Ways to Wean Young Horses

There are many ways to wean foals, but a method in which the foal can make a gradual adjustment to being apart from his dam or herdmates is often the least stressful.
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How you separate the mare and foal depends on your experience and the housing facilities at your disposal.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Breaking the mom-baby bond can be painful or painless, depending on how you do it. There are many ways to wean foals, but a method in which the foal can make a gradual adjustment to being apart from his dam or herdmates is often the least stressful. There's no best way to wean, however, because many factors enter the equation, including health, age, and temperament of the individuals, as well as facilities and management time.

Abrupt Separation

Foals in the pen The traditional way to wean on many farms has been to put foals together in a pen and remove the mares. This works best if mares are taken far away, to another farm if possible, so the foals can't hear them. Foals should remain in a familiar place, as they will be less likely to injure themselves and won't come into contact with new pathogens while their immune systems are compromised by stress

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Written by:

Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses and Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at https://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

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