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Feeding Foals Through Weaning Time

Learn about feeding foals in weaning time with Nutrena and Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

To make the process easier, foals need to be properly prepared for weaning. Feeding foals the right way is part of that process. With the help of Nutrena expert Roy Johnson and Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can learn about setting up a successful feeding transition for the foal.

Feeding Foals Through Weaning Time
Weaning foals can be a stressful time for you and the weanling. Learn about making the process easier and the basics of a feed program with the help of Nutrena and Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Feeding Foals and Weanlings

Foals and weanlings need feed that is specially made to fit their nutritional needs. Foals need to consume at least one pound of feed per month of age. For example, if a foal is four months old, it should be consuming at least four pounds of feed per day. If a foal is six months old, it should be consuming at least six pounds of feed per day, and so on.

Feed for weanlings and foals will be 14 – 16% protein with controlled sugar and starch, as well as amino acid, mineral and vitamin fortification.

After they’re two months old, foals should be creep fed–separately fed from the mare. The milk produced by the dam is not sufficient for a foal’s adequate growth. Don’t change feeds on the day you wean your foal. Creep feeding with the same feed will make the weaning process easier for the foal. Also be sure the foal has access to high quality forage, loose salt and fresh, clean water.

Before the Foal is Weaned

Weaning can be a stressful time for the foal, so other high stress events shouldn’t take place during the same time as weaning. There are a few precautions to take before weaning foals.

Vaccinations – Make sure that the foal has been vaccinated for any diseases, according to your health care plan. Vaccinations can be stressful for animals, so you want to have them already taken care of before weaning.

Deworming – Foals should be dewormed before weaning time.

Handling – The foal should have been handled, taught to lead and have had its feet trimmed.

Have a plan – There should be a plan in place for the actual weaning/separation process

It’s important to monitor the new weanlings closely. Increase feed intake to maintain proper growth and body condition, feeding foals according to both body condition score and weight. Some weanlings may become pot-bellied and look a bit rough after the weaning process. This is due to too much forage and inadequate feed intake. The weanling’s cecum isn’t fully developed, so it can’t digest forage as well as an older horse.

Being prepared can help minimize the stress of weaning foals, and help maintain uniform growth and body condition. To learn more about caring for horses, visit our Hobby Farming blog.

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