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Body condition for mare about to foal?

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  • Body condition for mare about to foal?

    I have a mare who is "due" in about a month. She has gotten absolutely huge, and has a normal amount of fat & muscle on her shoulders, neck, and hindquarters. But she is starting to look a touch ribby.

    She is my first broodmare, so not sure if this is normal? A couple months back, her topline sank a bit, I am sure from her being out of work and from the extra weight. This is not her first foal, so her back was already a touch dropped. But today I noticed that she is ever so slightly ribby. Could that be just from her belly pulling everythign down?

    She looks wonderful, with a nice coat, good attitude, and otherwise in good weight. I don't want to feed her too much, but I know she also needs to have enough calories to make milk.

    She is getting 3 scoops a day of a 14/7 pellet, half a scoop of a 30% ration balancer, plus a bit of flax, and 3 or 4 FAT flakes of good grass hay. We have no pasture to speak of, unfortunately. Just the way it is down here.

  • #2
    How much by weight of hay are you feeding? My mares in their last month are often eating a lot of hay. The harder keepers may eat 30 lbs of hay a day, and sometimes they get 5 to 10 lbs of soaked Alfalfa hay cubes too. I don't like to foal a fat mare, but I don't like them dropping much either.

    Comment


    • #3
      My mares are also eating a ton of hay. The ugly truth is my mare's getting ready to deliver, or just delivered are eating 1/2 bale( 8 flakes) of VERY high quality grass/alfalfa mix per day. Here in Caifornia, it's costing between $15(if I'm really lucky) and $17 per bale. This is by no means an exaggeration. I've been paying this for AT LEAST the last 12 months. If somebody, here in CA. can find TOP quality hay for less, PLEASE pm me.

      My e
      Chris Misita
      www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
      To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
      Victor Hugo

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by misita View Post
        If somebody, here in CA. can find TOP quality hay for less, PLEASE pm me.
        OT but I would be thrilled with $15-17/bale! I'm paying $20-22/bale for top quality grass hay. Alfalfa is $17-19/bale.

        Comment


        • #5
          I gotta say.... the last 2 years, it's been lovely hay, but HOLY MOLY....where will this price stop?

          But back to the question of the thin mare, I always go to the quality of my hay and feeding lots of VERY good quality hay. I do as much pasture as possible. I also turn to wet beet pulp, rice bran, and corn oil when all else fails.
          Last edited by misita; Feb. 24, 2008, 12:51 AM.
          Chris Misita
          www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
          To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
          Victor Hugo

          Comment


          • #6
            What size are your bales? Ours are 40 to 50 lb. and we are paying $8 to 10

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            • #7
              My bales are about 125 lbs. Just a few years ago they were around $10-12, maybe $15 at the priciest place. I have seen Timothy at $30/bale.

              My horses get as much as they will eat.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by spacely View Post
                My bales are about 125 lbs. I have seen Timothy at $30/bale.
                That is probably about 3 of our bales, so we are paying $24 to 30 for the same amount of timothy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ouch. I am buying absolutely lovely orchard grass and have no pasture grass. Everything is dirt here.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    OK, I'm going to be the odd man out and say I feed free choice hay, and the mares just don't have room enough to eat enough of it to keep their weight--granted, it's Northest-eastest Northeast grass hay...

                    As we get to the last 90 days I gradually start feeding more concentrate, until I am up to 2lbs of Ration Balancer, 8-12 lbs of grain (depends on what I'm using) broken up over two to three feedings, and an additional two to three feedings (or, more accurately, buckets just left to free choice like the hay) of beet pulp, alfalfa and oil.

                    I want to be able to feel ribs if I dig for them, but never see them. Loss of topline doesn't bother me terribly, especially in an old mare, but I like to go into foaling with plenty of 'reserves.' Up here she'll loose any extra soon enough with lactating. My best girl is an incredible milker and no matter what I do looks awful by the 4th and 5th months.

                    Without SEEING her, it *sounds* like she's loosing too much to the rapidly growing foals. Be sure she's getting enough protein too. Protein and the best, best minerals you can afford.
                    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                      What size are your bales? Ours are 40 to 50 lb. and we are paying $8 to 10
                      3 string bales at approx. 125 per bale. $15 ( if I'm lucky) to $17 per bale. The average for me is $16. I fight like heck if it' s more but it doesn't do any good. I have to pay it anyway.

                      One bale feeds 2 mares per day during her last days of pregnancy and then nursing. NOTE: this allows no waste at all. My mares are cleaning this up.

                      Pintopiaffe- My best mares are older mares and during the last months nursing, they're on free-range grass hay. They still get ribby. I jus give them lots of calories.

                      19 year old Fuerst Honour here with her 30 day foal. She will lose weight from here unless I'm very careful. She IS eating every ounce of 1/2 bale of TOP quality hay to maintain her condition. Any less and she would lose weight very fast.
                      Attached Files
                      Chris Misita
                      www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
                      To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
                      Victor Hugo

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hey Misita- My cousin just purchased a feed store in Nor Cal bay area, let me know if you are located around here. If so, I will give you his contact- He is giving a pretty good deal on grass - grass/alf mix and its wonderful quality!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dressage-ryder View Post
                          Hey Misita- My cousin just purchased a feed store in Nor Cal bay area, let me know if you are located around here. If so, I will give you his contact- He is giving a pretty good deal on grass - grass/alf mix and its wonderful quality!
                          I'm in Sonoma County but am very picky about my hay. It must be top quality. Most of my broodies are older mares and if my hay isn't top notch I have a problem very fast.
                          Chris Misita
                          www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
                          To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
                          Victor Hugo

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Where do you get your hay now? I have had excellent hay from him as well as Penngrove Hay and Grain.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Right now I'm buying a grass/alfalfa 65/35 % mix from the farm supply on Talmage Rd. in Ukiah. This hay is absolutely gorgeous with no stem and no waste. Bales are running about 125 lbs. My stallion Bravo is eating about 7 flakes a day. My broodies are eating about 4 flakes a day each at this time but they are also on full-time pasture. When the babies come, and the grass starts drying up, that's when the heavy hay usage starts.
                              Chris Misita
                              www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
                              To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
                              Victor Hugo

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My mare was in a different state when she had her first foal. She was in a huge field with about 5 other mares so there was plenty of grass but once winter set in she went downhill pretty fast. I know they fed a decent mare and foal feed but it was fed on the fenceline so I imagine she wasn't alpha enough to get her full ration. I brought her home three days after foaling and fed the hell out of her but never got her caught up. I ended up weaning the foal the day he turned four months old because she looked so bad.
                                This year I kept her home and brought her in the stall to eat. Her foal is three days old and the mare looks like she could go into the show ring tomorrow literally. The first baby looked really good, this baby looks incredible. There is obviously a correlation. I am hoping this translated to being able to wean at 5 possibly even 6 months, but I will let her tell me when its time.
                                McDowell Racing Stables

                                Home Away From Home

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                                • #17
                                  Nursing mares go down fast and they're almost impossible to get back up once they're down. But you must balance what mom is eating with what baby is getting. It's not enough to worry about making mom gain weight. OCD's are a real problem with warmbloods so make sure baby isn't getting more than HE needs while mom is getting what SHE does need. This is the balancing act.
                                  Chris Misita
                                  www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
                                  To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
                                  Victor Hugo

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                                    How much by weight of hay are you feeding? My mares in their last month are often eating a lot of hay. The harder keepers may eat 30 lbs of hay a day, and sometimes they get 5 to 10 lbs of soaked Alfalfa hay cubes too. I don't like to foal a fat mare, but I don't like them dropping much either.
                                    Why are you soaking your alfalfa cubes? When the weather turns very bad and I can't feed hay, because it all ends up in the mud, I always turn to alfalfa cubes. But I just feed them straight. I've been doing it for years without any trouble. I dont' feed this to my weanlings because I'm afraid they'll choke but my old horses just love alfalfa cubes.
                                    Chris Misita
                                    www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
                                    To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
                                    Victor Hugo

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I don't know what the bales weight, but I do know they are darned heavy, because I can barely lift them. I can drag them across the wooden hay loft to drop them down below, but I can't even drag them across the "grass". The stuff is excellent quality, and she gets about half a bale a day, fed in a feeder so there is little to no waste. She is very sedentary, and always has been, so shes not really burning anything due to exercise.

                                      I'm pretty sure she is getting enough protein, and her muscle tone hasn't faded one bit. I am feeding a TC ration balancer, and Nutrena feed

                                      I will run out tomorrow and get some alfalfa, and add that to her ration. She has always done much better on a higher protein diet, so I don't think the extra from the alfalfa will hurt her. She likes rice bran too, so if I can find any of that, I will add some of it.

                                      She is by no means thin, its really just in the last 2 days that I have noticed her looking a tad ribby. I certainly don't want her getting too thin on me.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Baby really starts to grow and suck calories in the last trimester. I slowly increase the mare feed here (hay and concentrates) to double her normal feed over the last trimester. As noted above, you don't want to start with a thin mare as nursing really pulls them down once the kid is born. I have honly had a problem with one mare because she was so uncomfortable at the end she was only picking at her food.
                                        Providence Farm
                                        http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

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