For many horse managers, the goal of breeding season is to have last year’s open mares in foal and this year’s pregnant mares back in foal within a few days of foaling. What are the most important nutritional aspects of reproductively active horses?
In a study carried out at the University of Kentucky, different selenium sources and levels of dietary supplementation were evaluated to determine their effect on broodmares and their foals.
In mares, the majority of fetal growth occurs in the last three months of pregnancy. Because they do not have to support rapid fetal growth, mares in early pregnancy can be fed much like a horse at maintenance.
Stallion diets, like those of other horses, should be based on good-quality forage with concentrates added to supply sufficient energy for whatever work the horses are being asked to perform.
Embryo transfer (ET) is an important part of many breeding programs. Breeding managers consider the genetics of the donor mare and the stallion, but both nutrition and a “newer” field of genetics—called epigenetics—also greatly influence the growth and development of the foal.
I have a young Mustang mare with a foal at her side. She is underweight, but I don’t know what I should be feeding her. Please help.
There is some speculation that the physical presence of the maturing fetus decreases the volume of the intestinal tract, potentially decreasing overall dry matter intake.
A stallion’s fertility seems to have decreased at around the same time his diet changed. How can I get his feed tested?
The trace minerals copper and zinc are required for normal growth, development, and immune function in young horses. Nutrition of the mare during pregnancy and the young foal in the month after birth are also critical to proper development of weanling and yearling horses.
A recent study of broodmare fertility showed horses stay healthiest and most content when their feeding plan closely follows the natural pattern.
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