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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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weaning/ drying mare up

Hey Dr. Getty,
I have to weaning my filly now (6 mos. old). She is getting 4 lbs. of safe choice split into 3 meals. Alfalfa in the morning & evening & coastal during the day. She gets the Mare/Foal II P vitamins, flax & canola oil. Is this ok?

I have separated them at feeding time since the baby was @ 2 mos. old so I knew she was getting her vitamins etc. For the last 3 weeks I have been separating them all day & putting them back together at night, hoping this would help the mare quit producing so much milk. When she comes in at night she looks like a sprinkler spraying milk. Last week I cut her safe choice from 6 lbs. a day to 4 lbs. & this week I am feeding her 2 lbs. a day with her Mare/Foal II P vitamins, flax, & canola oil. She gets alfalfa in the morning & coastal the rest of the day. She isn't really missing her baby that much... she went swimming in the pond yesterday with a gelding we have. Today she went down on some lower property where she couldn't even see her baby. What should I do to help her dry up?

Thanks so much for your time & knowledge!!
I'm sending you a picture so you can see what a beautiful job your feeding plan has done!

Where are you from? Bastrop, Texas

Re: weaning/ drying mare up

Hi Lynette!

Thanks so much for the picture -- she is gorgeous!!! I know you must be so proud of her!

You're feeding your mare just fine. Once she stops nursing, you can likely discontinue the canola oil, since her calorie needs will significantly decrease.

The only way to completely dry her up is to separate them 24/7. Your filly is only 6 months old and in my opinion, there isn't any hurry to do it immediately (unless you're trying to sell the filly). So, I would suggest that you continue to separate them for longer and longer periods of time, but do it very slowly to reduce stress. Stressful weaning has been shown, in study and after study, that it leads to bad behaviors and habits when the youngsters grow into adulthood.

I am more inclined to let nature take its course and let the mare wean her filly on her own, which she will eventually do. So, trust your instincts on this and see how stressed your filly is with the separation. If you have another youngster to keep her company, that, of course, would be ideal.

Keep me posted!!!

Best regards,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, Colorado