Pregnancy and birth are some of the most magical experiences in the world. Though the process is slightly different between humans and horses, the experience is no less magical. In fact, pregnancy may be slightly more amazing among horses, as they carry their foals for 12 months and give birth without the luxury of our modern medicine. Caring for a pregnant mare can be a wonderful journey, with an end reward that’s unmatched by any other. While each individual mare will have their own nutrition and feeding needs, there are some processes you can institute to ensure their pregnancy is as calm and worry-free as possible. This guide explores three key considerations for feeding pregnant mares and caring for them throughout the entirety of their pregnancy.
Be cognizant of vitamins and minerals
One of the most important considerations for feeding pregnant mares is the amount of vitamins and minerals they will require in their diet. Pregnant mares exert a greater amount of energy on a daily basis than most other horses. They are growing an entirely new life, after all! As such, you may need to supplement their diet with additional vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Supplemental vitamins and minerals are most important during the beginning and end of the mare’s pregnancy. Providing the necessary vitamins throughout the pregnancy will not only help keep the mare in good physical condition, but it will ensure that the foal is happy and healthy upon its entrance into this world.
Take note of gestation timeline
Like humans, a mare’s body will undergo many changes throughout the course of her pregnancy. Each month brings new developments in both the mother and foal, and all changes should be closely monitored. As your mare progresses throughout her pregnancy, she will likely require a slight change in her diet. For instance, she will require a higher daily intake of nutrients such as protein, zinc, and calcium during the later stages of pregnancy. Your mare will also likely experience higher energy levels during the finals months of her pregnancy. As a result, she will need to consume a greater number of calories on a daily basis. One of the best ways to achieve this is through high-quality chopped forage for horses. This type of feed is high in protein and fiber, which will ensure that your mare receives her necessary daily intake of calories and vitamins simultaneously.
Be wary of weight gain
Weight gain is necessary for any pregnancy. While your mare will gain a significant amount of weight throughout her pregnancy, it’s important that you take precautions to limit this weight gain within healthy parameters. Extreme weight gain can place additional strain on your mare’s legs and back at a time when her body is already vulnerable from the weight of carrying a foal. Conversely, too little weight gain can also be cause for worry. This indicates that your mare is receiving too few calories in her diet, which can hamper the development of her foal. Be on the lookout for any changes in weight or eating habits that are atypical for a pregnant mare, following your vet’s guidelines. Be sure to consult your veterinarian if you feel that your mare has experienced unwarranted weight fluctuations during her pregnancy.
This blog post is meant for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for quality veterinary care. We recommend working with your vet to determine what dietary changes are appropriate for your mare during her pregnancy.