What age do you wean foals?

January 26, 2007 6:43am CST
Is there an exact age at which you should wean foals from their mother? My friend has just weaned hers at 6 months which I believe is around the normal average time? Although theres a foal that lives just up the road who is still with its dam at two years! Surely it gets harder to wean them as they get older?
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5 responses
@melanie652 (2526)
• United States
28 Jan 07
I usually wean at 4 months. I've weaned at 5 months or so and actually have found it easier to wean at 4 months. Any earlier than that, I don't think the foal is ready. At 4 months they seem to have this surge of independence and that's about the time I wean. I try to make it as easy as I can on mare and foal. The foals stay out in the pasture with the other mares and foals they've been used to running with. The mares go in a paddock right next to the pasture. The fencing is electric wire. Both the mares and foals respect electric fence. This way the foals can stay right next to the mares, but they can't nurse. It's worked pretty well. Leaving a foal with it's dam for 2 years is much too long in my opinion. I don't think that foal has been properly socialized with other horses and has looked to his dam to "protect" him all this time. When the time comes for him to leave to be broke to ride or if he's sold, I think it will unnecessarily be extra hard on him to be separated from his dam.
28 Jan 07
Yeah thats what I thought, 2 years is unecessarily long! I think they might be have problems with training the filly to be honest as I've noticed she's not wearing a rug out in the field either! Poor thing its freezing at the moment. Its not even especially hard to train them to take a rug though, you just have to be patient and do things slowly.
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• United States
30 Jan 07
Yes, I agree with the need to be patient. I think you run into bigger problems when you try to rush a horse when introducing them to something new. Especially something like loading in a trailer. It also helps if you've handled them quite a bit and they're used to having things done like their feet, grooming, vaccinations, etc.
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• Canada
29 Jan 07
We wean our foals at 6 months but I do know some breeders who wean at three months. I wouldn't wean at 3 months because the longer you leave them with the mare the better they are likely to do. It is very hard to wean much older than a 6 month foal because they are much smarter and are more likely to hurt themselves trying to get back to their mom. My girlfriend had to put her colt down after he tried to jump a 5 foot wooden fence and punctured him self through the stomach. He was a yearling who had been just weaned and was trying to get back in with his mother. When you wean make sure that you give a weanling foal ration everyday to help give your baby a good start once he's on his own with out mom. Most mares will wean their own foal but some will hanng on for longer. My arab mare weans her foals on her own when they are about 7 months old.
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@winky73 (1396)
• United States
26 Jan 07
6 month is baout the average....we used to start at 4 month...meaning we would take the mare out for a ride without the foal.Some mares are harder to wean and they get really crazy for the first few days of being without her foal.
26 Jan 07
I have found that the mare will wean the foal off her. Most foals are weaned 6-8 months. It is really up to the mare. " years old is a bit old in my estimation. Just put them in different stalls.
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@AKRao24 (18507)
• India
31 Jan 07
I am a Vet serving for a Stud Farm. We are Throughbred breeders. Generally on the Farm we wean between five and six months. That is the time when even mare also co operates in doing so. Normally we keep the mare infoal by the time and for us it becomes necessary to wean the foal at that time so that te mare get ample of time to replenish herself before she foals her next offspring! If properly fed household horses, I mean foals can be weaned between five months and six months. The only thing to be kept in the mind after the weaning, is provision of balanced feed along with good amount of calcium and other minerals. Protein in take should be increased as the foal is totally deprived of the milk which he was getting fro the Dam and also the fact that this is the time when the foal requires maximum calcium and protein, as they are in steep growth stage. Stress caused by the weaning won't last more than few days. Depending upon the technique you are adopting to do so, depending upon number of horses at your disposal and the method of weaning! Foals normally take weaning a bit stressfully, but the weight loss can be recouped within a month or so. Good deworming programme, vaccination programme toigether with good nutitinal progmamme after weaning keeps a weaning a healthy one! All the best!
31 Jan 07
Hey thanks for the really detailed reply, its really interesting to hear about the more scientific side of weaning. Thanks for taking the time out to respond :-)
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