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Pregnant Mare Nutrition

You spend a lot of time and money on your horses, so it is important to give them the proper nutrition, especially when it comes to feeding pregnant mares. Proper feeding and nutrition in pregnant mares leads to the production of healthy foals. There are three important factors to consider when feeding and managing a broodmare - the first 2/3 of pregnancy, the last 1/3 of pregnancy, and lactation.

The First 2/3's of Pregnancy

The first 2/3's of pregnancy is the easiest on the broodmare. A mare should have a body condition score of at least 5 or more. Feeding varies, but a mares maintenance and activity level should determine how much they are fed during this time. This is equivalent to about 1% to 1½ % of body weight fed in hay or equivalent fiber source plus sufficient grain concentrate to maintain weight. If alfalfa hay is used, a properly formulated grain containing 10%-12% protein and guaranteed levels of lysine, methionine, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and vitamins will be appropriate. A properly formulated 12%-14% concentrate is suggested, if grass hay is being used. In addition to feeding, adequate water and free choice salt should be available at all times.

The Last 1/3 of Pregnancy (110-115 days)

The last part of the pregnancy places great demands on the pregnant mare. The fetus is growing quickly, and may be gaining as much as 1 lb per day. A 14%-16% concentrate will provide the increased amounts of kamino acids such as lysine and methionine as well as calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and other trace minerals and vitamins required for proper growth of the foal in utero.

Horse Lactation

Nutritional requirement are most important during early lactation. If a pregnant mare does not receive the proper nutrition, they will lose weight, and potentially reduce their chances of re-breeding. These early lactation mares will consume 2.5-3.0 lbs of hay and grain per 100 lbs of bodyweight. The grain concentrate portion of this ratio may be brought up gradually to 1-1.5 lb per 100 lbs of bodyweight to maintain milk production and body condition. As in pregnancy, unlimited access to water and salt are mandatory.