Microminerals include cobalt, copper, iron, iodine, manganese, selenium and zinc. A weanling will do well with company, such as other weanlings, an older, sedate horse, or even a calf or donkey. Good-quality forage is essential, with the best forage being well-tended pasture or early-maturity hay.
In addition to being separated from their dams, milk becomes completely absent from the diet. This condition actually occurs when the bone and cartilage in the joints of a young horse form incorrectly, causing the cartilage at the end of the bone to separate.
If mares and foals are to be fed together, they must all eat a feed that is balanced to support foal growth, such as the Purina feeds mentioned previously.
When mares and foals are fed together, it is important that the mares and foals be sorted according to age of the foal and body condition of the mare. A calcium to phosphorus ratio of at least 1: The NRC notes that "phosphorus absorption is assumed to be higher by foals consuming milk than it is in mature horses," though it is suggested that "creep feed be fed to nursing foals, as milk may be insufficient in phosphorus as well as in calcium for optimal growth of foals.
As growing foals are accreting bone, they are in positive calcium balance. Also, foals must be grouped by age and fed amounts appropriate for their age.
Next Minerals, though they make up only a small percentage of the equine diet, are critical — especially for the health of foals.
Jack advises that supplementing the foal with well-balanced vitamins and minerals will lead to healthy growth patterns with strong bones, joints and connective tissues. Macrominerals Calcium is among the most essential minerals for foals, comprising about 35 percent of equine bone and teeth and contributing to muscle contraction, blood coagulation, the function of cell membranes and regulation of enzymes, such as stomach gastrin.
Following weaning, foals must acquire all of their nutrition from forage and a concentrate. Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Phosphorus makes up to 17 percent of bone and is necessary for energy transfer ATP and ADP and for synthesis of phospholipids, nucleic acids and phosphoproteins.
Therefore, it is important for foal development that the mare be fed adequate supplemental feeding to support the tremendous demands of lactation. Nutritional Support for the Lactating Mare and Growing Foal Lactating mares, newborns and weanlings have special nutritional needs.
Foals on high-quality pasture often do well on balancer pellets. All this is evidence of the interaction between minerals.
In this manner, each mare and foal receives exactly the amount of feed they need. Obviously, a tremendous amount of development has taken place during gestation. Ideally, foals should grow at a steady pace, avoiding spurts and lapses, but weaning can throw a wrench in the works.
Remember, horses are herd animals with social needs. This development is made up primarily of protein and minerals, along with water, and this had to be supplied through the mare.
Aim for steady, consistent growth, avoiding sharp accelerations or slowdowns. New to the Paulick Report? However, overfeeding the foal with excess protein and energy in an attempt to increase vitamin and mineral content can be a mistake, as the excess protein and energy can cause a too-rapid growth spurt, which can ultimately stress the bones, joints and connective tissues.
Even if the diet is adequate in calcium, excessive phosphorus may lead to skeletal abnormalities. It is also important that the feed troughs are at a height the foal can comfortably reach, and there must be plenty of space available for all mares and foals to get to the troughs and eat at the same time.
Two to three weeks before weaning, begin increasing the amount of grain offered to the foal, but no more than 1 percent of body weight. According to the NRCusing the proper estimate for endogenous phosphorus losses, a kg foal requires This is especially true when the mare is an exceptionally good milker.
Once the foal is born, nutrition of the mare still impacts his health and development. A good foal feed should contain very high quality protein to supply essential amino acids, such as lysine, and be adequately fortified with the proper balance of vitamins and minerals.
Foals fed excessive levels of phosphorus showed severe lesions of osteochondrosis. Average-sized mares will produce 20 to 40 pounds of milk per day during the first three months of lactation, and 20 pounds during the later lactation period. Often the foal and dam can consume the same concentrate at this stage, which is why most foals do well by sharing with their dams.
Nutritional management of the mare during the last three months of pregnancy has a significant impact on the health of the newborn foal. Higher dietary concentration of calcium decreases absorption; increased magnesium increases calcium absorption; while, competitively, higher dietary phosphorus decreases calcium absorption.
Otherwise, some mares and foals will get more than they need and others will not get enough. For this reason, be cognizant of appetite during the weaning process.In addition, creep feeding and pasture intake provide some of a foal's early nutrition.
Most foals begin to eat solid feedstuffs within weeks of birth. According to the National Research Council's (NRC) Nutrient Requirements of Horses (), 1-week old foals spend only about 8 per cent of the day eating grain/hay/pasture, but by 21 weeks spend about 50 per cent of daylight hours eating solid feeds.
During the first two to three months of the foal’s life, the primary nutrition source is mare’s milk. Mares produce an incredible amount of milk, 3 – 4% of their body weight each day. Therefore, it is important for foal development that the mare be fed adequate supplemental feeding to support the tremendous demands of lactation.
When your mare is in foal, your main focus becomes nutrition to support optimal health during gestation and lactation, and the first several months of the foal's life.
Improper nutrition during these key phases of development can have repercussions for the mare and foal for the rest of their lives.
Weaning is a time of major transition for foals, both nutritionally and psychologically. In addition to being separated from their dams, milk becomes completely absent from the diet. Following weaning, foals must acquire all of their nutrition from forage and a concentrate.
Enteral nutrition is superior to parenteral nutrition because it is the most natural and physiologically sound means to provide nutritional support.
Parenteral nutrition may be warranted if the foal is unable to receive or tolerate enteral nutrition. Recent research also shows that the health of offspring of overweight mares may also be compromised. Studies show, for example, that excess maternal nutrition during pregnancy can alter glucose and lipid (fat) metabolism in foals until days of age, and another study reported a higher incidence of osteochondrosis (OC) in foals born to dams that were fed concentrates during gestation rather than .Download