A long checklist of items must be addressed prior to breeding a mare: sire selection, breeding soundness examination, vaccination and deworming review, and assessment of body weight and nutritional status.
Foals are far more susceptible to post-separation problems during the weaning process than their dams. Most mares accept weaning with aplomb, but careful attention should be paid to them in case other concerns arise.
As a mare's pregnancy advances to the last three or four months owners should re-evaluate feeding strategies to support the upswing in energy and other nutrients necessary for rapid growth of the fetus.
Foals require a sufficient volume of high-quality colostrum within the first hours of life because they lack infection-fighting antibodies at birth.
Feeding each stallion as an individual is important. The stallion's book (number of mares served during the breeding season), age, behavior, body condition, general health, handling routine, and level of free or forced exercise all impact how he should be fed.
A mare’s colostrum or first milk is the most important meal your foal will likely ever have. Isn’t all colostrum created equally, though? Simple answer: no. But how can you reliably gauge colostrum quality?
Broodmares must have their nutritional needs met in order to produce healthy, well-grown foals. Fetal development is slow in the early stages but greatly accelerates in the last trimester when growth speeds up.
Feeding broodmares appropriately during gestation and keeping them in optimal body condition, not too fat or thin, during pregnancy play important roles in the quality of colostrum. Foals depend on colostrum rich in infection-fighting antibodies to thrive in the first days of life.
Mares are often housed individually with extra exposure to light to advance the breeding season. In such circumstances, mares might only be fed one or two meals daily—in sufficient quantities to meet their daily dietary requirements—rather than having access to forage most of the day as they would while on pasture.
Among all domestic animals, horses have the shortest period between parturition and rebreeding. This means mares are often lactating and gestating simultaneously. How do you know your mare is getting everything she needs for herself, her newborn foal, and her growing fetus?
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