With foaling season in full swing, it is not too soon to start thinking about weaning. It can be one of the most stressful times in a young foal's life.
Use Zylkene® to Support Mares and Foals During WeaningBack to overview
With foaling season in full swing, it is not too soon to start thinking about weaning. It can be one of the most stressful times in a young foal's life. Proper planning and stress management, including the use of Zylkene® Equine, can help improve the process.
While most foals are weaned between 4-7 months of age, the choice of age to wean depends on:
- Health status of mare and foal
- Temperament of mare
- Receiving environment for foal
- Maturity level of foal
- Farm management style
Prior to weaning, both the mare and foal should be healthy, and show no signs of disease. This is important as the stress associated with weaning can compromise the immune system, making the mare and foal more susceptible to illness. If the mare has an accepting, laid-back personality the timing of weaning can happen at the owner or farm manager's discretion. If the mare is more aggressive and intolerant of the foal, an earlier weaning date may be preferable. The availability and structural integrity of stalls and paddocks for weaned foals is important for their safety. Foals may show signs of stress and agitation during weaning, such as pawing, stall walking, rearing or other behaviors that may cause injury if facilities are not appropriately safe and secure. Similarly, mature foals are better able to handle the weaning process with less likelihood of untoward stress or injury.
The most commonly used methods for weaning are abrupt and gradual. The chosen method is often based on facility capabilities and farm management preferences. Research has not definitively proven one method of weaning to be superior to others.
Regardless of age of foal and method of weaning chosen, provisions should be taken to help mares and foals cope with the stress associated with the process. Using Zylkene® Equine can help. Start mares and foals on Zylkene® Equine approximately 2-3 days prior to weaning. The product should be continued for both the mare and foal throughout the weaning process if gradual weaning is used; or for several days following weaning if the farm opts for abrupt weaning. Several ranches that follow this protocol during abrupt weaning indicate that mares were more calm and relaxed, and foals were less agitated and vocalized less frequently.
Using Zylkene® Equine can help mares and foals better handle the situational stress associated with weaning, making the process easier and safer for mares, foals, and farm management.