I was taking to a friend who used a full service breeding facility in Colorado to foal out her mare last year and they told her they only feed alfalfa in the last month of gestation, no grain, because for some reason it prevents colic before and after foaling. Has anyone heard of this, is it true?
I've never heard of it, but, I certainly wouldn't do it without proper supplementation. In the last 90 days gestation, I give the mares time and a half what they usually get, as they need the extra nutrition. I don't know about the logistics of this
Having never seen a serious colic associated with pre-foaling/foaling I am pretty skeptical. Alfalfa is high in calcium, and is good for horses with ulcers, but I don't think that particularly has any bearing in relationship to pre-foaling mares.
I will accept that late-term mares tend not to eat large meals (as there's not much room inside for the feed!); I will also accept that an immediately post-foaling mare that is fed a large meal is at greater risk of colic, especially from caecum torsion; but again, I don't feel this bears any particular relationship to feeding only alfalfa unless the farm only feeds once a day.
I too would have grave concerns about lack of correct nutritional balance with going to a just alfalfa diet all of a sudden. There are ration balancers specifically formulated to balance different feed plans, such as the Buckeye Grow 'n Win for Alfalafa which we use, and if that was fed in addition to the hay, it would be fine - but you don't indicate if that is being fed as well, and I suspect not, which would concern me.
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