Feeding horses can be considered an art, with much information passed down through generations and a host of research providing nutritional advances. Feeding a mare in foal can be somewhat more challenging as during pregnancy significant changes to the body occur, often resulting in your broodmares nutritional requirements to skyrocket. A broodmares feeding programme should be divided into three stages as whilst mares should be fed a quality maintenance diet for the first half of their pregnancy, a maintenance feeding program just 'won’t cut it' after the mid-way point of the pregnancy. It is important to bear in mind that the last trimester of a mare’s pregnancy is when 60% of foetal growth occurs and the mare's energy requirements will increase by around 20%. Mares should be at about a body condition score of 6 (on a 9-point scale) when they foal so that they have sufficient energy reserves for early lactation as well as to maintain condition. Scientific Nutritional Products advises horse owners to view feeding the mare during her pregnancy as a nutritional journey and have a plan in place for increasing or altering her feed as pregnancy develops. It is also always important to bear in mind that even with the 'best laid plans' equines are individuals and you may need to deviate from your plan along the way. Five Top Tips from Scientific Nutritional Products for Feeding the Broodmare 1.) Pregnant mares should have a high-forage diet and should not be overfed starch, or allowed to become underweight or significantly overweight. 2.) During the third trimester the foetus accumulates stores of minerals to support rapid growth post parturition. It is therefore important to ensure that the mare receives a balanced diet with respect to vitamins and minerals in addition to providing good quality protein and meeting energy requirements. 3.) Good quality pasture or forage may provide sufficient energy through gestation, but might not provide adequate amino acids and minerals. A supplement such as Competition Horse Supplement from Scientific Nutritional Products can provide a ration balancer to provide the missing nutrients. Not every horse requires a stud feed; particularly if the mare is a good doer and feeding lower quantities of this type of feed to avoid weight gain may not reach the broodmares nutrient requirements. 4.) Fresh clean water and free choice salt should also be available at all times. 5.) The mare should also be vaccinated properly before foaling so that her colostrum, the rich first milk, contains antibodies to protect the foal. Correct nutrition will also help immune response to vaccinations and help the mare recover from birth. Competition Horse Supplement is ideal for broodmares in order to reach their increased need for nutrients, containing over 30 essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, phosphorus and selenium, Vitamin E, A and D. Competition Horse Supplement can naturally balance the feed offering increased nutritional value and allowing good doers to having to provide excessive ration quantities of feed or boost the nutritional content of feed for those equines that are underweight or in need. Vitamin E in combination with selenium can have many added benefits to the pregnant mare and her unborn foal. Vitamin E is one of the most important, yet often overlooked vitamins, and it is present in good quantity in green grass and well-cured hay. Grains often have added vitamin E, but as they sit in storage, the vitamin E is often lost. For more information about Competition Horse Supplement visit the website www.horsesupplementdirect.com or to receive one-to-one specific advice for your horse telephone nutritional expert at Scientific Nutritional Products Peter Fishpool on Tel: 01377 254900
Feeding the Broodmare
Posted by Tom Gatenby on 03 April, 2018
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