Weaning foals from their dams should take place when the foal is between 4 and 6 months of age. The decision on when to wean should be made based on the nutritional needs of the individual mare and foal, as well as the use and future plans of the mare and foal. In addition to deciding when to wean a foal, an owner must also decide how to accomplish the weaning. Several methods have been studied in controlled environments and used successfully. One method might work better than the next depending on the set up of your facilities, your available time, and the number of mares and foals.
The arrival of a new foal is an exciting time for a horse owner. A lot of time, effort, and money have been invested in order to reach this point. You have also potentially lost a lot of sleep waiting to watch your mare as she foals, so that you can assist if necessary. You’ve done everything you can to ensure your foal gets the best start to his life. It is important to continue this level of interest and care as your foal grows throughout his first several months. This is the most rapid period of growth, with most light breeds of horses reaching about 40% of their mature weight by six months of age. The dam’s milk will usually serve as a complete nutrient supply for the foal for the first six to eight weeks of life, but he will quickly seek solid sources of feed to supplement his diet.