Spring Babies Part 1: Feeding The Pregnant Mare

It’s winter, and that means if you have a pregnant mare, she’s pretty pregnant right now!  She’ll have her foal in the fast approaching spring.  As you get everything ready for baby’s arrival, don’t forget the importance of nutrition.  Your mare is supporting a rapidly growing foal in her belly, and you want to make sure they both get the nutrition they need to help maintain good health.  Now would be a great time to introduce Integrity Mare & Foal in to your mare’s diet.

In Part One of this blog, we’ve mapped out the 3 stages of your mare’s pregnancy.  In each stage, the foal is growing at different rates, and your mare’s nutritional needs will change based on the size of the foal.

To make things simple, let’s use a 1000-pound mare as our example.

Conception – 4 months

  • Your mare is not “eating for two”!
    • The most common mistake is overfeeding at this early stage of pregnancy.
  • Keep her Body Condition Score between a 5.5 and 7.
    • Moderately fleshy – ribs cannot be seen but can be easily felt.
  • If her BCS is within range, feed your mare as you already have been, which is based on her workload (maintenance, light work, moderate work, performance).
  • As with any horse, feed about 1.5 – 2% of her body weight in forage each day.
  • During this stage, the foal weighs less than 5 pounds.

5 – 7 months

  • There are not significant changes until the end of this stage.
  • Continue to evaluate your mare’s Body Condition Score, and feed her appropriately to maintain a score of 5.5 to 7.
  • At 7th month of gestation, the foal is less than 2% of the mare’s body weight and only 10-15% of its birthweight
    • On our 1000-pound mare, this foal would weigh 10 – 15 pounds

8 months – Foaling

  • 80% of the foal’s growth occurs in the last 4 months of gestation.
  • The mare’s energy requirement doesn’t change much, but her nutrient requirements change significantly.
  • Introduce Integrity Mare & Foal around the 8th month.
    • High quality proteins with adequate Lysine levels, an amino acid required for tissue growth
    • Calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium
    • Vitamins A, D, E, and K
    • Balanced formula that delivers the correct levels of each nutrient
  • Your mare will gain 12-15% body weight in total, with 65% of the weight gained in the final 100 days of pregnancy.
    • This is about 120 – 150 pounds, with almost 1 pound gained per day!
  • At birth, your foal will weigh about 90 pounds!

Lactating – Weaning

  • Your mare’s energy requirements skyrocket overnight! They will actually double what they were during early pregnancy.
  • Lactating mares have the highest energy requirements of any workload or life stage for horses.
  • She is a milk factory – producing up to 4 gallons of milk per day!
  • She will require 3 – 4% of her body weight in daily feed
  • Offer high quality forage, free choice
  • Feed her Integrity Mare & Foal at 1/2—1 pound per 100 pounds of her body weight
  • For the first 2 months of its life, your mare is supplying 100% of the nutrition to your rapidly growing foal
    • Your foal will grow about 2—4 pounds per day!
  • After weaning your foal at around 4—6 months, transition your mare back to her regular feeding program appropriate to her workload.

If you have any questions, ask an expert!  Speak with your trusted equine veterinarian, or contact Dr. Bray through our website.

Watch out for Part 2 on how to feed your new foal!

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