A recent study of broodmare fertility showed horses stay healthiest and most content when their feeding plan closely follows the natural pattern.
Though vitamin deficiencies often bear the blame for fertility issues in broodmares, energy balance is a far more likely nutrition-related reason for subpar reproductive performance. Appropriate body condition is one important factor in broodmare performance.
How do I feed a retired dressage mare that is now five months pregnant and that generally stays fat on little feed?
Broodmares turned out on good-quality pasture can usually meet their nutritional needs simply by grazing during this time. However, as the mare passes her fifth month of pregnancy, her need for some nutrients exceeds what she can get from grass or hay.
Recent research conducted in France showed that lactating saddle horse mares on good-quality pasture didn’t need to be fed grain to maintain their weight or their foals’ growth.
Be careful when using hay for bedding in broodmare stalls. Hay may contain endophyte-infected tall fescue, and mares that nibble their bedding could ingest enough toxin to cause serious problems during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Researchers recently measured the effect of mares’ consumption of organic or inorganic forms of selenium on levels of the mineral found in mares and foals.
To feed the broodmare correctly during early pregnancy, it is important to understand that the fetus does not grow at a constant rate throughout the entire 11 months of pregnancy. Fetal growth accelerates during the last months of gestation, making feeding changes in early pregnancy unnecessary.
Optimal nutrition of the stallion is necessary for high performance in the breeding shed. Take a closer look at the nutritional requirements of stallions during the breeding season as the off season.
One of the most important nutrients to consider when feeding the broodmare is protein. During pregnancy and lactation, the broodmare uses a large amount of protein for either fetal growth or milk production.
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