1963-Voice Of The Tennessee Walking Horse 1963 October Voice - Page 16

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BY DR . M . E . ENSMINGER Clovis , California
Most foals are weaned at four to six months of age . Thus , foals born late this spring are ready for weaning now .
Weaning The Foal
Among good horsemen , weaning of the foal is more a matter of preparation than of absolute separation from the dam . And the simplicity with which it is accomplished depends very largely upon the thoroughness of the preparation . Age of Weaning
When either the foal or the mare is not doing well , when the mare is used heavily , or when the dam was re-bred on the ninth day after foaling , it may be advisable to wean the foal comparatively early — say at two months of age . On the other hand , when both the mare and the foal seem to be doing well , when the mare is idle , when breeding has been delayed following foaling , or when it is desirable to develop the foal to the maximum , the weaning may very well be be delayed until six months of age .
If by means of the creep or a separate grain box , the foal has become accustomed to the consumption of considerable grain and hay ( about 34 pounds of grain per each 100 pounds live weight daily ), weaning will result in very little disturbance or set-back . Likewise , if the ration of the dam has been decreased ( lessened by one-half ) a few days before the separation , usually her udder will dry up with no difficulty . Separation of Mare and Foal
When these preliminary precautions and preparations for weaning have been made , the separation should be accomplished . This should be complete and final with no opportunity for the foal to sec ; hear , or smell its dam again .
Otherwise , all which has been gained up to this time will be lost , and it will be necessary to begin all over again . Perhaps the best arrangement is to shut the foal in the stall to which it has been accustomed and to move the mare away to new quarters , making certain that all obstructions have first been removed so that there is no possibility of injury to the foal while it is fretting over the separation .
After the weanlings have remained in the stable for a day or two and have quieted down , they should be turned out on pasture . Where a group of weanlings is involved , undue running and possible injury hazard may be minimized in this transition by the following procedure : First turn two or three of the least desirable animals out and let them tire themselves out , and then turn the rest of the weanlings out and they will do very little running .
With a great number of foals , it is advisable to separate the sexes , and even to place some of the more timid ones to themselves . In all cases , it is best not to run the foals with older horses .
Drying-Up the Mare
Some successful horsemen use the following procedure in drying - up mares :
1 . Rub an oil preparation ( such as camphorated oil or a mixture of lard and spirits of camphor ) on the bag , and take the mare from the foal and place her on less lush pasture or grass hay .
2 . Examine the udder and place oil on it at intervals , but do not milk it out for five to seven days . It will fill up and get tight , but do not milk it out . At the end of five to seven days , when the bag is soft and flabby , milk out what little secretion remains ( perhaps not more than a half a cup ).
Mechanization Triggers Light Horse Interest ; Common Stable Vices Mechanical power has been sort of a Doctor Jeckyl and Mr . Hyde to horses . It caused the decline of the draft horse , but the rise of the light horse . Sounds confusing , doesn ’ t it ? Mechanical Power
Back in 1910 , U . S . Department of Agriculture ’ s Yearbook of Agriculture reported as follows : He ( the horse ) has been assailed by the bicycle , the electric street and suburban car , and the automobile ; but all combined have not prevented horses from increasing in numbers and in value . [ And get this .] As a source of farm power and as a substitute for human labor in combination with machines , the horse ’ s economic place on the farm is more strongly established than ever before .
Of course , subsequent events proved how clouded U . S . D . A .’ s 1910 crystal ball was : Horse numbers increased up to 1915 , at which time there was a record number of 21,431,000 head . From that date forward , the relentless wheels of progress steadily lifted from the horse his role in agriculture and commerce ; automobile , truck , and tractor numbers increased , while horse and mule numbers declined .
Ironical as it may seem , mechanization is responsible for the rise of light horses . Flere ’ s how : In the middle ages , the rich man rode a horse and the poor man walked . When I was a boy , the rich man rode in a horseless carriage and the poor man had a horse . Today , the rich man has a horse and the poor man has a car . More Mechanization and Automation
More mechanization and further declines in work horse numbers appear inevitable . But automation and mechanization are making for a happier position for the cow pony and for horses used in recreation and sport . Among such developments are the following :
1 . Hauling range catle and sheep instead of trailing , primarily because of saving in labor and time .
2 . Pelleted rations , which permit easier storage and mechanical feeding .
3 . Mechanical manure disposal and lagoons . 4 . Autmoatic watering devices . 5 . Bulk handling , rather than bagging , concentrates . 6 . Telephones in the barn . Other labor-saving methods now commonplace on many light horse establishments include : The use of salt