The dream of many 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 not only the health and development of the foals can be positively influenced but also the fertility of the mares.
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 mares and providing carotene additionally boosts the fertility of 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 per cent 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. The embryo is not yet connected to the uterus at this time and the risk of losing the embryo is correspondingly high. Feed should not be too energy-rich during the following months. Here less is more.
Supply of vitamins
From 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 milk for newborns contains antibodies that are important for the survival of the foal.