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I am really excited about finding this place.
I have some questions about what to feed my pregnant mare. She is almost five months along right now, and she is getting 15lbs of orchard grass hay, the smallest flake of alfalfa that I can break off (about 1-3 lbs), and LMF super supplement, G formula (1 lb) She could probably afford to lose a few pounds right now, shes probably pushing a 7 on the body scale.
There is TONS of conflicting info as far as feeding broodmares/foals and it is giving me a complex.
I watched a video on the thehorse.com where a nutritionist said that the vast majority of nutritional needs are met through good quality hay or pasture and most horse owners way over feed, but then if you read their other articles they are suggesting these crazy amounts of grain. Then there are the just feed them hay and give them a mineral block people, or alfalfa and oats people...
My mare tried to founder a few summers ago (she was on pasture 24/7 at the time) but we caught it soon enough to prevent rotation. She also has OCD, so I am really concerned about keeping the carbs low.
She is a ridiculously easy keeper, and I'm pretty sure she would inflate to epic proportions if I fed her anywhere near the recommended amounts of the broodmare/developement feeds even during late pregnancy/early lactation.
I kinda think that it would work to keep her on the super supplement and up her hay and the alfalfa as needed, but I am wondering if the super has all the vitamins and minerals that she needs. The label says to feed the G formula (for grass hay) as long and you are feeding 50% or more grass, but I wonder if that is going to mess up the calcium/phosphorous ratio, but then most feeds don't even have grass and alfalfa formulas.
I was considering nutrena vitality mare and foal, but the recommended amounts are high and Im concerned if I am not feeding at least the low recommended amount that she wont get everything she needs. I also have considered safechoice, but it seems to get mixed reviews. LMF makes a feed a couple low carb feeds, but last time I checked, the feed store did not carry them.
We dont have a lot of the products here, nutrena, purina, and LMF are the standards.
I also do not know what to do about the pasture. Over this last summer, I let her out for 2 hours in the am and then fed hay in the pm and she didn't have any founder issues,and stayed in her usual slightly too fat condition. My vet says that she will likely need enough extra energy while shes nursing that it wont likely be an issue, but im concerned about the potential high carbs for the baby grazing it. We irrigate, so it stays pretty lush all summer. Her founder incident happened in the fall when the night temperatures were dropping below 40, so I pull everyone from the pasture in September now, but I can't not irrigate or I wouldnt have anything except weeds and dust. Im planning to keep her out of the pasture until she foals anyways because I know I have fescue. (I over seeded with a pasture mix that contained certified endophyte-free fescue, but I have no idea what was here when I moved in.) The county extension office said we do not have infected fescue here, but I am not sure I believe them, Im not sure how to go about having it tested, and I'm not sure which of the grasses is fescue. On top of that, I have been told that its not only fescue that causes problems, so I figured I would be less neurotic if I just kept her out of the pasture until she foals. I'm thinking that I should do a few hour AM turn out like I did during the summer, and I have a large dry lot where the baby will be able to get plenty of excersize. I have thought about sending the grass to get tested for carbs, but I am unsure about what that will really tell me because it can fluctuate quite a bit, can't it?
And then there is the question of what to feed Jr when he/she arrives, weaning, etc.
I use to think I knew what to feed horses until I started researching this all...
Where are you from? Washington State
How did you locate this forum? google
Your questions go a bit beyond the scope of this forum and the best way I can help you keep your mare and the growing foal healthy is to visit with you personally over the phone. But in the meantime, I have a few suggestions for you.
First, fescue is a real problem for pregnant mares, delaying gestation and reducing milk production. I recommend taking her off of fescue pasture during the last three months of pregnancy.
Second, and equally important, do not restrict her forage intake. She needs all the grass hay and/or good quality pasture she wants. Her nutritional needs are very high right now, but you also want to keep her stress level down, to prevent another laminitis attack. Horses are designed to have forage going through their digestive tracts at all times to prevent ulcers, colic, and stress hormone elevations.
Alfalfa is excellent for her and was not the cause of her founder. It is lower in sugar and starch than many grass hays. Alfalfa provides necessary minerals and boosts protein quality so she has the amino acids to produce new tissue (growing foal).
You can keep her on free-choice grass hay, and 30% alfalfa, along with a vitamin/mineral supplement to fill in the gaps for hay-only diets by providing an appropriate supplement such as Mare/Foal IIP plus extra flaxseed meal to give her the omega-3 fatty acids she needs by using Nutra Flax.
Stay away from feeds that provide oats or other cereal grains. Purina Wellsolve L/S is a good choice to serve as a carrier for her supplements, though you would not need to feed it as much as recommended because of her weight.
Restrict concentrated feeds, but never forage. That's the bottom line.
Please let me know if I can assist you further.
All the best,
Where are you from? Bayfield, CO