Throughout the first few weeks, the foal is
completely dependent on its mothers milk for nutrients, after
this time milk quality will decrease and the foals requirements
will not be met fully by the mares milk.
At about 14 days, foals will start to nibble the mares hard
feed and at this time a creep feed such as SPILLERS Youngstock
Pellets can be given. A good rule of thumb is a pound of feed
per month of age for thoroughbreds but this should be restricted
by half of for those of native breeding. Forage intake is naturally
low at first to allow time for the hindgut microflora to establish.
Aim for constant growth, avoid overfeeding as this may predispose
the foal to Developmental Orthopaedic Disease (DOD). The best
feeding regime is to offer several small feeds each day whilst
gradually increasing the forage part of the diet.
Whether you have bred the foal yourself or have just
collected him after weaning knowing, what to feed can often
be confusing. We all want to do the best by our foals and until
now most of their requirements have been taken care off by their
mother. Now it’s time for us as their owners to make the
best feeding decisions for them.
Weaning usually takes place between the 4th
and 7th month and can be one of the most stressful periods of
the horses life. Often weaning can result in some weight loss
and temporary slow down in growth, any temptation to increase
the concentrate ration to make up for this should be avoided.
Rapid weight gains may aggravate or cause Developmental Orthopaedic
Disease (DOD). Ensuring the foal is eating enough forage approx.
0.5kg/day per 100kg and concentrates 1kg/day prior to weaning
should help to prevent set backs.
SPILLERS Youngstock Pellets or Stud and Youngstock Mix are ideal
to feed to your weanling right up to 18-24 months of age. Both
are formulated with controlled levels of starch and an optimum
balance of energy sources from cereals, oil and digestible fibre
for a balanced growth curve, they also contain high levels of
vitamin E important for muscle integrity in growing horses.
Native ponies or good doers
Native pony or warmblood foals need special dietary
consideration due to their propensity to put on weight. Stud
feeds should be fed at a lower level, or a lower energy feed
used. This topped up with a breeding supplement such as EQUIVITE
Stud Formula will provide all the important vitamins, minerals
and proteins without the calories.