Wow, what fantastic weather we have been enjoying in Paris, Ky! The babies are growing and we have started weaning the older ones. Weaning can be a stressful time on the farm for mom, babies and guests.
Fortunately, we at Rosecrest Farm have found that if we wait until the foals are six months old they have started weaning themselves. At four months, the foals are still very attached to moms and moms are content to have the babies under hoof. By five months you see the foals spending more time playing with the other foals and forgetting about staying close to mom.
It’s fun to watch how when the mares start feeling the pressure in their bags, they realize the babies have been off playing too long and give a low guttural sound calling their foals to nurse. Most of the time the foals will come with just a call or two. But sometimes you see the mare call several times and the foals decide they are having too much fun and ignore the calls. Eventually the mare will actually go and get the foal and give the foal a reprimand. It seems in the horse world the mares have not taken a permissive attitude. Babies learn: mares rule.
So, of the 11 weaned we only had a couple babies not happy and it’s interesting they were both colts. One we call Max but technically is Maxnmacy ’15. If you have read the earlier blogs, this is the colt that stood up before his mom, and has developed into a strapping young colt. The other was CJ — a well balanced colt better know as Miss Dixie Rose ’15. Luckily for our guests staying here at that time they didn’t cry too much.
At this time of year, the mares and foals are out all night and brought in the barn in the morning for a few hours. Both mare and foal are carefully scrutinized for any new scrapes or bumps and their overall health evaluated. They are fed and the foals then snuggle down in the straw and take a nap.
They are then usually turned back out together into the same pasture. When we wean, that morning starts out the same but when it’s time to be turned out the foal is walked out first (as usual to the same pasture) but the mare is taken out and immediately loaded in the van and taken to a pasture on the back part of the farm. The foals don’t usually even notice that the mare is not with them until sometime later, that’s when they might look around and when they don’t see them either go back to grazing or playing or cry a little.
We always wean 2 or 3 at a time and pick foals who already hangout together so that they always have a buddy. By doing it this way there are other mares in the pasture with the foals which seems to give them all comfort. Eventually, we take out the last two or three mares but by that time all the other foals are comfortable without their mamas.
Last week we had one of our farm clients spend four days at the B&B. They said they really enjoyed being able to wake up, grab a great cup of Lil’s coffee and either sit on the porch or meander up to the barn where they could see their foal in the stall, or have it taken out and get a good look at the baby being walked
After seeing Jackie’s photos I could not decide which ones were the best, so I decided to share them all. Some are here and all of them on the website Farm Gallery. …I think you will agree with me that she has a great eye. I also believe you will see via the photos an owner who loves his horses.
We had a great time getting to know them better.