Weaning Your Foal
I love riding through the countryside in spring because of all the new foals grazing in the pastures. Nature is so beautiful! Now all of those foals are a few months old and many will ask “When is a good time to wean my foal”? The word wean means to discontinue breast-feeding gradually, to detach. Separation from the mare is one of the most traumatic events in a foals life, so let us focus on the word gradually. Most people like to separate the mare and foal at about 3 months old and then it’s done. Several studies have been done determining that growth of the foal is not slowed if weaned at 3 months or 6 months. Personally I feel a foal is like an infant, it needs that nourishment and time with the mare. Unless there is a medical reason to do so I think waiting till at least 5-6 months is better. The foal learns from the mare and should be introduced to their surroundings and socialized with other horses before being turned out without the mares protection. Make sure your foal is eating solids and is in good health. Weaning doesn’t have to be so traumatic. When I weaned Cheyenne I separated her from Gypsy for an hour at a time several times a day, each day making the separation a little longer. At night she stayed in a stall by Dakota. Mare and foal were able to see each other and that gave comfort to both horses. I really enjoyed watching Dakota teach her the ways of the herd and especially enjoyed it when Cheyenne would play games with him. He would be eating and she would suddenly run by him as if to say ‘Come on old man, catch me if you can” and the race was on! Enjoy your foals while they are young, there is so much to be learned simply by watching them. Did you visit? Leave a comment!!!