Feeding for Breeding

The Broodmare

You’ve invested a lot of time and money into breeding from your mare.  Feeding for breeding means paying close attention to the care and management of your pregnant mare. Also, feeding her correctly is a major contributing factor for a successful outcome.  Adding Fibregenix Prime Original feed balancer will provide your mare with the enhanced nutritional uptake required throughout the gestation period.

A Unique Formulation

The unique formulation includes beneficial levels of folic acid, a key nutrient for the development of a healthy foetus.  It also includes optimal levels of a powerful live yeast probiotic, Levucell Titan.  This may help to increase mare’s milk production and milk nutrient density. The comprehensive vitamin, mineral and nutrient package will ensure your mare gets the nutrients she needs on a daily basis.

The live yeast probiotic in Prime Original has also been scientifically proven to double the ability to digest fibre.  It’ll help your broodmare to maximise the nutrient yield from the fibre in her diet. And this is particularly useful in the last trimester when the growing foetus restricts your mare’s ability for forage intake.

No surprise then that broodmares that are maintained in a healthy body condition will breed more successfully, producing healthier foals.

Feeding for Breeding with Prime Original will help your broodmare by:

  • Aiding foetal development
  • Aiding digestion and nutrient uptake
  • Supporting milk production by preventing the normal ‘dip’ of antibody levels in lactating mares.
  • Aiding placental development and maintaining condition throughout pregnancy, lactation and weaning.

Feeding for Breeding – Foals

The huge investment in time and money means you’ll want your new foal to give you the best possible return. Giving your foal the best start in life is essential and nutrition naturally plays a key part in this.

Fibregenix Prime Original’s small pellets are the perfect introduction to creep feeding and can be safely fed from 3 weeks of age.

Feeding for Breeding with Prime Original in your foal’s diet can:

  • Promote steady even growth rates, good muscle tone, a shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Aid the development of dense, well-mineralised bone and strong, healthy hooves
  • Help maintain a healthy gut.  The digestive health package in Prime Original contains a highly effective live probiotic yeast to aid digestion in the caecum.  Furthermore, purified nucleotides encourage good villi development for improved nutrient absorption.  This means great gut health from the off and a reduced risk of digestive disorders.  Additionally, this can also help prevent stress during weaning.

But what about the next age bracket?

Yearlings & up to Two Years

Growth Rates

The level of nutrition, protein, vitamins, and minerals relative to calorie requirements is much higher for growing horses than for mature horses. As the horse ages, there’s a shift from nutrition needed to develop tissue and grow, to nutrition devoted to maintaining the body. Breed type can dictate on how to feed, mostly due to differences in rate of growth and age at maturity.

The NRC estimates an average 500kg horse is 64% of his mature height at 12 months. 77% of his mature height at 18 months, and 86% at 24 months.

Skeletal growth occurs only as long as the physes (growth plates) remain open. Once they mature and close, long bones can’t increase in length.

Growth plate closure occurs from the ground up. Those in the lower limbs close earliest, around nine to 11 months of age. The knees and hocks close around 24 months and the shoulders and stifles usually in the third year. Naturally, variations occur due to genetics and breed, nutrition and management.

Once a young horse reaches 65-70% of its mature weight—usually around a year of age—growth slows.  This is when nutritional strategies need to change. Yearlings should generally eat 50% forage (hay and pasture) and 50% concentrate ie a complete feed.  However, the proper forage-to-concentrate ratio depends on your forage quality. So, you might want to have your hay analysed for its nutrient content. Another factor to consider is breed type as some may be more prone to weight gain than others.

As growth rate slows, a horse will voluntarily consume more forage and concentrate should be reduced. So to makeup any protein, vitamin and mineral shortfall, forage intake can be complemented by Fibregenix Prime Original.   This balancer will provide an excellent source of concentrated levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals with minimal additional calories.

Watch the Weight.

A young horse that reaches a body condition score of 7 or greater is at a much greater health risk.  It makes the potential for the development of DOD and insulin insensitivity high, regardless of the source of dietary calories. To this end, body condition scoring (BCS) is a great management tool to monitor growth and fat deposition. So ideally, keep your growing horse’s BCS around 5 or 6 on the 1-9 Henneke scale.

Interestingly, horses younger than 2 might develop a hay belly when ingesting more than 50% forage. This is down to a youngster’s less-efficient forage digestion. Therefore Fibregenix Prime Original contains beneficial levels of a live yeast probiotic, proven to aid digestion in the caecum.  The benefit is improved fibre breakdown which in turn supports a better nutrient yield from the forage. Prime Original balancer also includes purified nucleotides to encourage good small intestine villi development for improved nutrient absorption.

Take home message:

First and foremost, young horses thrive on a high fibre diet with the inclusion of quality digestible protein.  This will ensure optimum muscle growth and development.  By adding Prime Original to your young horse’s diet, he’ll get all the additional essential nutrients he needs.  This means he won’t have to rely on a grain-based high starch diet which can lead to problems. These include uneven, rapid growth spurts, unwanted weight gain, joint issues such as physitis, and even metabolic problems.  Ideally, the best natural diet for a young horse should consist of quality pasture. (Avoiding where possible improved pastures such as rye/clover which are high in NSC and mineral imbalances.)  Valuable fibre additions to support a pasture regime are conserved forages such as quality hay, chaff and beet pulp products.

Two Years and Onwards

By about age 2, a horse has reached nearly 90% of his mature weight. He can now transition to ad-lib quality hay and other fibre or concentrate feeds where applicable.  This can also be supported by however much Fibregenix balancer he needs to maintain an appropriate body condition score.

How a young horse develops depends to an extent on his genetics and how the owner feeds him. If the young horse is an early developer, then this needs to be supported with good nutrition. A young horse that is genetically programmed to slower maturity still needs good nutrition, but fewer calories.

Often, breeders will attempt to slow growth rate below a horse’s ‘preferred’ genetic programming.  This erroneous idea is based on the belief that the slower the growth rate, the better. However, slow growth achieved at the expense of balanced nutrition won’t prevent developmental disorders. It merely delays when musculoskeletal abnormalities appear.

Preventing Development Orthopaedic Disease

Dietary imbalances, management and genetics make growing horses prone to DOD. This includes physitis, angular limb and flexural deformities, osteochondrosis, and vertebral malformations.

Examples are if a young horse has been fed a poorly balanced diet or excessive calories.  Or perhaps he’s been overfed after a period of improper feeding.  This is when the subsequent accelerated growth rates can lead to a higher-than-normal incidence of DOD. Significant time in confinement is also bad for the growing skeleton of foals as well as young horses. So correcting these issues will go much towards helping reduce the risk of DOD.

Deficiencies in important nutrients potentially lead to the delayed onset of DOD. So steady and proper growth can be optimised by 1) controlling calories. 2) providing properly balanced nutrition and 3) continuous play time in the paddock.

Excess weight on the bones and joints of a growing horse is more detrimental than being underweight.  Therefore in these cases, Fibregenix Lami Low-Cal can provide a low-­calorie option to balance out the forage for easy keepers. It can also benefit horses with specific growth or metabolic issues.

Once a horse has matured, he isn’t likely to sustain a new “developmental” orthopaedic disease. However, unsoundness caused by DOD might not become apparent until skeletal structures are stressed by concussion or repetitive work.  And this becomes even more relevant when a young horse enters into training or competition.

Development of a Healthy Skeletal System.

Feeding for breeding means paying specific attention to the development of a healthy skeletal system. It’s especially important in the first two years of a horse’s life. Supplement your youngster’s diet with a comprehensive joint and bone supplement such as Fibregenix Liquid Joint and Bone. It’ll help to promote strong, dense bone development and healthy, nourished joints ensuring longevity of the skeletal system and limbs.

Key Ingredients in Liquid Joint and Bone

Fibregenix Liquid Joint & Bone contains Glucosamine HCL. This is vital for healthy cartilage metabolism.  Hyaluronic Acid aids the formation of synovial fluid, the joint’s natural lubricant. Organic MSM provides valuable building blocks for ligaments and tendons. Rosehip helps prevent inflammation within the joint. Importantly, it includes a bone supplement comprising of vitamin D3 and calcium chelate.  This cutting-edge combination promotes strong and healthy bones.

Keeping them Calm

Finally, weaning can be a very stressful time.  Fibregenix Liquid Karma can be fed to both the mare and foal for two weeks prior to weaning.  It can then be continued until they’ve settled.  This liquid calmer is made with 100% natural ingredients. It contains no prohibited substances and is a safe and natural way to relieve the stress of the weaning process.  For the owner, we would advocate perhaps a stiff drink!

Reviewed and updated April 2023



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