This time of year, you may be looking to buy a foal and experience the joy of bringing on a youngster. Although it is traditional to wean at 6 months, this is actually too early. The foal’s important gut microbes are not fully up and running until the foal is 7.5 months old. In nature, weaning may not take place until the following early spring. If you are thinking of buying a foal – or indeed are breeding for yourself – please do not be tempted to wean too early.
The very best favour you can do for your foal is to delay weaning until at least 7.5 months. Yes, the mare many need additional feeding, especially going into autumn and winter. If she is in foal again, the next foal is not making heavy demand on her until the last 3 months. If the mare is getting thin, it is because she is not being fed sufficiently. Later weaning reduces the risk of separation anxiety developing, leads to less stress for mare and foal, results in a more confident foal and reduces weaning weight loss. Just think how challenging it must be for a foal to lose his dam, his friends and move to a new home with unfamiliar people.
Weaned foals need a nutritious diet and if they have been sharing their dam’s feed, this will enable them to get used to manger feed. Red Bag Grass Pellets, a good forage balancer such as Simple Balance + and additional support for their gut microbes such as Traditional Brewers’ Yeast or Eclipse Recovery are all good choices at this time. For more specific suggestions for your weaned foal, please contact our Feed Line team, email@example.com or use our online enquiry form or message us on FB. You can also call us on 01728 604 008, during office hours.