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Rock Creek, BC
Weaning Foals - An article by Stacy Elliot

It is the time of year that foals are to be weaned away from their moms milk. Sometimes the foal gets to go to a new home and often the foal stays on the same property as the mare and just gets moved to a new pen. In any case it is most important to make sure both the mare and the foals pens are safe, I prefer moving the foal to a new pen rather than moving mother. It works well to put another friendly young horse in with the mare and foal for a week or so before weaning. This is to allow the foal to become comfortable with someone besides mom, this works well if the mare and foal have been in a pen by themselves.

If mom is very protective she may chase off the new intruder to protect her baby, but the foal is too curious and it doesn't take long before they become play mates. If you have a pen full of mares and foals then it is best to move all the foals to one new pen. I always keep a close watch when moving foals around or introducing new horses into pens, if the situation goes wrong then I am there to change the scenario.

When I feel it is time to move the baby and friend to a new pen I check to make sure the fencing is good and everything is safe. Sometimes you have to exaggerate things by a hundred when dealing with taking baby away from mother, neither will like it and they will go ballistic. I have seen foals try to jump fencing and succeed by knocking off the top rail, or breaking the fence, it is a very good idea to avoid barbed or smooth wire.

Keep a close watch on the mares milk supply after removing the baby, after a few days it will seem as if it it may explode. You may want to squirt a little milk out for her every so often to eleviate the pressure and to avoid mastitis. There are some things you can feed to help mothers milk supply dry up, this includes mint and apple cider vinegar. 3 Tbls of mint can be given daily and apple cider vinegar can be feed at 2 Tbls per day.

You can add the mint to grain or bran along with the vinegar, you may even put the apple cider in a syringe and dilute with some water to give orally. Try to avoid accidents by keeping mother and baby in safe pens when weaning for your horses to maintain their natural Wild Horse Power.