HELP nursing mare losing weight - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By waresbear
  • 2 Post By verona1016
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-20-2013, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Question HELP nursing mare losing weight

HI this is my first time to post. I have a mare who was a rescue got her in august and thought she was pregnant and she gave birth to a lovely foal 3 weeks ago now i am totally worried about her as she has lost weight, i feed her oats, beet pulp and hay, the foal is doing really well i guess that is why mum is losing weight by the way this is my first experience with a horse and baby so any help would really be appreciated. Is there anything else i can give her to put weight back on i was thinking of getting some mare and foal feed from the suppliers hopefully that will work, i gave her a wormer the day after baby was born (because she was a big surprise though a lovely one)
Hope to hear something good responses thanks in advance
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-20-2013, 11:34 PM
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With a nursing mare, I wouldn't fool around, her baby depends on her. I would call a vet.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-21-2013, 12:17 AM
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If she's loosing weight, than simply put she needs more food. On the surface, I would think she's probably deficient in Ca and protein as well. How much of each product is she eating and what type of hay? She needs hay in front of her 24/7. A nursing light mare will easily eat 50# of grass hay a day. At 3 weeks the foal should be eating grain as well to reduce her demands on the mare. I would not be feeding the foal oats as it's very inverted in Ca:P which will put her development behind (unless you are feeding alfalfa).
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-21-2013, 11:48 AM
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Unlimited hay and a mare and foal type grain would probably be a good place to start. I'm with waresbear, though- definitely worth consulting a vet before it gets out of hand!
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-21-2013, 02:01 PM
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I agree with having a vet out to take a look and putting the mare on a mare/foal feed. How much beet pulp is she getting? Hay and water in front of her at all times. And yes the foal is probably ready for a little grain, one made for foals and I would wet it a little to avoid choke.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-21-2013, 02:17 PM
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I don't have any experience with lactating mares, but I recently took an equine nutrition course, and the instructor told us that mares in the early stages of lactation require twice the energy as a horse at maintenance (ie. not pregnant or working). After 12 weeks, the mare will require about 1.75 times the energy as a horse at maintenance.

This is also significantly higher than what she required while pregnant, so if you didn't up her ration, that's probably your problem right there. Her total feed intake might go up to 2.5% of her bodyweight.

I agree it's worth consulting a vet if you don't have experience with this (my vet clinic is great - I can call them with a question at any time).

Make sure she's getting a good quality forage. The instructor also suggested feeding a "stud mix" (this was a UK course), but make sure it doesn't comprise more than 40% of the ration. I would guess the same would go for any grain you're feeding.

You might also want to try adding oil to her ration to up the energy. However, I would definitly talk to a vet before doing this. Oil needs to be added slowly (upping it by 100 ml per week according to this course), and I believe you'd also need to add vitamin E to keep it in balance. You also shouldn't add any more than 100 ml per 100 kg of the horse's weight.
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