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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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Re: ET foal and his "mom"

Hello Christina,

I apologize for not being able to help you last month and I'm hoping that things are going well for your mare and her foal.

TC Growth is fine since it is not a high starch feed. Feeding high starch to growing horses is more likely to cause bone and joint problems. As far as your mare is concerned, she needs more calories now that she did when she was pregnant. I would go with TC Lite, which is more concentrated in vitamins and minerals (you would not feed an additional vitamin/mineral supplement and you don't have to feed as much), and higher in fat, while offering low amounts of starch. To this, add Nutra Flax -- 2 scoops per day -- to provide additional omega 3 fatty acids and fat calories.

Watch the alfalfa intake -- no more than 40% of her total hay ration while she is lactating, and then reduce it to 20-30% once the foal is weaned.

The foal can also enjoy alfalfa (no more than 40%).

In my book, I have two very helpful chapters on pregnancy and lactation, the newborn foal, and growth. These outline nutritional needs and the best way to meet them. You may find this helpful.

Keep me posted!

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Hi Dr. Getty,
I've been trying to research some answers on your forum, but need some extra help. I have a "recipient" mare that has been on pasture (in VA) and free-choice alfalfa, no grain before coming to me, so I kept her to this diet (for the most part, except I feed an alfalfa/grass-orchard/timothy usually-mix hay instead of straight alfalfa and with me, she'd get fed 3 flakes twice daily instead of free choice) for the majority of her pregnancy. At about 8 1/2 months or so along, I added TC 30% Supplement to her diet-1#AM/PM. She seemed to be doing pretty well with these adjustments up until a few weeks ago, when I could tell she was getting closer to foaling and was starting to lose some body condition (ribs barely showing). So, in retrospect, I should have been researching weeks ago how to increase her calories without switching her to grain. I feed a low starch (not sure of the exact #'s NSC's), high calorie (don't have these figures either) pellet feed to most of my horses, including most of my other mares w/foals and pregnant mares and most are doing rather well on it. But since I did not see that she needed grain until recently, I had not transitioned her. She's a big girl, I'm guessing about 1200+ lbs and is about 16.2hh, so I want to make sure she gets all she needs and the foal it enough to just add beet pulp & alfalfa pellets to give her more calories? if so, how much? If she's getting the 30% Supplement, does she need additional vit/min? Or should I just switch her to the grain I feed? She is now getting some fresh Bermuda grass hay along with her alfalfa/grass hay and I know to feed her free choice grass hay.

The clincher to all this is that she foaled today. And it is a very tall/big colt (he is 2 weeks early according to the due date from the vet clinic...this seems to happen frequently with the ET foals so far) and appears healthy. I am having my vet out tomorrow to give him a once over and make sure all is ok. I want to make sure I give his "mom" everything she needs without stuff she doesn't...not to mention that I want to give this "little" guy everything he needs to thrive and grow up big and strong. Any help/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

P.S. I am trying Ultium Growth on a few yearlings that needed something extra and on a mare that had an early foal...I like the results so far but not sure about feeding 13.5 lbs of it/day to the recipient mare since she's not used to grain in her diet.

Thanks so your forum!

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO