You’ve invested a lot of time and money into breeding. So, it makes sense to pay close attention to feeding the broodmare and foal correctly for a successful outcome.
During pregnancy, the mare’s daily nutrition requirements are high enough to maintain her own condition, as well as support the growing foetus. Most foetal growth occurs during the third trimester when nutritional needs change accordingly.
Supplementing your mare with Fibregenix Prime Original feed balancer will provide her with the enhanced nutritional uptake required throughout gestation.
The unique formulation includes optimum levels of Folic Acid, which is important for the development of a healthy foetus. It also includes a live yeast probiotic, which may help to increase mare’s milk production and milk nutrient density. The comprehensive vitamin, mineral and nutrient package will also provide everything needed daily, by bridging any dietary nutritional gaps.
The Actisaf Yeast probiotic In Prime Original has been scientifically proven to double the ability to digest fibre. This will help the broodmare to maximise the nutrients from the fibre in her diet. Crucial during the last phase of pregnancy when the rapidly growing foetus means the mare can’t eat as much fibre.
It’s worth noting that broodmares maintained in a healthy body condition will generally breed more successfully and will produce foals that are healthier too.
Therefore, Fibregenix Prime Original will help to:
Aid foetal development
Aid digestion and nutrient uptake
Support milk production by preventing the normal ‘dip’ of antibody levels in lactating mares.
Aid placental development and maintain condition throughout pregnancy, lactation and weaning.
Feeding the Broodmare for a Foal’s Joint Health
The mare’s calcium and phosphorus requirements increase around the seventh month of pregnancy as the foetus begins to use these minerals. During lactation, a mare’s calcium and phosphorus requirements remain elevated and she’ll mobilise calcium from her own bones during this time. However, bone mineral density returns to normal once she’s no longer producing milk.
Calcium and phosphorus deficiencies can have dramatic consequences in developing foals, such as enlarged joints and poor bone mineralization. In 1993, one study found that foals from mares on diets containing insufficient calcium levels had weaker bones at birth.
Mare’s milk also contains very little copper and foals are not capable of absorbing copper well during the first few months of life. This suggests maternal copper intake vitally influences the foal’s copper stores in the liver during gestation.
However, an important and more recent scientific study has shown that the development of OC in a foal is largely determined by the nutritional status of the mare during pregnancy. The study found that foals born to mares that were fed any type of concentrate during pregnancy were approximately six times more likely to develop OC. This was in comparison to foals born to mares that were simply fed on forage alone, never receiving any supplementation. Furthermore, the impact of feeding concentrates to lactating mares had a similar, although much less dramatic, effect on the development of OC in their foal.
The do’s and don’ts
Do provide adequate calories to maintain body condition, increasing during late gestation and lactation.
Do provide a balance of calories from high-quality fibre, fat, and non-structural carbohydrates throughout gestation.
Don’t overfeed calories
Don’t feed high-starch concentrates (aim for >1 gram per kilogram of body weight per meal)
Do provide adequate-quality protein with essential amino acids, especially lysine, and increase levels in late gestation through lactation.
Don’t underfeed protein or essential amino acids.
Do ensure the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is between 1:5:1 and 2:1 during gestation and lactation.
Do feed copper at 0.25-0.4 mg per kg body weight during gestation.
Don’t underfeed calcium or phosphorus, especially during late gestation and lactation.
Don’t underfeed copper during gestation
Do provide vitamin D only if no turnout is provided.
Feeding Overweight Broodmares
Obesity in broodmares has been linked with the following reproductive problems.
- Longer intervals between ovulations
- Continuing to cycle throughout the winter when usually the reproductive cycling is shut down. This affects breeding efficiency in the Spring
- Decreased insulin sensitivity which is associated with decreased reproductive function in broodmares
- Affects foal hormone concentrations, which might increase a youngster’s risk of developing metabolic disorders later in life
- Difficulties during foaling
However, overweight broodmares should not be put on a weight reduction programme during the first 90 days of pregnancy. This can contribute to a higher risk of early embryonic death as well as foetal abortion during the first three months of pregnancy. This is in comparison to mares kept at a constant bodyweight. However, an overweight broodmare is certainly not ideal – and the last thing we want to do is promote further weight gain. This is where a Fibregenix balancer can provide the solution for bridging nutrient gaps.
Fibregenix Lami Low-Cal is ideal for feeding the broodmare that’s overweight, and is a good way forward to promote continued health without promoting weight gain.
Depending on how your broodmare’s weight goes over the first 6 months determines whether or not to swap her to Fibregenix Prime Original for the last 3 months. If she is still quite a bit overweight then it’s a good idea to continue with Lami Low-Cal. But if she has lost some weight, then she could be swapped to Prime Original as she is likely to lose further weight once she is lactating.
The amount of Lami Low-Cal or Prime Original can always be increased by 100g per day on top of the usual recommended feeding rate for the last 3 months of gestation. But again, if the mare is overweight this often isn’t necessary.
The Impact of Creep Feeding on Foal Development
Giving your foal the best start in his life is essential and nutrition naturally plays a key part in this.
Research has shown that creep feeding foals reduces the risk of uneven growth rates around weaning. Creep feed can be introduced at about 1 month of age but certainly no later than 4 months. Allowing foals to share their dam’s feed is an alternative up to 4 months of age. Foals with access to appropriate balanced nutrition throughout their first months of life are more forward at the same age as foals relying purely on milk/grass. These foals will have a lower risk of getting DOD (developmental orthopaedic disease) at weaning.
Fibregenix Prime Original’s small balancer pellets are the perfect introduction to creep feeding and can be safely fed from 3 weeks of age.
Including Prime Original in your foals’ diet can:
- Promote steady even growth rates, promote good muscle tone, a shiny coat and healthy skin
- Aid the development of dense, strong 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, and purified nucleotides to encourage good villi development for improved nutrient absorption. This means great gut health from the off, and a reduced risk of digestive disorders which can also help prevent stress during weaning.
Yearlings to Two Years
Young horses thrive on a high fibre diet with the inclusion of quality digestible protein for muscle growth and development. Adding Prime Original to a young horse’s quality fibre diet will ensure he gets all the essential nutrients he needs without relying on a grain-based high starch diet. This type of diet can lead to uneven growth spurts, unwanted weight gain, joint issues and even metabolic issues such as laminitis. A good fibre diet for a young horse will consist of quality pasture quality hay such as lucerne, chaff and other fibre products such as beet pulp.
Promoting Joint & Bone Health
Supplementing your youngster’s diet with a comprehensive joint and bone supplement such as Fibregenix Liquid Joint and Bone is useful. It will help promote strong, dense bone development and healthy, nourished joints ensuring the longevity of the skeletal system and limbs. Liquid Joint & Bone contains Glucosamine HCL, vital for cartilage metabolism and the formation of synovial fluid, the joint’s natural lubricant. It also contains organic MSM, Hyaluronic Acid, Rosehip and a bone supplement comprising of vitamin D3 and calcium chelate. All these active ingredients help to support and nourish your youngster’s joints and bones. In turn this provides long-term joint and bone health as they begin their working life.