Mule production. Page: 12
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12 FARMERS' BULLETIN 1341
WEANING THE FOAL
Under ordinary conditions the foal is usually weaned when about
6 months old, but if the mare is working or again in foal and the
foal is thrifty it may be weaned earlier. When the foal has been
taught to eat grain early, this separation from its dam need not
cause any check in the foal's development. Weaning is a trying time
in the life of a foal, however, and it should receive additional feed
and care to make up for the loss of the mother's milk from its ration.
When the foal is once taken away from the mare, the separation
should be made complete.
The mare also requires some individual attention at weaning time.
When separated from her foal, it will be necessary to milk her by
hand several times daily for a few days to prevent too much milk
from collecting in the udder and causing it to become caked and
swollen. To assist in the drying-up process, the mare should be
milked only partially dry; if the milk flow is maintained the grain
ration should be reduced for a few days.
CARE OF THE FOAL AFTER WEANING
At no time in the foal's life is pasture more important than at the
time of weaning. On being taken away from its dam, the foal needs
succulent feed, and the best way of supplying this feed is by having
a good pasture. Not only is a good pasture necessary for the development
of the foal, but it is also necessary if the foal is to be raised
in an economical manner. In addition to the pasture the foal should
receive liberal quantities of grain and hay. A grain mixture which
will be suitable for the young foal may be made of 4 parts oats, 1
part corn, and 1 part wheat bran. The hay should be either mixed
hay of good qualitity or clean, well-cured legume hay. Half of the
foal's growth is made during its first year, anll it should have every
advantage possible for maximum development. Foals like companionship
and do better if several are allowed to run together (fig. 6).
THE ORPHAN FOAL
It may happen sometimes that the mare dies soon after foaling or
fails to give milk enough for her foal. When either of these misfortunes
occurs the foal must be raised by hand, which is a tedious
undertaking but is worth while if done properly. As a feed for the
orphan foal, the best and most practical substitute for mare's milk
is cow's milk after it has been prepared to conform as nearly as
possible in composition to the milk of the mare. This is done bv
selecting milk that is low in butterfat and diluting it one-half with
fresh water. Add a tablespoon of sugar and 3 or 4 teaspoons of
limewater to a pint of this diluted milk and heat to body temperature.
Give the foal about a half teacup of this prepared milk at
first and feed at short intervals. Gradually increase the quantity
per feeding and the length of time between feeding periods as the
foal develops. A bottle with a rubber nipple attached is the most
convenient way to give milk to the orphan.
The utensils used in feeding the orphan foal should be kept scrupulously
clean. This can be done by freely utilizing hot water and
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Williams, J. O. (John Oscar), 1885- & Speelman, S. R. (Sanford Reed), 1894-. Mule production., book, 1949; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1784/m1/14/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.