For the milking, it is necessary that the mares have a foal.
It’s a careful stage with many difficulties because unlike cows, horses aren’t bred to produce milk : so their production capacity is limited.
And how can such rustic and wild mares accept to be milked ?
Confidence is the key !
As a matter of fact, the milking requires much dexterity and a truthful relation between the mare and the person in charge of the milking.
Mares are very sensitive animals that can be easily disturbed by their environment or their foal not being present and it can cause the milk drying up in only a few days.
The breeding conditions and great care given to the mares are fundamental for the production of good quality milk. The natural breeding in herds is therefore recommended : it’s a suitable way of breeding for these animals.
These mares with salt coat and flax hair are not locked up for the milking. They remain outside, in the shadow of the trees, or under the sun rays, with a little wind, they just decide. But they must always feel free. The foals are separated from them but in a field which is not far away. They can see each other, smell each other, call each other and gallop freely.
The mares are milked twice a day (every 3 hours), one after the other, where they can have access to a bucket of barley so that the relation between the mare and the person in charge of the milking is well created.
The mares are then freed with their foals until the following day. For us the foal remains the first consumer of milk.
The milking, which is made by hand, will only start when foals are two-months old, that is to say when they can feed themselves. The mares will then be milked for six months.