Two-thirds of foal growth occurs during the last few months of gestation, which requires additional energy demands from the pregnant mare.
Increased energy demands are not only for the growth and development of the foal but also to support the production of milk during lactation. Additional calorie supplementation is recommended from month seven of gestation through the weaning.
Underweight pregnant mares are at risk of significant weight loss, fertility problems, and decrease milk and colostrum quality.
Tips for underweight pregnant mares:
1. Regular condition scoring – Monitor weight fluctuations and make appropriate management changes to avoid a significant drop in bodyweight. Ideally, weekly weight recordings via a scale alongside condition scoring will help to track weight more accurately.
2. Ad Lib forage – Providing free choice to high-quality forage if available, alternatively ensuring long periods of fasting are avoided and forage is provided at a minimum of 3% of bodyweight dry matter per day.
3. Fortified Feed – A suitable concentrate feed such as Bluegrass Stud mix or Stud cubes, help to provide correct energy, protein, vitamin, and mineral levels. These feeds contain high-quality cereals, flax oil, alfalfa, super fibres, and stabilised rice bran to support the extra energy demands.
4. Calorie Supplementation- Some mares may require additional calorie supplementation on top of the fortified feed and forage. Bluegrass products suitable include; Equi-Jewel (a stabilised rice bran), Turmash (conditioning mash), or Flax Plus (flax oil and stabilised rice bran balancer).
For more information or guidance on feeding breeding stock, contact our nutritional helpline