Last-Minute Preps For The Expectant Mare

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As your mare enters the last part of her pregnancy, it’s time to be certain her nutrition is optimal. And it’s not just calories, although a pregnant mare will require about 9% more calories in her ninth month and 17% more calories in her last month than at maintenance.

Protein: The mare’s protein needs jump by about 25%, from 656 grams/day at maintenance to 866 in the last month. Consider a switch to a higher-protein grain, if she gets grain, or adding a protein-mineral supplement, if you don’t want to switch grains. About 4 to 8 oz. per day of a 25-30% protein supplement as she enters the last trimester, working up to 12 to 16 oz/day the last month, should do it for a mare on a base diet of 10 to 12% protein.

Minerals: Your mare’s requirements for calcium and phosphorus double during her last trimester. If the mare is on grass hay or pasture for most of her nutrition, she’s likely to need 10 to 15 grams of calcium on top of what her increased feeding provides, and 7.5 to 11 grams of phosphorus, assuming her maintenance and early pregnancy diet was adequate and balanced. Vitamin A requirements also double, and currently recommended trace mineral levels for pregnant mares — to help prevent developmental bone and joint problems — are set at 2.5 to 3.0 times the maintenance requirement.

If you’re already using a specially fortified mare/foal/performance feed, look at the guaranteed analysis to see if it will get the job done:

• Protein should be 14 to 16%
• Lysine 0.7 to 0.8%
• Calcium 0.75 to 1.4%
• Phosphorus 0.6%
• Copper 50 to 60 ppm
• Zinc 120 to 150 ppm.

You must feed at least five pounds per day of this feed, with free-choice high-quality hay. If she’s getting less than that, add a reduced amount of the 25 to 30% protein-mineral supplement we talked about earlier.

Salt: Pregnant mares may go off feed and are prone to constipation, so add one ounce (2 tbls.) of salt to her daily feed to encourage drinking. If she still has trouble, consider using psyllium (August 2002).

Also With This Article
Click here to view ”Pregnant Mares And Vaccines.”