Dec 7 2004, 10:55 AM
I need your help:
I do have a five month old colt who stopped drinking milk at his mother yesterday morning. He is only eating hay, anything else. Seems as if he does not like the milk anymore - milk is okay.
The vet was there and checked him through: Everything okay!
Could it be that this little boy weans himself from his mother?
Hoping for answers.
Dec 7 2004, 12:01 PM
Sounds 100% normal to me! The mare's milk quality at 5 months post-foaling is minimal at best, and the foal is typically getting the majority of its nutrition through solid food anyhow. Nursing at that age is typically more of a "comfort" rather than for nutritional needs.
Dec 7 2004, 05:59 PM
I have not had very many foals but have never seen this happen and five months isn't very old to wean. I would keep a very careful eye on Mum and Baby. Is he eating foal pellets? Hay alone really isn't enough for a five month old foal, he does need a good stud diet as well, milk pellets are also good for a weanling. If he is eating short feed as well as hay he should be fine but with the cold weather coming hay alone is not enough. You could also try him with milk in a bucket.
I am sure all is well but better to be sure than sorry. With foals it is important to spot a problem quickly as they don't have the reserves of a mature horse. I had a filly who would only have milk and hay/grass until she was about five and a half months old and then she suddenly started eating short feed (the weather was getting colder). I was really worried about her although the vet said she was fine and she was in good condition.
Hope all is well.
Dec 7 2004, 06:04 PM
Cvm is correct...as she would be being a vet.
I have experienced this myself as well....they will stop nursing until I take mom out to do something with her and when I put her back in they nurse because they have been upset that she left...a comfort thing.
At five months they should be eating their own ration of grain and hay....I would say the majority of foals are weaned at 4-5 months of age by human means at any rate.
Dec 7 2004, 06:46 PM
it could be possible that your foal has a stomach abscess. A good friend of me had the same problem with his foal 3 Month ago. The foal didn┤t drink milk or eat something only a litle litle bit hay. The vet didn┤t find the problem, so they went into a Clinic for horses, they made a Stomach reflection and found the problem, it was a stomach abscess.
Dec 7 2004, 08:27 PM
Our foals, as a general rule are weaned at 3 to 4 months and generally with a group of babies, 2 at a minimum. We creep feed beginning at a month and a half and generally they are ready ti say bye to mom at 3and 1/2 months. What is interesting is the weight gain after weaning. It is almost dangerous and we often worry about laminitis due to that rapid spurt, Luckily that has not happened yet. After 5 months the mare's milk is mostly water and generally only serves asa water substitute.
Conversely we have a mare and filly pair which nursed well into her 3rd year and actually into her 4th off and on and the mare was agreeable.
Each foal is different and personally I would not worry if a 5 month old foal stopped nursing.
Nature is wonderful and 100% correct.
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