It’s that time of year: Horses born in the early spring will start to be weaned at about five or six months of age. Now is the time to prepare for a safe and happy (or as happy as can be expected) weaning experience.
1) Start increasing your foal’s ration of feed over a two- to three-week period. Mother’s milk starts to loose nutritional value after three months.
2) At the same time, begin reducing the mare’s feed ration to limit milk production.
3) Don’t wean your foal under the following conditions:
a) He’s ill or not thriving
b) He’s still very attached to his mother
c) He’s not eating much of his grain ration
d) He hasn’t been halter broken or handled
4) Make a plan: There are many different ways to wean a young horse. The method you choose will depend on the facilities you have available, your mare and foal’s temperment, and whether you have other horses on your property. In general, there are two methods: The abrupt method and the gradual method. Within each there are a number of different ways to wean. If you don’t have another horse (or, ideally, another mare and foal) on your property, you may need to consider “borrowing” a friend’s gentle mare or gelding to keep your baby company.