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Weaning of foals

Weaning of foals

Much is said and many doubts exist about the weaning of colts. When can it be done? How do I have to treat the mother and the foal? What can I do to not slow down the development of my foal? Knowing this, the important thing to be said is that weaning is a phase involving the mare before her delivery, the mother's and foal's diet, and how the management takes place.

The fact is that weaning should still be prepared with the pregnant mares. During gestation? Yes, even during gestation (which in horses is approximately 340 days) we should be alert to the female's body score. More specifically in the final third of gestation the development of the foal arrives at the apex, in this period the mare has a great need of energy and nutrients, but little space to consume large volumes of food. In this way, in many cases it feeds poorly and with foods of very low quality.

A well-nourished mare, mainly in the final third of gestation, offers numerous benefits for a foal: it provides a good development guaranteeing a good weight at birth, an efficient passage of immunity preventing neonatal diseases, decreases rates of diarrhea in the foals and guarantees the adequate supply of milk especially in the first weeks of life.

How are the first 3 months of a colt's life:

Generally many weanings occur within the sixth and eighth months of a foal's life and this should be well planned as different from the adult stage in this period is where development and weight gain will be more significant.

Until the third month of life of the animal, the milk production of the mares is quite sufficient, so much that from that moment on that the milk production of the mare tends to diminish and the nutritional requirements of the colt tends to increase. After this period, supplementation with commercial feed or supplements can be very interesting, since not only the milk volume of the mare decreases but also the nutrients of the milk as well.

In order not to have difficulty in implementing this supplementation, it is important that the foal already have contact with the feed from the 30 days of life, where 100g per day is more than sufficient for this adaptation. This supplementation increases with the passage of time until at the time that milk production decreases the foal should be eating from 800g to 1kg of day feed, preferably fractionated varies times a day.

One care to be taken is that both lack and excess can be very damaging to the foal, as the excess can accelerate the rate of growth to the point of causing orthopedic problems of overweight and / or malformations.

From 3 months of life:

From three months of life on, we can say that a well-fed and raised colt is independent enough to not depend exclusively on the mother, so it is not uncommon for some breeders to wean their foals by the fourth month.

At this stage the digestion of grass fibers by the foal is not so efficient, so that the consumption of concentrate is so necessary for the animal to reach the time of weaning in good body condition. In this case of growth the animal is with a high development of tissues, so an interesting subsidy for this becomes so necessary, in that period a concentrate containing 18 to 20% of protein is important.

Mineral supplementation is important for all equines at any stage and could not be different, a mineral salt is of fundamental importance and the foal having access to it can be a watershed in its development.

An efficient zootechnical bookkeeping makes all the difference in foal breeding, and it consists of noting the morphometric measurements of the animal, such as: weight, height at withers, thoracic perimeter, etc. Through these notes the breeder will be able to make decisions about choice of management and the nutrition of the animal. In the development phase of the animal 90% of the height is determined until 18 months of age and in that period it will acquire 70% of its adult weight.

In order to obtain good horses a whole creation has to be taken into account, females that are lean in the post-weaning period take time to cycle back to their reproductive activity. If weaning management is performed correctly, not only the life of the foal benefits, but that of the mare as well and success in the next gestation of this matrix tends to be greater.

The challenge to obtain excellent horses is not restricted to good genetics and / or training, the success is already in the gestation stage, extending to their full body development.

Some existing supplements can contribute a lot to these phases. Pro-SACC is a living yeast that significantly helps digestibility by providing a selection of the intestinal microbiota, so it selects the intestinal flora that allows the mare in the final third of gestation to better digest the fiber of the grass, increasing production of milk, gaining more weight and passing more immunity to the foal. In the foal o Pro-SACC causes the animal to graze sooner, promoting a faster maturation of the intestine contributing even more to the development.

With many researches in the market there is CRESCER, a supplement for foals that besides improving the intestinal flora provides a contribution of proteins important for development and fundamental for many metabolic and hormonal functions.

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Postado Por: Allan Rômulo

Allan Rômulo
Veterinarian, entrepreneur founder of Univittá Saúde Animal, postgraduate degree in business administration by FGV. Formulator and developer of technologies for animal nutrition, with experience in veterinary marketing and sale of concept products.

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