Orphaned foals: From Milk to Grain

mixing foal milkThis photo shows how I have spent much of my time since adopting Presto and Justice. There are three things to notice here:

#1- my right hand is mixing the foal milk (click for video)

#2-my left hand is putting away my cell phone (I was probably Snapchatting)

#3-the dog is circling around hoping I spill some milk (dogs, chickens, everyone loves this stuff)

Thankfully the end of the milk stage is in sight! I don’t mind mixing the milk (I think it smells like cake batter ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery) but I am excited about seeing their appetites for hay, grain and grass increasing. It means they are healthy and growing.

Along with the milk they have been given free choice foal pellets. The pellets are labeled for use from two weeks to three months of age and contain every thing the foals need in a pellet form. At first the boys ate between 1-2 pounds per day. The minimum they should eat is 1 pound per 100 pounds of foal. As they have grown, so have their appetites and they are now willing to consume almost as much as you are willing to give them. I contacted the company to be sure ‘free choice’ was ‘free choice’ as they were eating A LOT, around 12-15 pounds a day between the two of them. I was told that if they pass 3% of their body weight I could consider limiting it. Good news for the foals is that means a 300 pound foal could eat 9 pounds. These guys can really eat! They are clearly hitting the minimum of 1% body weight. 

milk faceThey have eaten out of buckets for the majority of their lives and if you put it in a bucket they will check it out. Hay in a bucket=yum. Hay on the ground…not so much. The funniest part about this is when I put them out where there is grass. If I pick grass and put it in the bucket they dive in…while standing on grass. Justice has discovered that grass seems to be everywhere (although he likes it when I do the work of picking it) but it took Presto longer. He would just stand waiting for me to refill the bucket. He has finally noticed it seems to be on the ground too. 

The nice thing about where we are right now is that nothing is wasted. The dogs are on standby to clean up any spilled milk and the chickens hang out under the grain feeder. Presto hasn’t quite figured out that keeping his lips closed while chewing makes the whole system work better. 

Up next we have clipping and leading. Justice has a hair coat fit for Antarctica and now that I have my pretty halters that you guys picked out I am ready to teach them to lead. 

Let the adventure continue!


  1. Elizabeth on August 25, 2016 at 1:27 am

    So sweet and what lucky babies.

  2. Valerie on July 12, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Love your updates!!! I tried to learn snapchat but I’m not catching on! I need a youngin to show me!

  3. Martina Braden on July 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you for all the updates. Every evening I look forward to reading your blog. Randi and I are thinking about adopting a couple next year, therefore all this information is so helpful.

  4. Kathy on June 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I’m finding by reading you adventures l am learning new things an makes me want to adopt a baby.

  5. Laurie Hall on June 29, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I just love the updates and insights that you give. Imitation is a huge part of any species. Guess horses are no different. Exploring the world through their eyes is very cool. Thank you.

  6. Kendall on June 29, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Hey Stacy! I love seeing the updates on the babies! But I was hoping you could help me with an issue I’m having with my two geldings. They are so buddy sour. I only have the two horses and they live in the same paddock together. Right now it isn’t possible to separate them into different living spaces, so I need another solution. I work for a rodeo company pushing out the timed event cattle, and I feel like they aren’t even paying attention half of the time because they are too busy nickering at each other, trying to leave (not very forcefully but they do see if they can get away with it sometimes and I feel like they’re thinking about it quite often), and even paw at the ground if they’re standing alone. Other than this being extremely annoying, it makes it very hard to do my job.

    I saw someones training video where you ride one horse on a loose rein and every time they try to go back to the other horse you put pressure on until they decide to move away from that horse and you take the pressure off, essientially teaching them that being around that other horse equals work. I tried this before but we didn’t really have much time and there were other people and horses around which made it difficult. Also they didn’t say what to do if the horse tries to run themselves or you into the other horse or something else, or if the horse runs up to the other one and stops. In that situation I feel you have to pick up the reins, but I don’t want to do this the wrong way. If you have a different method I would love to hear it! I’ll try just about anything to fix this.

    Sorry if this is too long, but I could seriously use some help if you have any to offer!

  7. Deborah on June 28, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing the progress of the foals. I LOVE reading your updates!

  8. Denise on June 28, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Love reading your updates and comments. I hope that one day i can adopt a pair and your experience will help a lot! Keep up the great work, and I look forward to watching then grow and mature.

  9. rob on June 28, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Funny you mention the grass and bucket thing. We adopted a horse years ago that had been raised for 2 years in a pen with buckets for water and feed. We turned him out with the ranch horses in about a 300 acre field mixed rangeland and irrigated pasture, and a nice ditch to drink from. I noticed after a couple days he was standing with his head down by himself. He had not eaten nor drank any water. It was an eye opener for me. Who’d of “thunk” a horse wouldn’t graze or drink fresh water?

    • Stacy Westfall on June 28, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      I just had a horse a couple weeks ago that I turned out in a large pasture with a pond and a stream. He kept coming in REALLY thirsty. Finally I took a lunge line and sent him into the pond. Thankfully I was video taping…you can actually see him touch it with his nose and then look up like,’Wow…this is ALL WATER?!”
      Now he comes in and doesn’t guzzle water…poor guy thought I hadn’t given him anything to drink and he had a whole pond!

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