What Is The Best Time Of Year To Breed?
Mares have a natural breeding season. Increasing daylight stimulates receptor centers in the brain, which in turn trigger the production of reproductive hormones. These hormones initiate the pattern of regular periods of 'heat", or estrous, that characterize the breeding season each spring. These periods continue throughout the summer, and cease during the autumn.
By artificially increasing the amount of light - for instance, by using electric lights in a stable - it is possible to begin the breeding season earlier. This practice is prevalent in Thoroughbred studs, which try to produce the foals as near as they can to January 1st, the official birthday of all Thoroughbred racehorses.
The ideal time for a foal to be born is between May and July, when most grass is available to help the mare's milk supply. Because pregnancy in horses lasts 11 months, the best time to have the mare covered is from June through August.
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I disagree with that and say the best time is region dependant. Here, foals born in July can (and have) died from heat. Here the best time is Feb and March. We have triple digits in April.
I am in Minnesota. I am not breeding in August to have a July foal. WAY too hot for a tiny body to stay hydrated!
I say, think twice before you breed at any time of year. Ask your self, "Why do I want to breed"? In my opinion there are way to many homeless and unloved and uncared for horses out there. Same goes for dogs, cats, reptiles ect. I know many of you want to breed your mare in order to raise your own little one from birth and because it will come from your favorite mare. That is a selfish reason to breed. Perhaps instead you could adopt one of the many thousands of homless horses out there that need you. Just a thought....
In my area, I think the best time to have a foal born is mid-late April, and mid-Junhe. I live in Ontario, so we still get heavy snowfall in April. Heck, we even had snow on the ground on Mother's Day this year! After June the flies are very bad, as well as the temperature. We get 40 degrees celcius some days, without humidity!
I think my filly was born at a good time, April 25. The flies weren't too bad, and it was warm, but not too cold or too hot. Perfect for her to just run around and be a foal without me having to worry about her overheating.
I think it depends on the area though, since climate varies everywhere.
It has to be a time frame where the foal will not get overheated when little, as well too cold. Bugs also have to be considered as you do not want the naval to get infected from flies or other bugs.
the breeding barn in my area, Michigan, cover their mares in February for near January first foals. They do this so that the foal is large in size for the futurities in the fall. However, they do have a large heated barn and temperatures stay about 60 all winter.. so along with the regional climate heated barns play a huge part as well.
It really is dependent on your weather and your facilities.
The best natural time to breed in our are (pacific northewest) is April, May, June. A March foal could be too early depending on the weather we are having but with blankets and a barn it should not be an issue..........it also rarely gets to hot in our area.........lots of foals are born in July and August in our area.
Yep, it differs depending on area and your plans for the horse. Racing breeders and most QH breeders prefer January foals just because that give the horse more time to mature before starting training for the racing/showing they will do as a 2 year old. For me, since I don't show, I prefer an early spring (march) or fall (sept/oct) baby. While our winters are generally pretty mild, we do have the occasional bitter cold. Our summers, however, are dangerous with temps usually in the triple digits. My baby was born in July and I worried about him constantly when I would see him just standing in the shade covered in sweat with his head down.
We always aimed for anything from Feb to April as we had Standardbreds, although we did have a few late babies. We had lots of mares foal in March, but they always seemed to miss my birthday the buggars! lol. It's pretty cold here in March sometimes still though.... (Southwestern Ontario)
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