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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 rejected foal

Hi Dr. Getty! I am sorry this is so lengthy, but I will try to be as brief as I can. I have a 9 week old foal that was rejected by his Mom(Arabian) since the day he was born. We did get him to nurse off of her for the first 4-5 weeks , but we had to tie her up & it was a big problem with her, so we decided to take him off of her. He was nursing every 2-3 hours for the first week or so and then we went to every 4 hours as he got a little older. He was also getting milk replacer at each of these feeds. For the first week, he was on Foal-Lac powdered milk, because that was what was recommended to me by the feed store that my vet recommended. (Which was about 45 mins. away.) I then went back to this feed store & they recommended Uni-Milk (Manna Pro) because it was a lot cheaper and it lasted longer. They said it would work just as good. He did pretty good on this. He never had diarhea, if fact we had to give him a couple of enemas to get his bowels moving good. We then started him on a 14% sweet feed (As per the recommended feed store) at around 2 weeks & a product called NutriBoost. He was still getting his milk in a bucket every 4 hours or so until we weaned him off at around 7 weeks. My feed store here in town then recommended Omelene 300 and said he should be OK & shouldn't need any milk pellets. I am kind of weary about this because I thought that he needed milk pellets till he was at least 4-6 mths. old! All they carry is Calf-Manna. He has been on the Omelene 300 since then(7 weeks) and he is just now starting to really eat his hay ( I think it is an Alicia hay) But what I really need to know is if this is enough for him since he isn't getting any milk anymore. He gets about 2#'s of feed in the morning & 2#'s in the evening. I have talked to several different feed stores and nobody seems to have a clue on how to feed a rejected foal! We do have 3 other horses , a yearling, a 5 yr old stallion , & a 12 yr old mare that we bought Nutrena SafeChoice for today. (our feed store just started carrying it) We are going to wean them off the sweet feed and try them on this since they have very limited pasture. Would the SafeChoice be better for the foal than the Omelene? Or what can you recommend?I would appreciate any help you can give!


Where are you from? Louisiana

How did you locate this forum? search engine

Re: Feeding rejected foal

Hi Sherie,

I know this has been a difficult situation – it is very encouraging, however, that he was able to get his mother’s colostrum and had some opportunity to nurse for a few weeks.

His calcium requirements are high, and therefore, I would continue to offer him Foal-Lac for another 6 weeks. I do not care for the Uni-Milk product – it is not designed for horses. And, Calf Manna is also not best for horses – it is too high in starch. So, if you can get the Foal-Lac, that would be best.

I would also stop feeding Omelene. High starch diets can lead to osteopathic disorders in foals. You can give him a small amount of Safe Choice along with alfalfa pellets. Once you stop the Foal-Lac, I would add a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement designed for foals, such as Vita-Key’s Mare and Foal and a fat source such as stabilized rice bran.

Allow him to graze on pasture and/or hay 24/7. And, he should have clean water at all times, along with a plain white salt lick.

Keep up the wonderful job!

All the best,

Dr. Getty