Giving my mare the right diet? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-31-2010, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Giving my mare the right diet?

Hey, what do you guys recommend for pregnant mares as far as nutrition is concerned?

My vet said if I am feeding straight alfalfa, I need to feed some grain because it adds phosphorous to help counterbalance the excess calcium in the alfalfa. He said I don't need a mare/foal grain, because that will also add protein and the alfalfa has tons of protein too. So just basically some type of grain to add phosphorous. I think he was mainly talking as she gets bigger and closer to foaling, (she's about 5 months along now) but I know that alfalfa ideally should be balanced for all horses, all the time.

I guess what I am wondering is, how much grain has to be fed to counterbalance the alfalfa? I don't want to feed more than about 2 pounds at a time, although when she really gets ready to foal she may need more? What do you think?

Currently I just give about 1 1/2 pounds of grain (usually sweet feed) per horse per day as a treat. That is my normal riding horse routine. This is my first pregnant mare though! I also just starting giving her 1 pound of Purina Enrich 12 daily as a vitamin/mineral supplement to make sure she and the foal get everything they need.

If I don't want to feed much grain, would rice bran be a good choice for her? I hear it is high in phosphorous. And if so, how much? I wish I would have thought to talk more to the vet about this, but I was so surprised to hear she is in foal!
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-31-2010, 07:33 PM
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I remember you speculating your mare might be bred, but I hadn't heard if it was confirmed or not! Congratulations, how exciting, I know you have said before you would love to raise a foal

As far as feed, I had Freyja on a sweet feed ration when I got her, but due to her chronic thrush problems I switched her over to Nutrena Safechoice. She stayed on that all through her pregnancy until just this last month, (she's on day 356 of her pregnancy) I have continued to give her her 3 qt ration of Nutrena Safechoice am and pm, but have also been adding in 1/2 a qt of Nutrena Life Design Mare and Foal - working up to an additional full qt of that, and she's also getting a midday "snack" of 1 qt of the Lifechoice Mare and Foal......I wasn't planning on adding the foaling formula but she has started looking far too ribby for my tastes - since she was severely malnourished when I got her, I don't want her to take too many steps backwards if I can help it.

But I feed an alfalfa/timothy mix rather than straight alfalfa - you are feeding more protein, so I am not sure what would be the best plan for you.

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post #3 of 6 Old 03-31-2010, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Indyhorse! Yes, I am very excited! (I posted an update on the old thread) A naive mare question.....

But basically, I had the Dr. out Tuesday to do shots and teeth and had him check her again, and viola, this time he felt a foal!!! He thinks she is about 5 months along, although the more I think about it, she has to be at least 5 1/2 months I would think, because I bought her at brought her home at the end of October, around the 18th I believe it was. It probably wasn't too much earlier than mid-October when she got pregnant though because when he examined her for the first time in early November, he didn't think she was in foal.

He was actually a bit doubtful that she needed to be checked again, but said he could recheck if I wanted him too, so I said yes, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, it would be good to know for sure. So then he palpated her, got a little grin, and exclaimed "there's a foal."

So wow, I am super duper excited!

He just kind of cautioned me to give her some grain with the alfalfa so she would get some phosphorous too, because alfalfa is high in calcium, but I was too excited and airheaded to really ask the right questions. I could always call him I suppose, but he probably already thinks I'm a little obsessive!

He did say to just feed "grain" with the alfalfa and not mare/foal grain because they would give even more protein which she doesn't need with the alfalfa. We really can't get good grass hay around here, except for Bermuda, which alot of people seem to like, except my vet doesn't feel it has much nutrition to it. So I dunno, I'm trying to figure out the right approach.

I think I need to just calm down and don't panic or worry, lol! I am so excited I am not thinking straight.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-31-2010, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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PS. I can't wait to see Freyja's baby! She should surely be popping it out anytime now!
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-31-2010, 09:07 PM
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I would feed a ration balancer designed specifically to be fed with alfalfa. It will be formulated to balance the phosphorus. Buckeye and Purina both have one (I think) just google their websites and look for ration balancer, then find the alfalfa one.

That's probably your easiest route.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-31-2010, 09:09 PM
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bermuda doesn't do well around here, so I don't have any firsthand experience with it, but it seems I have heard that before - that it provides a lot of roughage but is lower in nutritional value.

You might be better off with a pelleted feed rather than a grain, but then again you might not, because most pelleted feeds are also in an alfalfa base aren't they? I think the main thing is really to give her all the hay she wants. I know there are a lot of people on here that are very smart about feeds, they have given me some very good recommendations, but it's all different with the difference in hay. I don't generally give feed to my horses at all, just lots of hay, Freyja only gets it because she was too skinny, and she has been nursing/preggers since I got her.

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