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Feeding the Lactating Mare-Questions

Equine-Reproduction.com Bulletin Board » Foaling and Immediate Post-foaling Issues » Feeding the Lactating Mare-Questions « Previous Next »


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Kim Peavy/Blk&White Pinto Colt 6/16
Breeding Stock
Username: Lovemysinbad

Post Number: 258
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2008 - 03:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi everyone. Well, our foal is 2 weeks old now and I've finally turned him out 24/7. He is just doing so well. The vet is coming in the morning to take blood from my mom's foal to check his white count (he's suffering from rhodococcus pnemonia, we think), anyway, I'm going to talk to her about Sweetie and her diet. Vet had me continue to only feed her the Equalizer (1 pound per day) and grass hay until we get the foal's legs doing what they are supposed to. She also wanted me to basically under nourish Sweetie so that the foal did not grow so rapidly his bones could not keep up with him. I do understand this, as Sweetie's last foal came down with a contracted tendon, club foot at 4 months of age...she was highly nourished and I do believe the rich milk and feed so quickly helped contribute to this and it ended up costing us a few thousand in vet bills. I've read the Seminole website and it says a lactating mare should be getting 2 pounds of equalizer per day, so I'm going to talk to her about increasing her to that. Sweetie looks great and baby is getting plenty to eat, at least he looks like he is. She has alot of grass in her paddock and hardly eats the hay when I throw it out for her. She absolutely told me no alfalfa hay at all. Has anyone else dealt with something like this? Everything I read says feed, feed, feed the mare, but I am strictly going by doctors orders...I don't want anything to go wrong with this foal....I have sent his AWS registration paperwork in, and we are set for inspection oct. 4th...I'm so nervous about the inspection, but also excited about it. Maybe this is something with big boned foals. She also told my mom to cut back her mare's feed too, her foal is also a little over in the knees and his front feet are 10:00/2:00.....they point outward...he is almost 2 months old.....any advice/comments greatly appreciated...Kp
 

Phyllis Schroder
Breeding Stock
Username: Shadowbend

Post Number: 107
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2008 - 08:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kim,
This is a very sensible approach to take and I'm sure you will see the benefits in the future as to how well your foals legs do.

Most often I've seen this problem in foals after being weaned and the owners pump them with far to much rich feed in trying to get that huge growth going. Of course, in your case Mom is producing to much overly rich food for the youngster so it's a matter of slowing down her rich content.

I had one that I purchased that had such huge growth spurts and had me a bit worried about his front legs when I first got him home after being weaned (5mos old at the time) that I took him off all feed and he got hay only and some pasture. He wasn't very happy about it but it was for the best and he's turned out perfectly with fabulous legs.
I think it started with his mom being a very strong rich milk producer and then adding feed to his diet before he got weaned was to much and probably started the issue. Fortunately, I saw it right away and it was just in the beginnings and very mildly noticeable so corrected easily and quickly with his diet changes.

The great thing is that you've caught it early and can start corrective measures before it becomes a real serious and costly problem.

I don't know that I'd say this is a problem more prevelant to big boned horses but I think more to warmbloods, draft crosses, Halter type QH's and any horses that should mature to a large size (of course most of these are big boned). At least from the majority of those I've seen it's usually been a matter of being in a hurry to get that expected size on them. The draft crosses especially mature slower and some new owners don't have the patience to wait.

In the few cases I've seen that it's a younger foal not yet weaned, it's been a matter much like your own. Mare is on a rich,high intake diet or even overly abundant great pasture and is already a great milk producer without lots of extras and passes this on to the foal. Some mares do need a high caliber diet to produce good rich milk and others do a fabulous job on the average diet.

You're fortunate your mares naturally a great milk producer without tons of extras.

Btw, Have a great time at the inspection and definitely let us know how it goes.
Are you getting just the foal inspected or mare and foal both?
The AWS inspections are very friendly and inviting so you have nothing to get nervous about, just enjoy.
 

Terry Waechter maravilla and her posse
Breeding Stock
Username: Watchman

Post Number: 316
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2008 - 12:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have had a colt live on vitamins and grass hay only all winter because of potoential leg issues. No he was not as "pretty" and round as some of the others but he is now over 16 hands with strong perfect joints. It pays to watch the weight gain and vitamin intake,,,,terry

I check joints every day....
 

Cjskip
Breeding Stock
Username: Cjskip

Post Number: 633
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2008 - 02:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Good grief! Is there no end to worries about horses? LOL!!!

I knew nothing of leg problems, but I was happy to see a post adressing lactating mare's nutrition, although I'm deviating some. Hope that is okay.

In my case, my mare is toooooo fat! I have been worried about how to cut down on the alfalfa, without compromising the foal's nutrition and causing my mare to get so hungry that when she does get food, she gulps it down and colics.

I started giving the mare about 2 lbs. of Strategy for the nutrients and cut her hay to three flakes a day. She was free feeding. Her 2 mo. old colt also eats a little of the alfalfa.

I have been trying to get the colt on strategy and he is beginning to nibble at it. I want to wean at four months.

I am buying grass hay this week and plan to cut the alfalfa to 2 flakes a day and let her free feed on grass hay.

Does this sound reasonable? Appreciate any comments. Thanks.l
 

Kim Peavy/Blk&White Pinto Colt 6/16
Breeding Stock
Username: Lovemysinbad

Post Number: 259
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2008 - 06:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Phyllis, Terry and CJ: Thanks so much for your comments...I've been so worried that she was not getting enough, although she looks good. I'm much happier now that she is out full time able to graze. I did up her equalizer just to be sure she is getting the nutrients she needs, but I'll hold steady with this plan and keep watching her milk supply...as long as she's producing good milk, I guess we'll be ok for awhile. As the vet said, we have to make a choice as to who is most important right now...the mare and if she looks (good) or the foal to be sure he doesn't get too much nutrient and end up with problems. She actually told me the mare should be a 6 on the weight scale while nursing...interesting and I just learn something everyday.....thanks again for your comments and help.

CJ - how is the foal doing? I would think if your mare is too fat, you could cut down on the calories, but I'd certainly seek the advice of someone other than me..LOL...since my mare is grass hay, pasture and ration balancer.....I'll post a pix of her with baby, this is how she looks and vet says she's more than ample weight wise

http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff169/kwpeavy/11daysold031.jpg
http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff169/kwpeavy/11daysold006.jpg

hope this helps some.....KP
 

Cjskip
Breeding Stock
Username: Cjskip

Post Number: 641
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2008 - 05:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kim, what a gorgeous mama and baby and I love the lush pasture. Here in the Central Valley of CA., all I see are bone dry pastures of mostly weeds from May to about October. One rarely sees a horse pasture irrigated here. I suppose it is a water conservation issue, expense of set up and cost or running it five months out of the year.

Where abouts do you live? Southern US? I noticed the Weeping Willows.

Anyway, my mare is even fatter than your's. I think she would be a 1 (unless I have that backwards-then she'd be a 10). I thought she would naturally slim down, but she hasn't and she is hungry all the time. I hope my plan on adding grass hay will help. Her belly is huge. Poor baby. I thought I was doing the right thing by free feeding her.

My neighbor told me she is ready to founder. Her concern definetely made me determined more than ever to get the weight off. And with the cost of feed, I ought to be delighted I can feed less, huh? LOL

I tried feeding her 2/3 grass hay with her alfalfa, a few weeks ago, but she refused it. Of course I worried and gave in with the alfalfa. Kind of like a kid eating mac and cheese, but no veggies, huh?

Fortunately, I have not seen any problems in my colt, although he is really growing fast. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. There is so much to learn. I had no idea!

Many years ago, I owned horses as a kid. The only thing we did was basic care, like we would with all our animals, adding hoof trimming/shoeing and making sure they didn't colic. All was well, fortunately, until my mother's mare foaled. Healthy looking filly was dead within 48 hours. Today, we probably could have easily saved her.

And when my daughter had her mare that foaled, in the early 1990's, we didn't know much more, although my daughter read everything and it seemed I was constantly going to the feed store to buy yet another "crucial" suppliment or something. STILL, we were still pretty ignorant.

We were lucky she had a healthy foal, but we underfed him. The mare was in good condition, and the foal didn't look underweight, but he wasn't growing as fast as he should. The vet explained it all when we got the colt his first set of shots.

Anyway, to pontificate, I had NO idea, until I started exploring this board.

I wish us both luck on our feeding plans. Let me know how it goes and I'll do the same. They do keep us busy, don't they?
 

Phyllis Schroder
Breeding Stock
Username: Shadowbend

Post Number: 109
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2008 - 06:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kim,

Your mare looks great and the colt is precious.
She looks to have plenty of great pasture to enjoy as well.

Cj,

If you feel your mare is getting extremely overweight and you may be heading t'wards founder definitely add the grass hay, cut back grains and alfalfa to the minimum and possibly do away with the alfalfa altogether.

Some horses are just naturally gluttens and can eat all the time and would literally eat themselves to death if given the chance. Others will eat what they need and move on.

You definitely don't want to have to deal with founder so no matter how hard, DON'T give in to her. I assure you that if she's truly hungry she'll start eating what's given to her wether it's what she prefers or not.
You can bet she's always going to go for the alfalfa over the grass hay, Heck some would rather have the alfalfa than their feed. Don't let her sway you though, stick to your plan. It's for her own good, even though she may not agree.

Let us know how she's doing.
 

Kim Peavy/Blk&White Pinto Colt 6/16
Breeding Stock
Username: Lovemysinbad

Post Number: 260
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2008 - 08:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks CJ & Phyllis for the compliments on my mare and baby. Sweetie is pretty much an easy keeper. I'm so fortunate to have found this boarding facility...not many here in Central Florida have such nice grass, they generally cut the paddocks real small to cram more boarders in and end up with sandy lots....We are in Ocala, FL....lots of weeping oaks and big trees...this is like paradise for my horses....I did up Sweetie to the 2 pounds per day of equalizer (seminole stores) and that's all she gets from me....then she just grazes 24/7....If I see her slipping or notice her not producing enough milk for foal, we'll do something different....I would think your foal is old enough you could cut back on the feed, esp since he's already eating some on his own....don't give in to her, like Phyllis said, she'll eat eventually. I did throw her some O&A hay last night when the noise from the fireworks started, it helped her to just stay relaxed and eat...she was so tickled for the treat and the baby just laid out flat and snored thru the whole thing...I was real proud of her...she stayed calm, so he did too!. But, she is doing excellent on the equalizer and grass....if there weren't enough grass, she'd be getting probably lots of grass hay, the vet said that really wouldn't hurt her, does not have alot of calories, but keeps her busy and keeps forage flowing thru her....
 

Cjskip
Breeding Stock
Username: Cjskip

Post Number: 652
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2008 - 01:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kim and Phyllis, thank-you for your suggestions. I have cut her alfalfa to two flakes or less, per day. I am letting her have all the forage hay she wants, just to keep her from getting ravenous. I cut her grain to 2 pounds per day. She is dropping some weight. Forage hay is what they give goats. It looks a lot like straw. I tend to think it is good for roughage, so I don't worry as much about her eating on the ground.

Funny thing is, she has never been an over eater, till a few days before her baby was born. She'd leave food at almost every feeding. But I'm sticking with it! Thanks for the encouragement.
 

Phyllis Schroder
Breeding Stock
Username: Shadowbend

Post Number: 113
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Sunday, July 27, 2008 - 07:50 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Cj,

Glad to hear it's going well and she's doing better on the eating. Plenty of roughage is great for them and the forage hay should keep her busy and happy.
 

Cjskip
Breeding Stock
Username: Cjskip

Post Number: 687
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Thursday, August 14, 2008 - 03:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Just an update. A big portion of forage hay, with a half bucket of alfalfa cubes twice a day, and about 2-3 lbs. of Omelene 300, is what she gets and by golly, she does gobble down the forage hay, that she refused when I first tried it. So thanks Phyllis. I was a tough Mommy and she is losing weight, a little at a time, and baby is growing. So I think the plan is working. I had a neighbor tell me she thought she was going to founder if I didn't get some weight off too, although she was fatter than this when I got her last February. Anyway, trouble averted, I think.

Kim, how are things going with your nutrition plan?



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