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.
Gestational diabetes in humans is defined as high blood sugar that starts or is first diagnosed during pregnancy. A study was recently conducted to investigate insulin and glucose interactions in pregnant mares.
Is my pregnant Hanoverian getting sufficient minerals?
What do I feed my already-overweight pregnant mare during the last three months of gestation?
While research involving horses has been limited, studies in other species have indicated that fertility and semen characteristics can be improved by supplementation with various nutritional products, including products rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Proper nutrition of the mare during lactation ensures she produces sufficient quantities of nutrient-dense milk to her foal, and it keeps her in optimal body weight.
By understanding the mare’s nutrient needs during the three stages of the reproductive cycle, an appropriate and cost-effective feeding program can be designed.
Season of the year, workload, reproductive status, diet, and climate factor into the volume of water needed by a particular horse on a specific day.
Careful observation of the mare following weaning will help ensure her well-being.
Though every mare should be managed individually with her specific needs in mind, a few general recommendations can be made.
In foals, cribbing is often related to feeding schedule and composition of meals.
There are some considerations that need to be made before the nurse mare option is chosen to raise an orphan foal.
It is certainly possible to raise a healthy orphan foal, but particular care must be given to the changing nutritional needs of the foal.
Researchers studied whether gestating mares would be able to maintain weight with free-choice intake of alfalfa or timothy hay, and whether lactating mares could maintain weight with free-choice alfalfa hay.
While it is true that mares, particularly those that have had previous foals, tend to weather weaning more calmly than their foals, nutritional changes in mares should not be forgotten.
Researchers found that mares supplemented with arginine had a significant reduction in the amount of intrauterine fluid present and increased blood flow to the previously pregnant horn.
How the foal is fed following weaning often depends greatly on what is expected of it in the following months. In order for the weanling to achieve optimal growth, sufficient dietary energy must be supplied.
Many horse owners and managers know that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play important roles as precursors in the production of local hormones known as eicosanoids. But what about omega-9 fatty acids?
The nutritional requirements of lactating mares exceed those of almost all other classes of horses, primarily because mares produce 2-4% of their body weight in milk daily.
<p> Can you please provide information on the digestibility of the most popular cereal grains?</p>
The nutrition of the mare affects growth and development of the foal both in utero and via milk production.
<p> Can you help me determine why my broodmare is so itchy?</p>
Body condition of mares can affect reproductive efficiency, with those in at least moderate body condition more likely to conceive than thin mares.
Vitamins E and C are important antioxidants needed by sperm cells.
<p> What feeding precautions should be observed after a horse founders?</p>
Proper feeding of broodmares during pregnancy is an essential part of producing healthy foals.
Endophyte-infected tall fescue causes legions of problems, collectively called fescue toxicosis, in broodmares.
During the breeding season, the addition of energy-dense feeds, usually grains may be necessary to satisfy calorie requirements for the increased workload of breeding. No more than 0.75 pounds of grain per 100 pounds of body weight should be fed to a stallion per day, and no single meal should weigh more than five pounds.
Without a doubt, the nutritional status of mares is a critical component in foal health from the moment of conception and continues through weaning.
Problems associated with fescue are recognized among nutritionists and breeders alike.
Double conception in horses is not unusual, although birth of live, healthy twin foals does not happen with any regularity. One or both embryos are commonly absorbed by the mare early in pregnancy.
Although mare reproductive loss syndrome has not been a problem in recent years, researchers continue work to pinpoint the exact cause and devise protective management steps.
A study conducted on a Thoroughbred breeding farm showed that initial broodmare body weight averaged 1,272 pounds (577 kilograms), with an average weight of 1,448 pounds (657 kilograms) at the end of gestation.
When health records from 14 cloned foals produced at Texas A & M University between 2004 and 2008 were examined, it was noted that 6 of the 14 were normal at birth while 8 showed problems such as angular forelimb deformities, neonatal maladjustment syndrome ("dummy foals"), and enlarged umbilical remnants.
Every foal has to go through it; every owner admits to some worries about it; and almost everyone survives it. For something that happens every year, weaning never seems to take on the status of "just another day's work." Separating a foal from its dam is guaranteed to produce some anxiety in both animals.
<p> Could you suggest a change in management or a supplement that can help us stimulate heat in these mares?</p>
Vaccination with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a reproductive hormone, might decrease unwanted behavior in stallions and mares, researchers recently reported.
Intrauterine placement of marbles in pony mares did not change reproductive physiology or normal sexual or social behavior, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool.
Horses need to consume both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but the traditional equine diet tends to provide a skewed ratio of these compounds, minimizing the supply of omega-3s and oversupplying omega- 6s. Continuing research is revealing more information about the benefits of supplementing horses with omega-3 fatty acid to achieve a more nutritionally sound balance.
<p> How can I help my mare gain weight before breeding season?</p>
An aged broodmare sometimes requires an extra dash of diligence by caretakers and health-care professionals. Despite some misguided lore, it is possible for those grizzled, sunken backed doyennes of the broodmare band to be fleshy and in fine fettle during all phases of production.
Scientists are delving deeper into how certain fats help horses. Researchers have focused their attention on two distinct families of fatty acids: the omega-3 family and the omega-6 family.
Foals are generally weaned when they are somewhere between four and six months of age. Well before this time, young horses need to be eating grain regularly, deriving the majority of their nutrition from pasture and concentrates. One way to do this is by providing an enclosed feeding area in the pasture that allows foals to enter while excluding mares.
Most mare owners know the dangers of grazing late-pregnant mares on endophyte-infected tall fescue. The grass causes legions of problems, collectively called fescue toxicosis, in broodmares: prolonged gestation (as long as 13 to 14 months), foaling difficulties, thickened placentas (including "red bag" emergencies), and a decrease or complete absence of milk upon delivery.
<p> How can you ensure a mare produces high-quality milk for her foal?</p>
<p> How much milk does a mature mare produce? How does it compare to the daily output of a dairy cow?</p>
Lactating mares use energy, calcium, and phosphorus at a greatly increased rate.
Skean, completely exhausted, lay motionless on the floor, breathing deeply. Milk once again flowed from her udder. Meanwhile, the veterinarians resuscitated the foal and gave him a thorough once-over, declaring him healthy except for a few fractured ribs. Skean gently rolled onto her chest, folded her legs underneath her, and offered the softest, most endearing nicker any mare could possibly bestow.
Raising an orphan foal is a formidable task. Often nurse mares are difficult or impossible to acquire during emergency situations, and bottle-feeding an orphan foal requires a significant commitment of time and resources.
For mares with known or suspected fescue exposure, managers should be sure the foaling is attended and a veterinarian is available. This is recommended even if mares have been treated with domperidone or fluphenazine. The attendant may need to cut the thickened placenta or help the mare expel a very large foal that is several weeks overdue.
Temperament is certainly a factor in deciding which stallions make good candidates for shuttling, but it is only one small piece of the decision-making process. Bloodlines are a larger factor.
Weaning is a stressful time for foals and mares. While mares are often ready to say good-bye to their rambunctious, rowdy charges, foals can be far more fretful. As such, weaning rarely negatively impacts a mare. In fact, some mares may blossom and begin to flesh out once they are freed from the burden of milk production.
The ideal environment for a mare that is about to foal is a clean grass paddock where the mare can be observed with as little disruption as possible, but inclement weather or insufficient lighting can make this impractical.
<p> I was told by a stallion owner that my mare is “too fat” and won’t get pregnant at her present body weight. Can this be true?</p>