- 28th August 2019 by Rowen Barbary
Nutrient Requirements of the Weanling
At the time of weaning the foal should be receiving sufficient nutrients from a stud ration to maintain weight and consistent growth when the milk supply is removed. Weanlings cannot be fed low energy bulky feed because their digestive tracts are not large enough, instead they need concentrated sources of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to meet their nutrient requirements.
The main concerns at this stage of the weanling’s development are the need to provide a concentrate ration to balance the forage given and to ensure that the nutrient intake is sufficient for individual growth. Weaned foals should be fed good quality forage, have ad-lib access to good quality hay and should be fed concentrates to help meet their energy requirements
By using a nutrient dense Stud Mix which is balanced to provide the correct nutrient levels it is possible to create the optimum dietary balance to promote skeletal development and encourage consistent daily weight gain, reducing the risk of skeletal defects.
Not all foals grow at the same rate as breed, sex, body condition and genetics can influence growth rate and therefore the level of nutrients required. Provision of sufficient nutrients for muscular development and conversion of cartilage to bone is essential. Managing growth during this time is very important because excessive weight gain may cause bone abnormalities and long lasting skeletal problems.
As the yearling reaches 12 months of age it is seen how the growth rate slows considerable and now they need lower nutrient concentrations in their ration and increased forage. By the time they are 18 months of age their growth rates have slowed even further, so fewer nutrients are required to support tissue growth but it is important that a balanced diet is still maintained.