Apologies for another dusted off post from my old blog. I'll eventually adjust to my new work schedule.
This was from about two years ago when I was putting Finnegan through the weaning process....
I'm finally starting the weaning process for Finnegan. You know, our blue-eyed colt that you got way TMI on regarding his recent testicular incident?
He is a hopeless Mama's Boy. He is still nursing at one year. I know I should have weaned him about six months ago, but I don't really have the proper facilities to separate them in cold weather, as I only have one barn. Not even a small run-in shed.
I know some folks subscribe to the method of completely removing the foal from the dam. As in they ship one off to be boarded at someone ele's farm till the deed is done.
Not to be judgemental or nothin', but that's not an idea I could get behind.
First off, it places a terrible stress on both Mama and baby when they're removed from each other so suddenly. Neither one knows what's going on, Mama turns her Mother Bear switch on when her baby is taken from her and who can blame her? They pace, they cry, they scream, they gnash their teeth
you say grazing I say gnashing, tom-ay-to, tom-ah-to.
Second, as a fellow mammal who has formerly nursed, I can tell you right here and now that cold-turkey weaning could be considered a form of torture. If it could be applied to men, it would be banned by the Geneva Convention.
At least when it was time for my babies to say goodbye to the boobies, I could do it on my own terms. And if the pressure
got too much for me, I could always jump in a nice hot shower to express my discomfort
pun intended again.
So I'd much rather keep them together, within sight, within ear shot, just maybe separated by a fence.
Even that can be difficult. Tuesday I put Genevieve in the side pen and gave her a nice big tub of fresh water (of course, I had my kids haul about 10 buckets of water to fill it for me) and a few forks of hay. Pippin and Finn were in the field. At first they were visibly distraught even by this small degree of separation, and Finn wouldn't stray far from the fence, but as the day wore on they seemd to settle into this new turn of events.
After a spell, Finn did as any young boy will do, and went off to explore muddier fields with his brother. Gen would cry and pace a bit but eventually settle. And Finn would check in with her from time to time. Throw the poor old hag a bone.
Is this what it will be like when my kids leave for college?
My plan is to increase periods of separation gradually so the demand on her milk supply will also decrease gradually. Purest example of supply and demand I can think of. More comfortable for Genevieve, my sister in lactation.
The weather has played nicely into things because the next day we had threats of severe wind and thunderstorms. So when I got home with the groceries, I quick ran out to the side pen, (hoping the ice cream wouldn't melt), talked to her and pet her for a few minutes, then let her reunite with her baby. They immediately ran to each other and snuggled, then he checked out what was on tap and drank his fill.
Storms over on Thursday morning, and back into the pen for Gen. I'll keep her in there for two or three days this time, then let them briefly reunite. After that, a week.
So if my plan works out as I've intended, Gen will be all done with the whole nursing scene for the first time in many years. She was kind of a rescued broodmare and I believe Finn was her 8th foal in about 10 years. Yikes.
I'm all for large families, but my hat's off to this girl.
Here's Finnegan on his birthday last year in early June. Cute, right?
This is Finn and his brother Pippin about three months before going under the knife.
And here he is last summer, bigger than his brother. How quickly they grow...
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