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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Feeding the suckling

Hi Dr. Getty!! Hopefully you remember me and my mares....I own the old mare who was starved at her boarding stable and the broodmare who I asked for advise in feeding. Thankfully my old mare is back up to par and looks as good as the day I bought 9 years ago. She's thriving in everyway! My broodmare also thrived once they both were moved and fed properly. My mare delivered her foal on 5/31 (368 days!!!); a huge long legged colt. Unfortunately the colt had a large scrotal hernia that needed surgical repair but that was 2 weeks ago and he is doing really really well now. I of course have new questions! My colt will be 1 month old next week. I've read that I can start him on a milk pellet feed (I would use a Buckeye product) at this point. He is eating what he can get of mom's grain and he also picks at her hay. He had diarreha right after birth that cleared up with yogurt. I noticed yesterday his stools were runny again (he's off antibiotics for a little over a week and there has been no change in anything and his behavior is 100% normal and no temp). Today stools are normal again. I'm wondering if starting him on milk pellets at this point will help the diarreha? I'm thinking he's over-indulging on the milk and I'm sure he's drinking water. I should add that he was on gastro-gard after his surgery and for 4 days after he got home. I have no idea if mom's had her foal heat or not, this would have happened when they were both at the clinic for his surgery. I'm thinking it's kind of late for a foal heat now. Thanks in advance for your help!!!

Where are you from? Wisconsin

How did you locate this forum? bookmarked

Re: Feeding the suckling

Hi Kim,

Yes, I remember! It’s nice to hear from you! Congratulations on your new foal! I know he must be a lot of fun!

He really cannot “over-indulge” on milk – that should be his main source of nourishment. So, don’t worry about that. You can start setting up a creep feeding arrangement when he can nibble on pellets here and there at his pleasure. I’m not sure which product you are referring to as “milk pellets” but I looked at Buckeye products, and they do offer an 18% Foal Starter feed that you can offer. However, do not give him more than 1 pound per day, even as he gets bigger, because it is mostly made from oats and too much starch has been shown in recent research studies to increase the chances of developmental orthopedic disorders in young horses. As he grows, you'll want to add digestible sources of forage to his diet instead of more oats.

It looks like to me that his system is taking a little time to adjust. After all, in his young life, he’s already had surgery, antibiotics, and ulcer medication. So, as long as he is not running a fever and his diarrhea has stopped, just keep an eye on him.

Keep me posted!

All the best,

Dr. Getty