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Weaning Question

I have 3 horses, 1 mare, gelding and a 6 month old filly. We used the total separation method to wean the two at this time and the filly is staying with the gelding with no problem. The mare is currently at a farm 30 miles away. Being we have a small pasture and area for the horses and not able to keep the two separated for ever, I was wondering about how long do we need to keep the mare and the filly apart? They will eventually have to come back together. Hopefully not trying to nurse when that happens though. We do have separate stalls, and two small pastures.

Thanks, Tim

Hi Tim,

It’s a little hard to tell if your filly will start to nurse again. The longer they are apart the better. I would give it at least 3-4 months. Six months would probably do it just fine. If the filly really is bonded to the gelding quite well, perhaps there won’t be much of a problem. It seems to happen when the foal does not have peer companions or a good strong bonded older horse to take their attention and interest. If that is not happening the foal will frequently bond back to the mare in such a way as to want to nurse. I suppose as the filly has no peers around and only the gelding, unless the separation is long enough there is a good chance she will try to nurse again. It also has to do with the mare being very attentive to the foal. If it was her first foal she may be so into it that she will instigate a nursing relationship again. Or, if she is an old hand at it, she may just be happy to not be nursing more. Wish I had a more definitive answer, but the variables are too many. Will you breed the mare again right away? Is this her first foal? Just curious€ ….

Sincerely, Franklin

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