November's column in Farm Week newspaper focused on our tips on feeding broodmares in late pregnancy. If you missed the column in Farm Week, here it is again.
After seven months of gestation, the equine feotus begins to develop rapidly and the mare's nutrient requirements becomes significantly greater than early-pregnancy needs.
Energy requirements only increase by approximately 15 per cent during late pregnancy, but protein and mineral requirements increase to a greater extent because the feotal tissues being formed during this time, namely muscles and bones, are high in protein, calcium and phosphorus.
Trace mineral requirements are crucial during the later stages of pregnancy as the mare’s milk is quite low in iron, zinc, copper, and manganese, the feotus stores these elements in its liver for use during the first few months of its life.
These minerals are all provided in their correct quantities and ratios in Stamm 30, Bluegrass Stud Mix is fortified with Stamm 30. Vitamin A is critically important for the late pregnant mare, especially if the mare is maintained on hay alone without access to green pasture. The growth rate of the foals will be reduced significantly because the vitamin A content of hay that has been stored for weeks or months is reduced, again Stamm 30 is an excellent source of Vitamin A, as well as other key vitamins.
Selenium and vitamin E supplementation in late pregnancy will enhance immunity in both the mare and foal. Antibody levels are higher in the foals of mares receiving 3 mg of selenium and 1,600 IU of vitamin E each day compared with those receiving 1 mg/day of selenium and 800 IU of vitamin E/day. Selenium may also reduce the risk of retained afterbirth.
If you prefer to feed straight grains, oats are always the first choice for energy, together with adequate vitamin and mineral intake. Preferably, use a complete premixed feed, such as Bluegrass Stud mix or cubes or alternatively the feed balancer, Stamm 30, which contains appropriate levels of the Broodmares vitamin and mineral requirements.
Rates of feeding depend on the size and age of the mare. Warmblood and draught-breed mares in late pregnancy, particularly, often receive excess energy when they are fed a diet formulated to supply adequate protein and minerals to the developing foal. If the pregnant mare becomes fat during late pregnancy, the feed should be gradually changed to Stamm 30 which concentrates protein and minerals so that less can be fed each day.
Some mares may be able to continue on pasture alone with Stamm 30 being fed even in late pregnancy and not lose condition. Knowledge of the individual horse and her body condition are the guide to designing the feeding program.
The equine nutrition professionals at Kentucky Equine Research can help ensure the horse’s diet stays balanced, preventing problems such as weight loss and nutritional deficiencies.
- Our team are here to help you with further information or personalized diet plans. Please contact Bluegrass Horse Feeds on Tel: +44 (0) 28 3754 8276 or email email@example.com