A study is currently being conducted at Plymouth University, led by Catherine Williams, on weaning methods in the equine industry.

Williams said “Much research has been conducted in this area and, whilst many agree that the weaning process can be highly stressful none can decide on best practice.

“The aim of my research is to begin to set out some general guidelines regarding the ideal weaning method whilst limiting stress. It is intended that these will help to address any concerns over the welfare of the individuals involved.

“It is anticipated that the outcomes of this research will benefit both the foals at the time of weaning (considered one of the most stressful periods any animal goes through) but also later in life. The need to investigate the influence/s that humans (handlers, trainers) have on the on the young animal is being recognised and how these may impact on individuals for the rest of their lives.

“The initial part of the study is a short survey exploring the weaning methods used by breeders and the reasoning behind them. This will be followed by a behavioural study of various weaning methods.

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Tags: weaning,