Skinny Nursing Mare
I'm looking for advice on a better way to put weight on my nursing mare.
She currently gets 6lbs of mare and foal, per the directions on the bag, and 6oz of oil, and hay of coarse. I'm really just looking for a better feed than mare and foal that would help her put weight on faster. It's been six weeks since she foaled but she also lost a lot of weight during her pregnancy. The mare and foal feed seems to have kept her from losing anymore but not the greatest at putting it back on. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
I was thinking of keeping the mare and foal, but adding another scoop. So she would get 4lbs in the am and 4lbs in the pm. And then I was thinking of adding beet pulp, but I'm not sure how much to give.
Any thoughts at all?
She needs more concentrates and more/better quality hay. Some of my mares get 10-12# of concentrates per day when nursing (4-6 meals) so 6# can safely be bumped up. Get the foal on his own bucket of grain with 1/4# to start. Everything he eats on his own is that much less he will take from the mare. Adding 5-10# alfalfa a day is another easy way to get more calories into her. BP has roughly the same calories as grass hay amd much more expensive.
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I don't know what kind of mare & foal feed you're giving, nor do you give the weight your mare SHOULD be at, so I'm gonna just generalize with Purina Omolene 300.
For a 1000 lb LACTATING mare she should be getting 12.5 lbs/day, so 6.25 lbs 2X/day or 4.2 lbs 3X/day. She should also be getting a minimum of 12 lbs of hay/day, but I prefer to give free choice grass hay. If you're feed directions on the bag are similar to the Omolene's then you should increase her feed by 1 lb per feeding, so from 6 lbs to 8 lbs/day for 1 week, then go to 10 lbs/day for 1 week and then 12.5 lbs from there on. If she needs to be bigger, then you increase proportionately. For me, I generally feed for a 1200 lb mare until I'm comfortable with how the mare I wanted to be 1000 lbs looks and then I back down to that amount of feed for maintenance.
You don't say how old or what size the foal is, so I can't really guess how much feed to give them in a creeper.
I went ahead and bought a bag of beet pulp since I hadn't gotten any answers all day. What I found in my online reasearch was that beet pulp has more calories per pound than alfalfa hay and certainly more than grass. Sky is photosensative so alfalfa was never an option and I thought the beet pulp could help give her the calories she would normally get from alfalfa. Today I soaked 2 dry lbs but she wouldn't touch it. Maybe it will be gone in the morning.
That being said, I made a big oversight. I was feeding Sky based on the pregnant mare instructions on the bag and not the lactating mare instructions. Another closer look today told me I should basically be giving her double what I have been. Poor thing suffers so much for her owner being a newb. I've never delt with a horse that had needs beyond hay, so it's a learn as I go process. The other mare at the barn, that had a foal two months before Sky, did just fine on a little extra alfalfa.
LHP, thank you for your response. Unfortunately Sky can not eat alfalfa, but it is the hay of choice around here, making the grass a take what I can get type thing. It looks to be pretty good quality and I get it from the main supplier around here who supplies to all the feed stores.
I'll keep in mind to start giving the baby a little of his own feed.
DA, thank you for your response. Sky SHOULD be about 950 pounds. At her current weight I am going to slowly work her up to 12lbs a day of the mare and foal, not the extra scoop that I stated before. The foal is six and a half weeks old.
Cheona was under-weight when we got her, @ 300lbs, and Switchback was only a few weeks old at that point. So I put out a round bale just for them and put her on 8lbs of 14% creep mixed with Patriot 14/6. She ate 3 round bales in a month and a half!!! But has filled out beautifully! Switchback wasnt interested in feed till he was over 2 months old but is doing great eating his own meals now at 3 months. I know the hay, which was freshly baled and brought straight from the field, played the biggest part in her weight gain. She has finally slowed down on how fast a 1000lb round bale disappears, ha! I also want to add that Cheona has her own 50lb mineral block and in 2 1/2 months it is nearly gone! That is important in itself as we are experiencing extreme temps already this year and she has to stay hydrated to produce milk!
Beet Pulp should help your girl with the extra needs she has :). Nursing mums need so much more than anyone else!
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I don't even know where to get a round bale around here haha. Even if I could, there's nowhere to put it. Space is pretty limited. The best I could do is throw her square bale in her pen with her. I don't know, do people do that? That's probably a stupid question, but you hear people talk about round bales or having hay in front of them all the time for weight gain, but not just chucking them a square bale to munch on. I have a feeling she would eat it really fast, being in her pen where there's nothing to do BUT eat. I'll do it though, if people think it's a good idea.
She won't touch the beet pulp. I soaked 2lbs, which made a crap load of beet pulp. Is that too much? Guess it doesn't matter until she decides to eat it.
Is there anything I can add to it, to make it more appitizing for her?
I use the beet pulp shreds with molasses, which is all I can buy where I live, and all my horses seem to like it.
Tossing a square bale to each pen is common practice at my place, but that's changing as hay supplies will not be plentiful. Once she gains some weight, you could consider using a small mesh hay bag, or even use the bale size one. You just put the hay net on the nale and put it in her hay feeder. There's a link to a pic on one of these threads, or you can look at any good equine supply website.
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You can give her 1/2 of the square bale at a time rather than throw it all out if you think it will get dirty. The more hay she eats the better. She needs the long stem roughage to make her digestive system work well.
I would rather feed my mare a bale a day of grass hay than to feed a limited supply of alfalfa. It comes out cheaper that to feed grass hay, and you can feed all you want to without hurting her. Regardless of how much she eats, if she is too thin, it is not enough. You cannot, however, just feed more and more grain. Eventually it will be too much.
My suggestion is feed more hay. And then more hay. Lots of hay. All the hay she will eat.
Ease her into the beet pulp .. soak just and handful and put it with her grain .. maybe she'll grow used to it..
Don't beat yourself up, hon, it's all a learning experience..
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