The major growth of the foetal foal takes place during the last trimester of pregnancy lasting 3 to 4 months. Up until the eighth month of pregnancy the energy requirement only increases by around 10% and protein by 20%, over the maintenance level of a dry mare.
Between month eight and birth, energy requirement rises a further 16% and protein 18% and these increases are paralleled by similar increases in demand for other nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous and trace elements.
Providing adequate supplies all the essential nutrients during the phase of rapid foetal growth is critical in avoiding problems such as low birth weight, poorly developed immunity and Developmental Orthopaedic Disease ( D.O.D.) which has been shown to be present even before birth.
The mare will sacrifice her own nutritional status to provide for the foal, both before and after birth, so her health is also at risk if her nutritional needs are not fully met. Studies have shown that mineral supplementation of the mare following birth impacts positively on fertility and conception rate for the first two oestrus cycles after birth, so her ability to breed again after foaling is also impacted by good
Striking a balance is key and mares in late pregnancy should not be allowed to become over fat. Protein intake should be adequate at between 800g and 900 g per day for a 500kg mare in the last trimester, but overfeeding protein is detrimental because there is a metabolic cost in dealing with the excess.
Nutritionally, lactation is the most demanding phase of a horse’s life. Energy demand for a wet mare at peak lactation around three months is similar to that of a race horse in full work, and her protein requirement is around 50% higher.
Producing up to 18kg of milk per day is very hard work, especially if the mare’s nutritional reserves were depleted by poor nutrition during late pregnancy. As well as protein and energy she is pouring out minerals, vitamins and trace elements in her milk, so if these are not provided in the diet, her reserves will be depleted and her health may suffer.
THE GROWING FOAL
Good nutritional support during pregnancy will see the foal born with optimal body weight and a sound immune system, critical to its health and survival during the first few weeks.
Initially fully dependant on the mare’s milk, the foal will soon begin supplementing its nutritional income from supplementary feeds and forage.
Horsepower Mare & Foal provides Vitamins A, E and the water soluble B group vitamins along with high levels of essential trace elements. In addition to Iron, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium and Iodine, Mare & Foal also contains Zeolite as a source of bio available Silicon and is one of the only stud oriented feeds to do this.
Silicon is thought to improve the resilience of fibrous connective tissues like tendon and ligament and studies indicate that supplemented youngsters were less prone to damage in these vital structures.
Horsepower Mare and Foal has a proven track record over twenty years of use by owners and breeders but it is not a static product. As new research findings are taken on board at Horsepower, the product has been adjusted and improved.
Horsepower’s experience in the stud industry in Australia is coupled to product development and we have recently updated and refined this feed to make it even better.
The high levels of trace elements in particular are present in Mare and Foal because we recognise that Australian soils, pastures and cereal crops are often deficient in these essential nutrients.
Horsepower Mare and Foal will provide safely balanced supplementary nutrition covering all aspects of the pregnant broodmare’s needs and that of her offspring in most situations.
Feeding regimes and pasture quality along with the use of other supplementary feeds like cereal grains and forages, vary enormously between breeders and properties.
The “One Size Fits All” principal does not apply, so Horsepower has developed tools such as our Diet Analysis Program and Foal Growth Program to ensure the best possible outcomes for owners and breeders.
These are backed by a product range which can be tailored to individual needs along with equine vets and specialists in the business of breeding sound healthy horses. This expertise and experience is freely available to help provide you with the best possible nutrition for your own Mares and Foals.
For more information contact HORSEPOWER.
Toll free 1800 681 117 www.horsepower.com.au