Need advice on fattening up an underweight mare! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-06-2013, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice on fattening up an underweight mare!

I have a 15y/o mare that is pretty underweight by a few hundred pounds. I am trying to put the weight back on her but I don't want to shock her system and cause her to colic. I have started with giving her smaller meals, more often during the day. She gets one feeding around 7:30 am which is one flake of alfalfa/mix. Then around 5 hours later I let her out to graze for about an hour now. That number has increased from 10 minutes grazing time to now an hour.Our land consists of a mix of grass and weeds. Nothing that can harm her. We did a thorough check. Before she would get diarrhea. Now her stools are normal. Then in the evening around 6:30 I feed her another flake of alfalfa/mix. Sometimes during the day though between her morning feeding and letting her out to graze, or sometimes after she grazes and between her evening feeding, I can her her stomach growling and she makes alot of noise. She seems like she's starving, so I feed her just about 1/2 a flake, maybe not even that, I don't have a way to weigh them. I am just wondering if I am feeding her too much or not enough. Also I am wondering if I can increase the grazing time, b/c we have over an acre of land and she loves being out to graze, but I just have the fear of her colicing in the back of my mind because she is underweight. Any advice would help from you experienced horse people. Thanks!
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-06-2013, 09:31 PM
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Have you talked to your Vet?? that is the place I would start. Also, worms and teeth would be another good starting point.
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-06-2013, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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That is my next step. In the meantime, until I can get a vet to see her, I was just hoping I wasn't overfeeding her. I am hoping if she's full, she would just stop eating but b/c she's underweight not sure. She love's to eat :)
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-06-2013, 10:17 PM
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We have found that Cool Calories 100 works well.

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post #5 of 8 Old 08-06-2013, 10:27 PM
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horses are constant grazers in an ideal world they would never stop eating.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-06-2013, 10:31 PM
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Most horses live to eat, even if they are not underweight. My guy does not have a 'stop eating' button. :)

How many meals is she getting per day? From the sound of it, she's getting about 2 1/2 flakes of alfalfa and an hour of grazing a day, which is not nearly enough for a horse that needs to gain weight. I would work her up to grazing a few hours a day and 10-15lbs (maybe more) of alfalfa per day over a couple of weeks. Let her eat all the hay she wants once she can handle it. If at any point as you're working her up she gets loose stool again, back it down a little and hold it there for a couple of days before working up again. One acre of pasture really isn't that much, so if you want to keep it nice for her, consider learning about pasture management.

One she's on all you can eat hay, if she's still not gaining weight, consider adding grains and/or products like oil, cool cals, ultium, etc.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-06-2013, 10:36 PM
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1 Flake of hay morning and night isn't going to do it. This horse needs at least 25 POUNDS of hay per day.

she IS starving. That's why's she acts like it.

You need to get round bale or something for her to munch on at will during the day. Regular grass hay will do just fine.

and yes, get a vet involved in her recovery.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-06-2013, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! Thank u all for the advice. I will take it all into consideration b/c we really love her and want her to be at her best. She is the sweetest girl and I would love to see us in the future riding the ditch banks and enjoying new adventures. I only hope to learn more everyday.
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