Feeding for fertility
As a rule a mare will be in oestrus (in heat) every three weeks from early spring through September. This fertile period of the mare lasts 3 to 7 days. When a mare is in heat, she will display physical and behavioural changes, although this is not the case for every mare.
Effect of nutrition on fertility
Energy supply (carbohydrates, oils and fats)
The amount and kind of energy have their effect on the hormone regulation and thus on the ovulation of the mare.
- A mare in heat shouldn’t be too skinny, because that may cause fertility problems.
- A mare that is loosing weight is less fertile.
Too much food during gestation is not advisable, because the young foal will grow too fast, which is not good for a healthy bone growth.
It is also important that your mare is not too heavy during the time she is lactating. It will make the milk too rich, which is not good for the bone growth of the young animal.
Quality of the protein
The amount and quality of the protein have their effect on the hormone regulation of the mare.
- Extra essential amino acids improve the fertility of your mare.
- In the last 3 months of her pregnancy, a mare needs extra amino acids for the development of the foal.
- During lactation, a lack of protein can cause a decrease in the milk supply
Vitamins and minerals
Your horse or foal cannot stay healthy without vitamins and minerals.
Beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A
Beta-carotene has a positive effect on the fertility. There is less chance for early-embryonic death and the mare will have a better heat cycle.
A shortage of vitamin E
Vitamin E promotes the fertility in mares
- A shortage of vitamin E in the pregnant mare can result in a deformity of the foal (muscular disorder, white muscles) or abortion
The function of selenium can be compared with the positive effect of vitamin E on the fertility.
I want to improve the fertility of my mare
Your mare needs a complete energy-balance for an optimum fertility. Consider feeding a specialist brood mare feed such as PAVO Podo Lac.
What can I do?
Provide as much consistency as possible in care and nutrition. Usually a regular diet, custom-made to meet the required performance of your horse, is sufficient for an optimal energy-balance. It is also important to pay attention to stall hygiene and a stress-free environment. Sufficient ventilation, regular exercise and the absence of sick horses nearby are also imperative.
When your mare has experienced problems with her fertility in the past, we recommend to add a special supplement Pavo Fertile to her daily ration at least 3 to 4 weeks prior to the planned breeding date. Continue until the mare is at least 3 weeks pregnant.
The behavior of your mare will show you that these specific nutrients improve the fertility and heat cycle of your mare. The correct vitamins and minerals also diminish the risk of early embryonic death of the embryo.
- Robert Lickley