The beginning of a new year brings with it the excitement of a new crop of foals, hopes are high and thoughts are already turning to sales time. Breeders put an immense amount of work and finances into ensuring the arrival of healthy viable foals.
Next comes the planning for next year with the mares returning for cover and then it is onto approximately six months of foals being foals and growing up with a relatively stress free existence unaware of the importance of these formative months.
Managing the Weaning Process
The next milestone in a foal’s life will be the weaning process. Each breeder will have their own tried and tested methods for weaning of foals but all will agree that the most important element of this is to minimise stress for both mare and foal. The key to this is careful planning and preparation. The age old adage of “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” certainly stands true when it is weaning time on any stud farm! Some employ the protocol of having a group of similarly aged foals together and then quietly remove one mare at a time until they are simply left in a group of their peers. Others will wean inside, however this should be done with caution as you do not want a foal’s first experience of being stabled to be that of a negative one.
Accustoming the foals to more regular human interaction can help to minimise stress and can be done by making human contact a positive experience. By nature foals are inquisitive and you can encourage this by giving the foals a daily recommended amount of Friska Foal. This is an extremely palatable multivitamin and prebiotic syrup and will be a welcome inclusion in the foal’s daily diet. This syrup is loved by foals and they will take it directly from the handler, ensuring a positive association between handler and foal.
Nutrition for Growth
Cal-Gro to the daily ration to ensure the increased dietary requirements of foals preparing for sales are met. This powdered complementary feed is added to the normal ration to boost intake of calcium, lysine, methionine and other essential growth nutrients, helping to ensure optimum skeletal development. Nothing quite adds shine to a coat like the inclusion of Kentucky Karron Oil into the diet. High in omega 3 and 6, proven to improve skin and coat health, Kentucky Karron Oil is sure to give that lustrous shine to help a foal stand out at sale.
In conclusion, it is a simple formula of good nutrition, good management, low-stress environment and good breeding practises which will help a consignor to achieve their sales targets.