How I Prepare a Weanling for Winter
Updated: May 10, 2022
The other day I shared a post about needing to blanket Oliver because our weather went from the high 90s to the low 40s over night and was windy and raining. Oliver was body clipped a few weeks ago and has no hair, was standing hunched and shivering, so I blanketed him. I also shared how I feed a weanling to prepare them for winter. And watched as people lost their minds and started to preach to me about I'm doing it all wrong. As usual! LOL! I guess that's what I get for sharing things there. To be honest it makes me not want to share anymore. But instead I think I'll just delete those comments that come across as rude and move on. I'm going to share what I wrote here in case any of my blog readers are wondering how I prepare a weanling for winter. You can agree or we can agree to disagree. It's all fine with me! Just please don't message me, call me or comment below about how wrong I am for what I am doing, and have done for many many years.
"It's a cold one today. Windy and spitting rain now and then. I'm wearing long sleeves, a heavy hoodie and wool socks! So it was definitely time to blanket Oliver, who was body clipped a couple of weeks ago because 5 hours to the north of us it's been super hot! (Montana weather is so WHACK!)
This leads me to a question I was asked yesterday... How do I prepare a weanling for winter? Should I blanket it? Give it grain to fatten it up?
If you know my well, you'll know I said a big NO to grain. I am feeding Oliver all the hay he can eat, and supplementing with alfalfa/timothy hay pellets topped with the soybean meal.
Once Oliver can be in with Zorro and Sky I will separate him for some hours every day (or maybe at night if it doesn't stress him) and give him access to more hay. I want him to have a little excess weight but not be fat for winter.
As for blanketing. That is a tricky one, as there isn't a black and white, yes or no answer. Because Oliver was clipped I'll need to blanket him on and off as the weather starts to get cold and wet. But hopefully once he can be in with the others they will share some body heat and he won't need a blanket very often.
Blanketing a pony at this time of year can interfere with their natural ability to grow a winter coat. With the daylight starting to change, as the days grow shorter, they are beginning to grow a significant amount of their winter coat. Sky and Zorro are well started! Especially Sky.
I hate to have to blanket Oliver when his body is wanting to grow hair, but I also hate to see such a little baby shivering. If it was just windy and cold that's one thing, but when it's windy and wet and cold that's a different story! So the blanket went on today.
And a side note: He was so great for the blanket. I put it on him without a halter and he just stood there like an old pro. Then when I was getting his breakfast he was cantering around the area with his little head tucked and bucking and bucking. So adorable! LOL! I wish I could have got my phone out in time to get a video."