Q. My mare had her first foal final week—a stupendous filly! Every little thing began out very effectively. The filly nursed, and my mare accepted her with out problem. Nevertheless, now the foal isn’t gaining weight. I’ve heard that typically maiden mares don’t create sufficient milk. Ought to I complement her with milk replacer?
A. Congratulations on the delivery of your filly! Having a foal might be enchanting, though on the similar time fairly disturbing as a result of so many issues can go unsuitable. For those who haven’t finished so already, I strongly suggest contacting your equine veterinarian, who would possibly wish to assess the foal and rule out any medical trigger for the shortage of progress.
Generally a mare doesn’t produce sufficient milk to assist the foal’s calls for. Foals of this age are nursing within the rage of 4 to 6 instances per hour, and this suckling motion helps stimulate milk manufacturing. The calls for made on the mammary tissue early on assist set the stage for a way a lot milk the mare will produce later. Loads of early suckling is vital so the mare can assist the foal’s wants as she grows. If the difficulty is that the foal doesn’t have a lot drive to nurse, a veterinarian might want to decide the trigger.
If given your vet’s “all clear” to complement with milk replacer, you’ll discover a number of good commercially produced ones designed particularly for foals. Use these and never replacers created for different species comparable to goats or cattle. Each species has a milk composition barely totally different and distinctive to their wants.
Due to the necessity for frequent suckling, feed the foal advert lib milk replacer is greatest, ensuring it’s always obtainable. That is higher than meal feeding her at instances which might be handy for you however maybe not in sync with when the foal needs to nurse. Additionally, presenting a foal with rare massive replacer quantities directly dangers overdrinking, and milk would possibly find yourself within the hindgut the place it will possibly disrupt microbial inhabitants improvement.
Maintain monitor of how a lot replacer the foal is consuming every day. A foal born to a 1,000-pound mare would possibly eat as much as 4 kilos of replacer a day, at which level you possibly can transition to free feeding a milk-based pellet.
Be sure you’re creating the milk replacer with a dry matter content material of 10%. Lower than this stage of dry matter would possibly go away the foal hungry. From month one to 4 the foal would possibly eat 1 pound of replacer per 100 kilos of her physique weight. The quantity of milk the mare is offering will dictate how a lot the foal must eat from the supplemental supply, so don’t be alarmed in case you see some variation in how a lot she consumes every day. Maintain a journal so you possibly can see the every day consumption stage and have the ability to establish when you possibly can transition to pellets or to document indicators indicating she wants veterinary assist.
With cautious administration and supplementation, it’s best to have the ability to guarantee your foal is receiving the proper airplane of diet to totally meet her genetic potential and develop at an acceptable fee.