringing the world to him, keeping a bunch of babies in a barn together or some such, he WILL NOT have 'contact with the outside world'. As much exercise 'as the yard owner allows' is... what?? You have made noises about an hour a day, which many of us have said is thoroughly inadequate. And exercise is only one factor. What about time to be a horse? Have you got other appropriate horses/foals to be able to keep him with when he's out?

really I don't think 3 months will be detrimental to the rest of his life. I'm not saying I'm right your wrong
If first sentence above is not saying EXACTLY you're right we're wrong, I have no clue what you're saying.

but nobody's set up is perfect (unless you are a millionaire lol)and we do the best we can with what we have.
And we are telling you, if that's the best you can, it is just not appropriate or fair for a foal. (Or IMO any horse, of any age, to be shut in a box 23 hrs a day for months on end...)
 

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It's not like I'm going to shut it in its stable for 3 months with no contact with the outside world he WILL have as much exercise and field time as the yard owners will allow and really I don't think 3 months will be detrimental to the rest of his life.
Could you pass on this foal and get one later when you are more set up for it?

If something had happened where you had a foal and this was the best you could do for it, well, I guess you would do it and hope for the best. But you have a choice to pass this time and wait until you can do better by the animal. I wouldn't choose to take an animal if I would have to move it into a situation like this.

I mean, you were asking for opinions, and you've gotten them. Now you can take them or leave them. I hope take them.
 
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