Draft horse growth?
   

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Draft horse growth?

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    04-15-2009, 01:21 AM
  #1
Foal
Draft horse growth?

I adopted an orphan Belgian x Percheron PMU foal who's mother had died when she was 2 1/2 months old. She was a bag of bones (268 lbs) at 4 months old and I had serious doubts she would make it. Luckily she is a fighter and is now 11 months old, 14.1 and 603lbs. The vet said not to let her grow too fast, but I am worried she is a bit underweight. She looks just like her Belgian Momma. Anyone have any knowledge of what an 11 month old should weigh? Is she on track for height?

I have also read not give her too much sugary grains. I have been giving her Omelene foal and a flake morning and night of grassy alfalfa. I was also giving her a scoop of weight builder through the winter, but have stopped now that spring has sprung.
     
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    04-15-2009, 09:06 AM
  #2
Yearling
Bless you for saving this foal and also a PMU! I have a PMU gelding 3/4 draft (perch/paint/TB/clyde), almost 5 yrs. Old now. I don't know how much he weighed when I got him at 11 mos. But he was about 14.3 and in good weight. I fed him Triple Crown Junior plus all the hay he could eat (grass mix) and he's now almost 18 hds! Your vet probably wants you to avoid OCD, a joint issue horses who grow too fast can develop.

From what I've learned of draft horses, you want to keep them on a low starch/sugar, high fat diet which means no alfalfa or "grain." If your filly is thin, she should always have hay to munch on. I like my guys to always have something to nibble on anyways, they're made to be grazers. Now that he's almost grown, my guy gets about 6-7 flakes of orchard/bermuda hay a day plus about a pound of Purina Strategy pellets and a vitamin/mineral supplement. He's a pretty easy keeper except that he eats alot. I think you could cut back on the alfalfa and add more grass hay and you'll be fine. If you give her more to eat, she'll plump up.
     
    04-21-2009, 02:13 PM
  #3
Foal
Thank you for the info. It seems the foal food she is eating is mostly grain and molasses. After reading the Draft horse manual it seems she shouldn't be getting that much soluble carbs. I'm going to add some fats to her diet and decrease her grain/molasses. The Draft horse manual was very informative, but had no information on growth rates of Drafts. Is there a Draft breeder anyone knows that may have more info that would not mind me asking them?
     
    04-21-2009, 09:43 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Like any other horse, they are going to grow at different rates. Mine had a last growth spurt after he turned 7 when I thought he was done growing.

Your horse has been neglected feed-wise so your vet may have meant he doesn't want you putting on weight too fast. With a horse that has had severe lack of food putting on weight too fast can be extremely dangerous for them.

Drafts can grow a lot slower than a light horse. My boy was over 16 hands at 2 years old then had growth spurts from age 2-7 without any notice. All the sudden he'd be gobbling up everything he could, so I'd throw more feed then it would subside.

You can also tell because they will see-saw throughout those years.

Watch the feed until you get the horse to the weight they should be at then just feed as you normally would any draft horse. The Draft Horse Owner's manual has the calorie and feed info you need. If you have the one by Dr. Beth Valentine anyway.
     
    04-25-2009, 03:26 PM
  #5
Foal
Yes, I have the draft book by Dr. Valentine. My problem is, I have no idea what a 14.1 draft should weigh. It's not in the book, I've been all over the place looking for that info and found nothing. She is not ribby, but is lanky. If I go by a regular sized horse at 14.1, then she should probably weight about 800-1000 lbs. She is currently just over 600 lbs, so she would be underweight by normal horse weights at 14.1
     
    04-28-2009, 12:28 AM
  #6
Yearling
My 15.0 hand paint weighs about 950 and he's fairly fine boned so that might give you an estimate of what your filly should weigh, since she's almost the same height and probably has bigger bone.

I usually go by the 2% of the horse's body weight and then adjust by eyeballing the horse. If your filly should be around 900 lbs., then feed her for her "ideal" weight. My colt was about 14.3 when he was under a year and I pretty much gave him free feed of grass hay and then a growth supplement. I don't know what he weighed at the time but I would guess, around 900 lbs. I would think if she is underweight, you could give her 24/7 good quality grass hay (orchard, timothy or whatever is in your area), fairly low in nutrients but it will help fill her out over time, gradually and not overwhelm her digestive system. Pictures please!!
     
    07-03-2010, 01:09 AM
  #7
Foal
I don't like to see young horses that are fat. We tend to keep our young horses on the lean side of the scale. I don't mean that you should be able to see ribs & hips sticking out. But you definitely don't want them carrying anymore weight than they need to be.
     
    07-03-2010, 07:05 PM
  #8
Yearling
My PB Clyde mare, at 14 months old was 15.1hh and weighed 982lbs. I know she's not the same breed, but it might give you a rough idea. She was a good weight for her at that time - could feel rib easily enough, but not see them.

If your filly is 14ish hands then it's very possible that 600lbs might be a reasonable weight. Hard to say without seeing her.

I haven't read the book you have. What I found has worked best for our drafts was a premium grade hay, no grain mixes, and a mineral supplement (fed either free choice, or in a cookie I make for them)... though we do allow them to graze/forage year round - that diet might change if they didn't have the forage.

My mare was always well cared for - but my hubby's stallion wasn't. He'd landed himself in a bad situation and was very nearly starved to death. We tried all sorts of different feeds with him, and found that the simple diet of a high protein/low sugar hay, fed several times a day, with free choice forage was by far the best resulting diet.
     
    07-06-2010, 09:27 AM
  #9
Foal
Dont be surprised when you go out to the pasture/barn and look at her one day and say to yourself, "my god what was I thinking her backend is 6" higher than her frontend" then a month later you get to looking at her and she's higher in the frontend than the backend. They will look goofy till they get to be about 5 and still will have their days where they don't look right. Just be patient, and don't forget that she's having to adjust to all the ups and downs also, so she'll be clumsy and tripping over herself for a few years.
My drafts don't get any sweet feed. I learned my lessons with my 25 year old. The feed store ran out of my pelleted feed so I got him a bag of sweet feed, he was 25 on ridden lightly sweetest guy, after a few days on the sweet feed it was like having a 5 yr old kid that had never had soda jacked up on a case of Mountain dew. So my geldings I have now never get sweet feed.
I would feed her enough food to keep her coming to the barn and getting her minerals and the rest would be grazing and all the hay she wants.
There is no correct size for her really, as long as she's not fat to much fat is hard on the joints and they are going to keep growing for 5-7 years.
     

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