A research student is seeking input for a survey she is conducting into the differing weaning methods used within the equine industry.

Catherine Williams, who is studying for a masters degree at Plymouth University (Duchy College) in Cornwall, says much research has been conducted in this area and, while many agree the weaning process can be highly stressful, no one can decide on best practice.

She said: “The aim of my research is to begin to set out some general guidelines regarding the ideal weaning method while limiting stress. These will help address any concerns over the welfare of the individuals involved.

“It is anticipated 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 humans have 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 weaning methods.

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