Successful feeding for a good start to a horse's life

The dream of many horse owners horse owners: a foal from their own mare. Optimal feed also plays a decisive part alongside management in order for everything to function smoothly. This means that the health and development of the foals can be positively influenced, as well as the fertility of the mares.

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Optimal feed plays a decisive role on the fertility of the mare as well as the health and development of the foal. Successful feeding for a good start to a horse's life 
Optimal feed plays a decisive role on the fertility of the mare as well as the health and development of the foal.

Mares who are not in foal should mainly be provided with sufficient roughage in the form of hay and silage, as well as minerals and vitamins. Vitamins E and A promote fertility. In addition, providing carotene promotes fertility in horses. In the open air, the longer days, increasing temperatures and fresh growth in fields during spring also naturally enhance fertility.

“Flushing” with positive effects

As the foal should be born as early as possible for marketing purposes and the mares should also be inseminated earlier, the feed must be adapted to this situation. The quantity of concentrated feed should be increased by at least 20 percent in the two to three weeks before insemination. This method, known as “flushing”, has a positive effect on ovulation and the fertility rate. After insemination, such feeding should be maintained for a further eight weeks. During this time the embryo is not yet connected to the uterus and the risk of losing the embryo is correspondingly high. Feed should not be too energy-rich during the following months. The following applies here: Less is more.

Adequate supply of vitamins E and A

On the seventh month of pregnancy, the mare's energy requirements increase by 1.25 to 1.4 times the maintenance requirement, and protein, calcium, and phosphorus requirements increase by 1.5 times. Amongst other things, a deficiency can lead to weaker development of the skeleton of the unborn foal. Adequate supply of vitamins E and A ensure that sufficient colostrum is created. This initial milk contains antibodies that are important for the foal's survival.

Derby products meet requirements

Derby Derby Zuchtmüsli Plus and Derby Zucht cover the mare's requirements in minerals, vitamins, energy, and protein. Derby Top Start can support healthy development of the foal when in the womb. During pregnancy particular attention should be given providing the mare with adequate movement, as this has a strong influence on the foal's health. If everything runs smoothly during birth, then the foal should stand up and suckle as quickly as possible. In this case, it takes up important colostrum. The antibodies contained within can only pass through the foal's intestinal wall in the first 24 hours after birth. For this reason, speed is of the essence.

Energy like a racehorse

In order to supply the foal with enough milk, the mare requires as much energy as a racehorse during the suckling period, and three times as much protein as a sports horse. In case of deficiencies body reserves are used, which increases the risk of metabolic disorders and also weakens fertility. For this reason, it is recommended that Derby Zuchtmüsli Plus or Derby Zucht are used as feed, as they both contain high energy and nutrient concentrations. Derby Vital contains brewer's yeast and extracted soy bean meal whilst also providing the mare with protein in the form of high-quality amino acids.

Balanced and tailored feed

The foal requires balanced and tailored feed for optimum development. Initially the mare's milk provides all necessary nutrients, however from the sixth week of life onwards the feed should also help supply nutrients. In such a case it is expedient to use Derby foal muesli as feed and to get the foal used to feeding on it relatively early. Nutrition-related developmental disorders such as, for example, osteochondrosis, can be countered by providing Derby Top Start. Sufficient movement and contact to fellow animals are just as important for the foal. Only then can a good start to the foal's life be guaranteed.

More information about this topic is available from Dr Hans-Peter Karp, tel. +0049 251 682-2560, und

Information: Muesli sticks for sport and hobby horses
The new Derby muesli sticks combine the positive features of traditional pellet and muesli products. Due to the special processing technology, the components within are highly mixed into a stick whilst maintaining their natural structures. This means that fibre-rich components remain, which increases chewing activity and salivation. Derby muesli sticks feed sport and hobby horses based on the most recent scientific research.

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