What You Want To Know About Weaning Foals

Weaning foals, specifically knowing when to wean foals can be an easy transition. Learn the facts about weaning horses here

Keep the stress level low when weaning horses

weaning foals and dummy foals

There comes a time in the life of a young foal when it must be separated from its’ mother. At Mares’ Nest we normally wean our foals at five months of age.

When to Wean Foals

By that time the foal has learned to eat solid food and the quality of nutrition in the mare’s milk has diminished. As with all plans, flexibility is important. If the foal is lacking strength and development, more time with the mare may be needed. Conversely, if the mare has lost condition, weaning earlier may be necessary.

You want to make the transition of weaning horses with as little stress to the foal and mare as possible.  There are several ways to accomplish this task, and what works for one owner may not be successful for another. Also, the facility which one has available often dictates the choice of method.

The Mares’ Nest Method To Weaning Foals

Here at Mares’ Nest we try to make the transition for weaning foals as simple and safe as possible.  When the foal is ready for weaning, we remove the mare from the pasture and take her to an area where she cannot see her foal. 

The foal remains where it has lived for the first few months of its’ life and is hardly aware that its’ mother is gone. Everything is exactly as it has been other than the fact that his mother is no longer there. Weaning horses can be, and should be a peaceful experience.

He has all his little friends to romp with and continues to eat grain and hay in the creep. He has just one change to deal with; everything else is still the same.  

The foal generally realizes what has happened and may do a little running and calling, but generally this is over within a day or two...

We have used this method for a good many years and have never had a foal get injured or go off its feed. We always plan it so the final mare removed is a kind and motherly mare and a good baby sitter.

Other Methods To Wean Your Foal

There are other methods of weaning foals. Some breeders take the mare and foal into a stall, remove the mare and leave the foal in the stall. We have never liked this method as everything has changed for the baby. 

Its’ mother is gone and it is in a strange place. Panic is the usual result. Again, ones facilities will determine the method to be used.  Another weaning method is to separate the mare and foal by moving the mare to an adjacent paddock so they can see one another, but the foal can no longer nurse. 

Here again, the fencing will determine if this method is usable. A fence where the foal can stick its’ head through will not stop it from nursing.

You’ve spent considerable time and money and have put a lot of work and love into   getting your foal to this stage.  The last thing you want is to have the foal injured or go off its feed.  

Select a weaning method that will protect the foal from injury and will minimize stress to the foal, the mare and to you.

More Information On Caring For Foals

Read about foal development here.

Information on imprinting your foals.

How to wean your foal successfully.

You may need to read about dummy foals here.

Every horse eventually needs to be trailer trained.