Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Will's Weaning! Little Willing (Will) is 6 months and 4 days old today! So, it's time for him to start to be weaned away from his mom. We will be moving him this week to an area away from Inspirada. We will be putting him in with an older gelding or possibly Chief, who is one of his best friends and Bungalow mate, to act as a babysitter and steadying influence. Shiloh always weans at 6 months of age, it's the most natural time for it to be done as both mom and baby are spending less and less time together by their own choice. Will still nurses a bit now, but mostly just comfort. Some people wean at 4 months or even under- but a baby needs more than milk from his mother- they need the comfort and security that only their mom can give them. Will might be a big baby, but he is still a baby. After all, they are only babies once, so why rush it? The weaning process should be a natural one for both mare and baby, when it is done correctly there is little whinnying and as little stress as possible. We will also be giving Will some ulcer medications during the process as weaning can cause stomach stress for the baby.

Assisted Living Video!

Assisted Living eating their morning Equine Senior. From left to right- Priceless, Abilene, Jackson, Navajo, Eureka, Clover, Chatty, Heavenly, Freedom, Celebrate, and Canyon.

These horses eat Equine Senior twice a day and all the grass mix hay they want. These horses are in their late 20's to 30's. Most older horses cannot keep their weight up with just free fed hay and have to get most of their nutrition from a feed formulated specifically for Senior Horses. We also feed some of the old guys wet Alfalfa hay cubes along with their ES to add some more variety. All hay cubes are wetted down before being fed to make them easier for the old teeth to chew! (Although, not all of our old guys can handle any Alfalfa, so only certain areas get the cubes...)

Equine Senior is our second largest expense, behind the hay bill. We feed 14 bags of Senior feed per day between Little Vacation Village, Assisted Living, horses on special diets, and the Gummies.

A core belief at Shiloh is that all horse do better, emotionally and physically, when they are out in a pasture or herd type of situation. Horses are only housed in our Hospice, Duplex, or Mare Motel areas for daily wound care, specific feeding needs, or if they are in training and are up for adoption to new homes. These corraled horses are all turned out on a regular basis with other horses in the arenas to play and interact. All of our Sanctuary horses live in herds so that they can just be horses and do horse things . Horses are, by nature, wanderers and should not have to spend great periods of time in small closed in corrals...

The Big Pasture this morning. Turn up your sound...

Daisy wanders on the far side of Assited Living's fence. She eats all of the Equine Senior that falls out of the buckets! Smart Daisy!
Tommy Haflinger gets groomed...
The rain clouds are coming!

1 comment:

Mikey said...

I'm sitting here reeling from the 14 bags of senior feed a DAY!! I did the math... wow..
I thought my feed bills were out of sight with 13 here.. I've got nothing on you guys.
Any help you need fundraising, etc, just put the word out. I'd sure like to help, after leaving you another mouth to feed.