Jake is now a Weanling

I guess it's now official: Jake is a weanling. I mean yearling. I mean he no longer drinks milk (sorry, dairy farmers!). He's been off the nipple since March 18, at a little over 9 months of age.
In a natural situation I believe that a foal will nurse until the mare has her next foal, although that is something I haven't been able to confirm. I can't think of a better way to get proper nutrition into a foal during the critical early growth stages than as nature intended it, so I was quite content to keep the feed in front of Tatti to get it through to Jake. He has done well and looks really good, with none of the potty belly that I often see in colts his age.
Most of the time we wean around 5 or 6 months of age. I've worked with colts who were weaned as early as three months of age, such as when they're a late foal and need to be put in sync with a group, but I don't believe they're mentally ready at that age to be weaned.
Often we need the mare for other purposes or want to ensure the health of her next foal so we wean earlier than nature intended.
For Tatti, I was having a tough time keeping weight on her as she nursed Jake. She cribs so I watch how much concentrate she gets so that her digestive system stays even. Everything would be fine except I miss riding her and I want to get my trail buddy going again under saddle, and I wasn't prepared to pump more concentrate into her to do that. 
So Tatti got put in one shed with a double gate - Jake stuck his head through a single gate and Tatti was quite willing to sidle over to let him nurse. Gypsy the fat Welsh pony keeps her company during the day, and old Blue, the other Welsh pony, keeps her company in the evening. I don't know how much company they are for her, since they're both scared of her, but it's a good theory.
Jake and Tatti still eat together on opposite sides of a manger and over the course of a few days Jake started hanging out more with his friends Cody & Holly than in the shed, running in from the field full tilt every once in a while just to check in. Tatti's udder has come down to a manageable level after five days with no signs of mastitis. I'll keep them separated for as long as possible, at least two weeks but likely more, probably until it starts to drive me crazy keeping them in separate groups.
And so Jake enters the next phase of his life.

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