Weaning Time

 Jake's quite ready for weaning at just over 5 months of age, and his dam is ready too. I'm trying what they call 'fenceline weaning' in the beef cattle trade: mother and son can see each other through safe fences or gates but he can't nurse. This time I'm doing it gradually too, on the advice of my friends who have weaned their own two-legged children. We started with four hours a day and we're up to about 8 hours. Jake doesn't really notice there's anything different since he's in the herd with all of his friends and it's Tatti who is confined to a pen in the lean-to: that way Jake can come and go but he doesn't get distressed about being 'locked up'.
Last year I had an issue with mastitis with Gypsy so I thought a new approach might work better.
So far, so good. It's been about a week, on and off as I am around. I put Tatti in her pen in the morning and put them back together at dinner time. Last weekend we took Tatti out for a trail ride and left Jake with Uncle Cody, locked in a pen where he couldn't see us going around the trail on the farm, and the boys were so busy stuffing their faces they didn't notice we were gone.
A few considerations if you are trying this for yourself:
Lock up the mare, not the foal.
Use ultra-safe fencing or gates in an area that's comfortable and familiar for them.
Use friends for company for the foal.
I haven't restricted Tatti's feed or water but I'm monitoring her condition closely. I'd like to get her 'figure' back but I'll wait until she's dried up before I start changing her diet and exercising her again.
Jake has been on Gro-N Win ration balancer but not on creep feed since the ponies are the same height and we know who'd be eating it. I will try to get some more groceries into him once he's weaned. With only feeding grain once a day I haven't been able to reach the recommended levels of feed, although he looks good I think I can give Tatti credit for that.
P.S. He's 12.2HH at the withers and higher behind, weighing in at 470 lbs.

Leave a comment

    Add comment