There are a multitude of factors that should be considered when deciding to breed a mare. Some of these decisions may take careful consideration, such as which stallion you should use, while others will probably be quick and easy.
One such decision should be how to take nutritional care of your mare as she transitions from one trimester to another, but this doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Use the following 6 guidelines to keep your mare happy and healthy throughout her pregnancy and she is sure to deliver a nutritionally robust foal.
1. Body Condition Scoring
As the mare’s pregnancy advances she will inevitably gain weight, mostly in her abdomen, however key points of fat deposition should remain similar throughout the duration of her development. Ideally a pregnant mare should maintain a moderate to moderately fleshy body condition throughout pregnancy.
If your mare is displaying a body condition of 6 and above this will only add unnecessary weight to her limbs which could be difficult for some.
2. Provide Adequate Vitamins and Minerals
Your mare will require no special upgrade in calories during the first 7-8 months of her pregnancy, but she will require a sufficient intake of high-quality feed to maintain an adequate body condition.
As such, the primary feedstuff should be high-quality forage such as pasture or hay as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals can be delivered through a well-fortified textured or pelleted feed specially formulated for pregnant mares.
3. Don’t Overfeed
A common – albeit well-meaning – mistake amongst mare owners is overfeeding during the first 7-8 months of pregnancy. However this is entirely unnecessary and wasteful – rather use the money saved on online slots Canada – as the foetus does not grow at an even rate during pregnancy and most growth occurs in the final 3 months of pregnancy.
As such, the mare’s nutritional and energy requirements do not increase greatly until then. The most important pregnancy management tips are keeping the mare in a moderate to moderately fleshy body condition and supplying adequate vitamin and mineral nutrition.
4. Rethink Energy Levels in Late Pregnancy
Your mare’s energy requirements increase during the last 3-4 months of pregnancy as the foetus grows and it’s important to provide her with high-quality forage on a free-choice basis to add calories to her diet.
Gauge the necessary feed levels through weekly body condition scoring and remember that as the weight of the foetus and fluids increases, the abdomen will drop and gravity will sometimes cause the flesh to pull tightly around the abdomen, allowing a hint of rib to show.
5. Provide Water and Salt, Avoid Fescue
Your mare – as with all horses – should have free-choice access to fresh water and a salt block or loose salt at all times. However, one type of hay or pasture to avoid at all costs is fescue as it is often infected with an endophyte that causes problems in pregnant mares such as prolonged gestation, a lack of milk, and a trying delivery.
As such, it’s important that all bedding is free of fescue as well.
6. Get an Equine Nutritionist
The basics of feeding a pregnant mare are straightforward, but a situation may arise that will require the help of a professional.
As such, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with equine nutritionist in your area should you need one.