- 10th February 2022 by Rowen Barbary
Caring for the Mare in-foal
Early Gestation (Up to 4 months)
During early gestation, the mare's dietary requirements are not too different from an adult horse in good condition. As with any horse, it is important that the mare is fed a well balanced diet in relation to her body condition and work to ensure a healthy pregnancy and foal. In the first six months of pregnancy, good quality fibre sources either through grazing/hay/haylage and a high fibre feed such as Rowen Barbary Forage 'n' Fibre is usually sufficient to meet the mare’s requirements.
Mid Gestation (Up to 8 months)
During mid-pregnancy, the nutritional requirements do not greatly vary from the first trimester. It is important to body condition score your mare throughout her pregnancy to monitor any weight changes. If the mare is starting to drop off and she is on a well balanced diet and good quality fibre it is important to get her weight back on track before the last trimester when the foetus has the most rapid growth and nutritional demand from the mare.
Late Gestation (Up to Birth)
In the last trimester of pregnancy, the mare’s nutrient requirements will increase by 28% in order to support the rapid increase in the size of the foetus. At this stage a stud mix should be introduced to help meet the mares increasing requirements. If during the last trimester your mare has dropped off, she requires more calories in order to provide for the foetus and to maintain her own condition. If she has lost a lot of condition it can prolong the pregnancy and reduce the reduced colostrum quality. Alternatively if your mare is overweight it can put added pressure on the mare during late pregnancy, increase the risk of laminitis and potentially lead to problems during foaling.
Protein, Vitamins and Minerals
Protein can affect the ability of the foals to absorb essential anti-bodies from the colostrum. The mare may not produce enough milk and result in smaller foals. It is recommended the mare receives a concentrate ration with a protein level between 13% and 16% to support foetal growth from mid pregnancy until after lactation. This ensures good quality colostrum is provided during the birth of the foal as well plenty of milk production up to the time of weaning.
A balanced diet of vitamins and minerals are crucial for the last trimester. The foetus stores minerals to support the final rapid growth before birth. The minerals such as Calcium and Phosphorus are necessary for foetal bone development and should be supplied in a 2:1 ration. The foetus stores the minerals during the second trimester, as the mares milk is low in these minerals. Any Broodmares over the age of 16, may need additional protein and calcium during pregnancy and during lactation as older horses do not absorb the nutrients as efficiently.
Final Month of Pregnancy
during the last month of pregnancy, the mare has a reduced appetite due to the size of the foetus. The mare may begin to reduce her intake of hay/haylage she is consuming and therefore it is important to find a nutrient dense feed to ensure the protein and energy requirements are being met.
Rowen Barbary Stud Mix is a palatable, nutrient dense mix produced to a high specification to meet the extra requirements of broodmares with the correct proportions of energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium required during late pregnancy. By using a nutrient dense mix this will help meet the mare’s requirements even when she starts to lose her appetite.
Using highly digestible ingredients that are balanced to provide concentrated sources of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals Rowen Barbary Stud Mix is especially formulated to meet the higher nutritional demands of broodmares during pregnancy and lactation. The Stud Mix is multi-purpose and can also be used to wean the foals on to as well as support youngstock up to 2 years old.
Eleanor Blinkhorn (Bsc) | Equine Nutritionist