Blog > May 2020 > Mare, foal and stallion care needs

Mare, foal and stallion care needs

May 11, 2020

CVA Feed Sales Manager, Brandi Salestrom

Looking at pictures of new foals and discussion around what stallion to breed to are always enjoyable when out visiting with customers and friends. Prior to breeding, we must keep in mind that a broodmare is not only needing to meet her own nutrient requirements but those of the foal. These needs will change with the mares stage of reproduction. There is research to prove that mares in a body condition score of 5.5-7 on a chart of 1-9, which is considered moderate to fleshy, maintain pregnancies better, cycle sooner, have higher pregnancy rates, and conceive earlier than thin mares. In the last three months of gestation, 60% of the unborn foal's growth occurs. For this reason, a feed program high in protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals is an important need.

After foaling, a lactating mares nutrient requirement will further change, especially with milk production. A heavy milking mare is going to have a higher calorie (energy) requirement as well as protein. The average mare producers 3-4% of her body weight in milk daily. Early after foaling, a mare's milk must be rich in calcium, phosphorus, protein, and energy. Milk production peaks at two months, and by three months after foaling, a mares milk supply will begin to slowly decrease, and their feed level requirements can be reevaluated to maintain a proper body condition. Changes in a mares feed program need to be done gradually over 7-10 days to reduce the incidence of colic. At this time, milk alone will not cover a growing foals nutritional needs, so this is time to feed a quality feed supplement providing high protein for essential amino acids and properly balanced vitamins and minerals. It is ideal to start this program prior to weaning. Intake will increase with age, but by week two, a foal will start showing interest and mimicking the behavior of the mare.

Finally, a subject close to my heart... stallion care. After many years working as a stallion manager, a quality feed and exercise program is critical to the success of getting mares breed and keeping body on a stallion. An ideal body condition for a stallion going into breeding season is 5.5 to 6, those stallions who are nervous or lose large amounts of weight can be at a 7. A body condition heavier than this may reduce libido and add additional strain to the joints. Consider all nutrients when developing a feed program for a stallion; any deficit or imbalance may decrease fertility. The more a stallion is collected or used to live cover mares, the higher their energy requirement will be, meaning each stud-horse will have a different feed need. Research with vitamins have proved to increase sperm density while decreasing abnormal sperm. Omega 3 Fatty acids have been a popular research project for stallions recently as well. Stallions sperm quality depends highly upon high concentrates of lipids or fats. The fats control function and response of sperm to cooling or freezing. Studies have confirmed that increasing Omega 3 fatty acids result in higher sperm quality and fertility. Lastly, daily exercise, whether its pasture time, turn out in a run, or my personal choice of riding through the cow-calf pairs, help to keep a stallions state of mind.

For more information on developing a feed program for your mare, foal or stallion, reach out to a member of our CVA Feed Sales team, and we would be happy to schedule a visit and get a plan put together.
Posted: 5/11/2020 9:21:39 PM by Kelli Reznicek | with 0 comments

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