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Roy
15-04-04, 04:11 AM
I have a 7 month old colt and need some help relating to weaning. On my property, besides his mother, I have another mare 4 months pregnant and one other mare. Should the colt be put with one of these horses for a short period, then put in a paddock by himself, or should he be placed by himself but next to another mare. Any suggestions? Also, When is the best time to geld him?

Cate
15-04-04, 05:55 AM
Gelding can be done as soon as he has dropped, and from 6 months onward is fine.
As far as weaning goes, I always wean in a group taking mum out of the group and over the fence for 6 hours at a time, then 12 hours, then full time over a period of 2 weeks. Then keep them separate for another 2 weeks. It lets her dry up slowly (if she isn't getting that way already) and everybody is usually happy about things and don't get stressed by the whole process.

Alpeony
15-04-04, 06:07 AM
The method that you use for weaning will probably be governed by how much land you have as well as the facilities at your disposal.

The horse is a herd animal and, I believe, will always cope best with major changes in its environment if it is with another horse (or horses) that it has established a relationship with. Weaning is a high risk time for any foal so you need to minmise the risks as much as possible.

I have only 8.5 acres divided into 2 paddocks with only 1 foal a year so I find that the best way is to abruptly remove the mare and take her some where else for at least a month (I have a couple of friends who are more than happy to help me out). I place the mare and foal in with my other 1-2 horses for a while (a couple of weeks minimum) so that they all get to know one another and the environment first before I remove the mare. So far I haven't had any problems and both the mare and her foals have settled down very quickly.
A friend has much more land than me and a great set of safe yards and she places the foal in the safest yard next to a "friend" and takes the mare to the other end of her place out of sight and sound from the foal. Her system seems to work quite well too. She takes this opportunity to do some handling work as well.
A stable can also work well if you have one that you can use. Safe and secure.
Don't do as one person did recently in my area. She took both the mare and foal to an unfamiliar place and left the foal there with a strange "herd" and then took the mare straight home. The foal was quite distressed for a few days and unable to settle with it's new buddies. One morning it was found with a fractured leg and had to be destroyed (they think as a result of a kick). A terribly hard lesson for all concerned.
Good luck and I hope all goes well.

EA
16-04-04, 04:36 AM
We usually wean by putting the foal in a paddock next to the mare. They can usually touch over the fence but the foal cannot suckle any longer. I find this the least stressful way to wean them. We usually have a number of foals, so we wean them in groups. If there are no other foals I would put the foal in with other horses. Because our paddocks are quite large we usually find that after a couple of weeks both the mares and the foals wander off of their own accord and there is none of the screaming you get from them if you just remove their mothers completely, personally I dont like that method very much, it is very traumatic for both the mares and the foals.

We wean about 12 foals per year.

Dutch
16-04-04, 10:41 AM
EA I am with you on this one. That is the same method that I use and have found it to be less stressful on the foal and mare. They both settle down very quickly and there is none of the calling out that some of the other methods cause.

AW
17-04-04, 08:08 AM
Am in the proces of weaning my 5mnth old colt (my first time ).
Had mare & foal in with my other mare for aprox 2mnth , gradually started seperating foal at feedtime by feeding him in stableyard next to "auntie" with mum on the outside; I have mesh fencing around yard so everybody could see what was happening but no touch.
After aprox 2 weeks of this I moved "mum" over to next paddock across lane and touch wood everybody is very happy & relaxed, the ocasional "nicker" but no screaming and all happily eating & wandering around.
Good luck