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Old 01-20-2006, 07:27 PM  
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How much feed for preg mare

I have an 18 year old mare that I bought in November. She was bred when I bought her. When I got her, she was pretty thin, except for the bottom of her belly. But, she was ribby and didn't have a lot of tone. Well, since that time, we've put a good bit of weight on her.

I personally think she could use a little more weight on her, she is still kind of sunken on the side of her withers but, not as bad. Her butt looks good and I've seen her fill out a lot in the time since we've had her. It could be her age (the withers), I just don't know the norm for her.

Right now, it seems like I am feeding this mare a ton of food and I don't want to overdo it. By the way, our hay here stinks. The best we've been able to get is Alicia Bermuda but it is dirty and dusty and it is too stemmy for my liking but, it is all we can get.

This is the "recipe" she gets 2x a day.

1 coffee mug of Calf Manna
1 coffee mug of Rice bran
2 coffee mugs of beet pulp (I soak it and it turns into about 6)
1 gallon of Merit 16% Mare and Foal feed

She also gets free choice of our yucky hay.

I know it is an odd assortment of things but everyone was telling me something different so I figured I'd take a little of everyone's advice.

What do you think? Too much, too little?

How can I expect her nutritional requirements to change once she is nursing?

Are there any drawbacks to fattening up a pregnant mare? Can the foal get too big?

I'll take some pics of her tomorrow and you can tell me if she looks like she needs more weight. By the way, she is due to foal any day now.
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Old 01-20-2006, 07:38 PM  
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Sounds good to me! I also feed rice bran to my colts and due to foal mares. Are you talking coffee mug as in about 2 cups or coffee can? You could probably feed more rice bran to her, it's good for fattening up horses. If it's the pelleted kind she will probably eat it better than if it's powdered. One place I worked we used to feed the really hard keepers up to a large coffee can 2x a day of the powdered kind, but that was before they made it in pellets. I wouldn't worry about her getting too fat. Once she has the colt she'll loose quite a bit of weight the first couple of weeks because she'll be too busy worrying about him than eating. Putting weight on her will not cause the foal to grow too big. They will only grow as big as the mare's uterus will allow them to. The better shape you can get her into the better quality milk she will have for her foal. If you wanted to instead of the calf manna you could add milk replacement pellets (Foal-Lac) once she's a week or two from foaling and until she weans off the colt. That will give her the calcium she needs without stripping it out of her bones. Just keep feeding her it's really hard to put weight on a pregnant mare that started out skinny.
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Old 01-20-2006, 07:50 PM  
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Thank you for that. I have been so darn worried I'm doing it wrong. It would kill me if I ended up colicking my horse because I was feeding her too much.

The rice bran is the powdered kind. I intend to use every single bit of it if I can. I had to pay $38.00 for the darn bag AND I had to drive 50 miles to get it. (Can you tell I love my horses?) My local feed store just said rice what??? I was really worried about feeding too much of everything. Oh, and I did mean a coffee mug like you drink out of, not a coffee can. Does it sound like I am feeding her enough? The difference in her weight and the pregnancy is really throwing me for a loop as far as how much of everything to give. Before this, we just gave each one a set amount and never needed to adjust.

So, if I am understanding correctly, I mostly have to be careful of not overfeeding the grain feed? The beet pulp and rice bran would be harder to overdo? As it is, when I bring her her feed, her bucket is all the way full. It just seems like so much. Of course, half of it is the beet pulp. Oh, and she is already so huge (all belly). She is due any day now.

Thanks,

Jaime
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Old 01-20-2006, 08:10 PM  
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Yes, you're right on the grain vs. hay. It's really hard to overfeed a pregnant mare hay especially if it's not very rich. As long as she's pregnant you don't really have to worry about overfeeding on the beet pulp because she needs the extra calcium right now. I would watch the grain (personal opinion) but because you are feeding a "crappy" hay she probably needs the extra protein right now. If you're worried about feeding too much grain at one time split it up into another meal. When I had a mare that we rescued we would feed her right away in the morning before work, as soon as we got home from work and then right before we went to bed. The feedings wern't evenly spaced but it was the best we could do. You could also try switching her to a pelleted feed if you feel she's not getting enough out of her feed? Yeah I know back to the pellets vs. grain argument. But sometimes some horses just don't chew raw grains as well. But most pellets now are designed to just kind of fall apart when the get wet so don't have to be chewed to be digested. Just a personal opinion. Once she's had the foal you can encourage the foal to start eating grain right away and then he can start eating his own meals and help poor mom out!
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Old 01-20-2006, 08:34 PM  
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From someone who has been there many times with thin pregnant mares, most of the feed will go to the growing foal.
Once she foals and the foal is weaned, she should start picking her weight back up. She is allready at a disadvantage of being thin now and with a foal nursing, will still be a lot for her. I had a mustang mare that came back in, very thin, with a small belly.
After a few days, I knew she was still pregnant.
2 months later she foaled, healthy foal, but it still was longer until she
got her weight back, and she was a 5 year old.
You are doing great and if she is starting to pick up, I would not change a thing.
I wish you all the luck for a healthy foal and momma back to weight.
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