We’re curious about the weaning process. Is separation done gradually over several weeks, or is it a fast process? If the latter, how do you deal with the mares’ and foals’ distress and stop them from, say, hurting themselves, when separated and perhaps trying to get back to each other? It seems like weaning would be awfully hard on the human handlers, too.
Trish & Mike
Highlands Ranch, CO
A: The weaning process starts between five and six months of age at Lane’s End. At this stage weaning has started to begin naturally—the foals will be playing and socializing with their buddies more and more and be quite independent when they are turned out.
We typically wean early in the morning so we have a whole day to observe the mares and the foals and make sure they are handling it well. The weaned mares and foals are on opposite sides of the farm so that they are unable to hear each other. This actually makes the separation much easier on both when there isn’t a constant reminder. They stay with the groups they have been with for the last few months so they draw comfort from each other, and it really is only a matter of a few days before they are happily settled into their new routine.
The weanlings continue to come into the barn everyday and have already been taught to eat on their own before being weaned, so their routine is much the same as before. They will be checked over and have their temp taken and their feet picked before going back out in the afternoon with their pals.
Assistant Broodmare Manager, Lane’s End
Originally from Birmingham, England, Donna joined the Lane’s End team in 2004. As Assistant Broodmare Manager, she devotes her time to ensuring the health and happiness of all the broodmares and their foals.