Just a few (probably silly) questions… I have a young colt that I would like to keep entire (all depending on temperament and conformation of course). What age do I need to wean him from his mother? The mother is not going to be bred from or ridden again so weaning would not be for her benefit. I would like to leave it as long as possible before weaning him as I have no other foals to wean him with, he will have to be weaned with older horses. If some colts can cover mares at a very young age, what age do they need to be weaned so they don’t try to cover their mother? At what age would I need to invest in stud fencing etc? At what age will the stallion behaviour/characteristics become noticeable? Any info much appreciated
We like to wean a colt no earlier than 6 months, if necessary(a problem with a mare or colt it can be done as early as 4 months or so, this is not a practice we like to do). Many times we will leave a baby on mom as long as 8-10 months old depending on how the mare does and how baby does. A mare can teach a foal many things. It helps to in a larger herd and keeps baby safe and mom watches out for them. It is good for us as well to leave babys on until the following year as we will continue to stall mom and baby together throughout the winter. Normally by 10 months old the mare has slowed down milk productions(as normally mares are rebred on foal or first cycle)and start to wean themselves. If mare is not rebred nature may take its coarse and do the weaning as well, but in nature many times a mare will even allow a yearling to nurse after the new foal is established in nursing. The colt may show a few signs of interest in the smells and such of a mare in heat, and can do their job but typically it is closer to 18months to two years before actually being able to complete the job on a somewhat regular basis. Stud fencing ?? We just have our stallions behind a wood fence with mares at the other end of the property until a mare in season comes past him and then a single strand of electic fence does the job for us. So for us a stallion normally develops stronger behaviour/characteristics coming close to two years old. We have ran a few colts with their mares once in foal up to their 3 year old year. With no problem and then bamn once the colt hit 3 he was very interested in the mares in season. Each colt is different, you just need to watch him and see how he is progressing , some colts develop at a earlier age then others. Naturally if you see obvious signs of a colt trying to mount a mare then you may consider seperating them. I had a colt that was pretty persistant at 2 but was a bit smaller than the mares he ran with and never penatrated a mare. The mares were pretty bossy and let him know enough was enough! If you want to run you colt with your mare after this time you can also put your mare on birth control and should not have any trouble(many folks on the show circurt use birth control, it helps with other stallions on the show grounds and lessons the dispositon changes in a mare as well). It seems to be good to have a paddock partner for your stallion and it they have been raised together the will learn how to deal with each other instead of totally seperating each other.
When weaning remember it is a stressful time and look at your seasons as well... I would rather haul a mare and foal to a show (I know it takes up trailer space)but to try to wean a foal durning or before show season is stressful then add the heat of the year and it can sometimes prove harmful to a colt.Sometimes we don't wean and just seperate for a few hours at a time and teach baby and mom they will return and can travel to local shows successfully.
Ok to make a long story short, I feel you could successfully leave a colt on a mare for the first 10-12 months. Don't let the colt wear down the mares condition though. Keep a watchful eye on the situation.
Best of luck
Oh, I am sure there will be many different opinions on this subject !! Sort out what you feel comfortable with. You know your mare/colt.
Kim, thank you so much for that wealth of information. I am planning to eventually wean him with my gelding so hopefully they will settle well together. I wouldn’t consider keeping him as a stallion if he had to be completely isolated so fingers crossed he will be quiet enough. Both parents have impeccable temperaments so hopefully he will too. Cathy, I will keep an extra vigilant eye on him when he is nearing 8 months.
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