Mare and foal: proper nutrition during gestation and lactation

Spring, time for births
We ask experts how to support the broodmare and foal with healthy and balanced nutrition

la dieta della fattrice harrison horse care blog

The nutrition the mare receives has an obvious influence on the foal’s growth and development, both during the gestation period and after birth through lactation.


This makes it very common to see mares losing weight during lactation, as they go to use their body reserves to meet the needs of lactation.

However, the broodmare will reach the point where she is unable to maintain quality and quantity milk production using only her own supply.

Therefore, it will need adequate nutritional intake to cope with this delicate period.

Add to this the fact that the equine species is one of those with shorter interbirths, so ensuring adequate nutrition will allow us to have a new foal without delay the following year.

the broodmare and foal harrison horse care diet

Often when faced with a mare losing weight, the solution that is implemented is to wean the foal very early: this results in damage to the foal in both the short and long term.

An adequate breastfeeding period is important both nutritionally but also socially and relationally.


The nutritional and energy needs of a pregnant mare increase as pregnancy progresses and with it the size of the foal.

Generally, protein requirements increase significantly, however, only in the last trimester of pregnancy in which 75% foal development occurs.

However, let us remember that it is lactation that is the most nutritionally demanding time in a broodmare’s life (consider that her needs are even double those of a horse in maintenance and exceed those of one competing at high levels).

Energy requirements for protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, selenium and vitamin A are higher.


  • Use a feed specifically formulated for broodmares that is high in energy, protein and contains quality protein
  • Increase the amount of food gradually from the time of delivery
  • To increase milk production, it is useful to feed 2-3 kg of alfalfa hay to the normally consumed forage
  • In order to increase the water supply needed for milk production, feed 500 g of rehydrating mash daily
  • from the age of 2 1/2 months, we can accustom the foal to consuming a special feed: this decreases its nutritional demand to its mother, and by the time it is weaned, it will already be accustomed to its intake.

Our feeds are 100% natural

Harrison Horse Care’s selection of feed prefers natural, fiber-rich, low starch and nutrient-rich products suitable for all types of horses.

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