The Horse

APR 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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36 April 2019 The Horse | height gains, however, were similar. When choosing a milk substitute, look for products that have been formulated to mimic the nutrient composition of mare's milk with additional trace minerals and vitamins. And, indeed, the key to suc- cessful milk-substitute feeding is to offer small amounts often—mimicking natural nursing patterns—so as not to upset the foal's sensitive digestive tract. "To effectively feed young orphan foals so that growth and gastrointestinal health remain normal is a fairly labor-intensive job," Lawrence says. "Allowing the foal to nurse the mare until it's a few months old is much more desirable, making a nurse mare a good idea for orphans." While a foal is still nursing, be it from his dam or a nurse mare, he will also begin nibbling on forage and eating out of the mare's feed tub. These are natu- ral and acceptable behaviors. For most young horses you don't need to introduce additional feed at this stage. A mare's milk production peaks about two months after foaling. After this, Brown-Douglas says, milk begins to play less of a role in the foal's diet. This is an ideal time to begin introducing a feed for- mulated for growing horses. Such feeds contain the correct balance of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for growth. Feeding it in a separate tub introduces the foal to eating on his own, which will prepare him for weaning. Weaning Time Weaning might occur as early as 3 months of age for some foals, or not until 6 months or later for others, depending on a farm's management practices. Foals can be weaned at a very early age but will need alternate nutrient sources. On average, most foals still receive 30-50% of their required nutrients from milk at 4 months of age, Lawrence says, though by then they are accustomed to eating solid foods. NUTRITION W h e n p e r f o r m a n c e c o u n t s . . . Uncover the ULTRAǦPREMIUM difference at . ADM Animal Nutrition™ Equine Help Line 800Ǧ650Ǧ8254

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