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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2007
    Location
    Oakdale, CA
    Posts
    17

    Default Lactation, what do you feed

    to keep good body condition on your mares? Do you start the foals on the same feed?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    Ideally the nursing mamas are on grass (I try to get foals no earlier than May!) and they get in addition to pasture a generous amount of orchard hay, my normal ration balancer but a good healthy amount (3+ pounds for a full sized mare) and alfalfa pellets. If the mare had trouble keeping weight on during the pregnancy I will also use rice bran or oil for extra calories.

    Foals don't get solid food of their own until they're at least six weeks old, but I don't stop them from poaching out of mama's feed tub. When they get their "own" meals I like a foal starter ration.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,765

    Default

    My N=1 experience:

    foaled in March, so not a lot of grass here yet. She had been on 5lb of TC Growth, plus several pounds of a combination of beet pulp and alfalfa pellets, and about 2lb Progressive Grass Balancer. I was trying to find a good balance between what she liked, how much she would eat at a given time, and getting enough nutrition into her. If I tried to feed all her calories with TC Growth, she simply would not eat that volume, so the Progressive made up for the nutrition. She LOVES soaked beet pulp, so I added that to every meal to make her clean her bucket.

    I started my foal on Progressive's Foal's First Starter Feed, and when he turned 4 months I think, maybe 5? he started on the Grass Balancer as well.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2009
    Location
    Alberta's bread basket
    Posts
    1,598

    Default

    You'd get better responses posting in the breeding forum, but as a breeder, I feed what depends on the mare.

    Mares who are lactating need to eat nonstop. She should be getting free choice mixed hay, heavy on the alfalfa side (50%) as a mare with a newborn is lactating enormous volumes of milk and she needs the calcium or she will rob it from her skeletal structure. Additionally, if there is any grass available in your area, she needs that, but even still always supply the alfalfa hay. I find mares on grass always come in to the paddock to feed off the hay for a while regardless of how lush the grass is.

    On top of this, for sure, she gets broodmare kibble because it is formulated to be nutritionally complete and balanced for the unique needs of a mare in the latter stages of pregnancy and/or lactating. How many pounds of this depends on how well she is keeping a good body score. You want her condition to be not grossly fat, but you definitely want a goodly covering of flesh over the ribs. They go through enormous calories supplying milk to their foals.

    You can also supply a bucket of free choice minerals in a sheltered location too. Some mares nibble on these quite readily.

    Once she has been lactating about 3 months her milk production starts to slow down and you can cut back on the kibble a bit, and start reducing the percentage of alfalfa; but maintain the hay and grass as free choice status until weaning. Once you wean, you can eliminate all grain/kibble and change the hay over to a grass mix, or if she's pregnant a grass mix with about 10% alfalfa in it at a normal-horse feeding regimen.

    Because I feed by weight (not volume), I always buy my hay types separate - mixed grass/timothy and a different load of pure lucerne (alfalfa), and I feed it accordingly so that I can gradually reduce the lucerne as we get closer to weaning. For me it works better and it's more accurate than trying to find several different alfalfa/grass percentage mixes.But if you don't have any dairy hay producers (which is pure alfalfa) in your area, then you make do with the mixed lucerne/grass hay as however you can get it and this is where your broodmare kibble can help fill in any gaps. Hope this helps!
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,848

    Default

    I feed free choice grass hay, and 3-4 flakes of Alfalfa per day for lactating mares (I don't have grass). They also get about 8lbs of Nutrena Mare + Foal, 3lbs beet pulp, 3lbs rice bran, 6lbs hay pellets (in my area, it's Elk Grove Milling). Free choice salt blocks (trace mineral + plain salt) are also important.
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