Tips for Feeding Foals After Weaning

Weanlings require additional support and feeding adjustments as they grow. Here’s what to remember.

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Tips for Feeding Foals After Weaning
Steady, consistent growth through weaning and to maturity can influence lifelong soundness. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
As summer comes to an end and your foal continues to grow and gain independence, it’s time to think about his nutritional requirements once he’s weaned. This can be a stressful time, both emotionally and nutritionally. Keep these tips in mind to ensure a smooth transition and continued healthy growth through weaning.

When to wean

“If the weanling horse is one you’ve raised since birth, you have a lot of control over how well-prepared your baby is for weaning,” says Anna Pesta, PhD, an equine nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition. “Foals will show interest in feeds early on and, by about two months of age, their mother’s milk will no longer supply all the nutrients needed for optimum growth.”

To support smooth and steady growth, offer suckling foals about one pound of a properly-formulated foal feed per month of age each day, Pesta advises. For example, a 3-month-old would ideally be eating about three pounds of feed per day, in addition to milk and free-choice hay or pasture.

A weanling horse already accustomed to eating an adequate amount of dry feed will transition to life without mom much easier and maintain nutrient intake at a level that allows optimum growth. Knowing how to eat and having a safe friend to keep them company after weaning helps foals adjust to their new independence

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