MARES IN FOAL
The normal gestation period of a mare is 335-345 days. During the first 8 months of the gestation period, a normal feed ration is often enough to maintain the weight of the mare and keep her in good health. However, the addition of minerals, trace elements and vitamins are important from the start of the gestation period. In the last 3 months of the gestation period, the foal goes through a rapid growth spurt and as a result, the need for nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous and protein increases too. The need for added energy, however, does not increase to the same extent. Consequently, it can sometimes prove difficult with a traditional feed ration to meet the increased need for protein without, at the same time, generating excessively high energy values.
The extra concentrate feed given to the mare during the final phase of gestation and lactation should/can usually be stopped as soon as the foal has been weaned. In many cases, the extra concentrate feed can be stopped before the foal has been weaned to help the mare dry up and her udder to return to normal and also, to reduce the risk of mastitis.
It is very easy to underestimate the extent and speed of which the foal grows in the final phase of gestation and how much of a ‘feed upshift’ that is required during this period. 2/3 of the birth weight is achieved during the last 4 months of gestation – with the foal doubling in weight during the last 2 months. Since protein is the parent material of all body tissues, it is imperative that the amount of supplementary protein given to the mare truly matches the substantial growth of her unborn foal.
For this category of horses, KRAFFT has developed special protein supplements such as KRAFFT High Protein Muesli, KRAFFT Muscle Up, KRAFFT Plus Protein or KRAFFT Groov Extra Protein – depending on the analysis values of your mare’s forage feed.