Foal Nutrition 101
By: Triple Crown Insider- Danielle LaMarre
Feed Your Mare Right
A foal’s nutrition doesn’t start once it’s born—it starts before it’s born, with the mare. The mare must be strong and healthy in order for the foal to be strong and healthy. This all begins with the mare’s diet. A pregnant mare needs more vitamins and nutrients because her body is working very hard to feed and nourish her growing fetus, so her feed typically needs to be increased (or changed altogether) once she’s about halfway through the pregnancy. I suggest using Triple Crown Growth because it provides the extra vitamins and nutrients she needs to keep her fetus healthy. Also, a well-fed mare will produce an average of 2-3% of her body weight in milk per day while lactating, so it is important to keep her weight up. This may mean increasing her feed even more. Watch her body condition and adjust feed appropriately.
Introduce Feed to Your Foal
The foal’s first adventure in life is learning how to stand and nurse. When it takes those first few suckles, it will get a load of colostrum which is necessary for survival. Until the foal shows interest in grain, it will get everything it needs from the mare’s milk. Once the foal begins eating, it will get the vitamins and minerals it needs from the grain as well. The mare’s milk supply will start slowing down at about three-four months, so it is important that the foal is eating grain at this time. You can begin weaning your foal at three-four months old if the foal is strong and healthy and has been creep feeding for at least 1 month prior to weaning. Once weaned, the foal’s nutrition comes completely from what you feed them, make it count! You need to stay on top of its growth spurts and weight changes.
Weanlings and yearlings grow incredibly fast. One day they will look obese, the next they will look skinny. A key factor in feeding weanlings and yearlings is that you do not overfeed them. If you do, they are prone to growth issues such as developmental orthopedic disease (DOD). It is also important that a young horse gets adequate exercise, so they don’t develop joint issues like Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). And lastly, make sure you’re feeding a good, quality feed that has all of the vitamins and nutrients necessary to keep your foal healthy. I feed all of my foals Triple Crown Growth and Triple Crown 30% Ration Balancer, which gives them everything they need to be happy and healthy!
Remember, foal nutrition starts when your mare is pregnant and carefully monitoring your new babies body weight and feeding the right amount of high-quality feed is essential to help grow a beautiful, healthy horse.
Pictured in my blog is my foal, Santiago DASH (born May 23, 2015). He eats 2 1/2 lb. Triple Crown Growth and 2 cups Triple Crown 30% Ration Balancer twice a day, along with getting free choice coastal bahiagrass hay.