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We're getting our girl at end of next week, at which time she will be 8.5 months pregnant. She's a 3yo standardbred 14 3hh.

She's currently on oaten hay - there's no grazing. I'll be moving her to an acreage with plenty of grass - there will be 3 other horses, I'll close off a gate, they'll have 10 acres at a time.

I'm hearing mixed things, so not sure what to start her on. Apparently she hasn't lost or put on weight since this pic 12 days ago. In this pic she is 8 months pregnant.

enter image description here

I had been intending to start her small amounts of biomare and slowly increase it. I've found out it contains grains, which are not particularly helpful and want to make up a diet for her.

Also Australian pasture is high in iron and our horses, generally, need supplementation in Copper and zinc.

I'm also going to worm ALL the horses with a equimec plus tape. The farrier will come and trim them all. I'll get the vet to check her teeth, the dentist won't be around for 6 months.

Should I give her hay as well?

The vet will visit her asap after she arrives.

Thoughts?

I've learnt a few lessons since Cleo came to join us and want to make this filly and her baby's health and chances optimal.

  • Not a vet or a horse person but a detail has sprung to my attention. You said she has not put on or lost weight in 12 days while being heavily pregnant. Wtf? – Censored to protect the guilty Feb 3 '18 at 2:02
  • @Censoredtoprotecttheguilty I haven't seen her yet and won't see her for another 6 days. So I'm going on what someone else has told me. I'm concerned about her. – Nobody Feb 3 '18 at 4:38
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Speaking from rabbit experience, which have a lot in common with horses.

Diet changes can be difficult. For the first few weeks I would continue to offer feeds she is used to eating. If you can get them to deliver a couple bales of her current hay when they bring her that would be good.

Optimally, provide her historic diet as a choice, as well as more healthy options (no idea what those might be). Her old diet may be an intersting change for the existing horses, so considering how to ensure she has access to it, without causing the others to over consume it.

With rabbits we usually recommend diet changes over 4 weeks, monitor health and digestion closely during transition, you may need more than a week between steps in some cases.

  • Week 1 = 25% new & 75% old
  • Week 2 = 50% new & 50% old
  • Week 3 = 75% new & 25% old
  • Week 4 = 100% new
  • her old diet atm is just oaten hay - she's being held in a drought affected area and they need hay - there's no pasture and nothing else is being fed to her. I don't know her history prior to this, except that she's underweight. Yep the 4 weeks sounds reasonable. thanks for the borsey - sorry hunny oops bunny/horse advice lol – Nobody Feb 1 '18 at 14:38
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    @YvetteColomb if the delivery person is making a round trip, you might consider trading 2 bales of your better hay for each bale of her hay. At a slice or two a day, it might be nice to have 2 or 3 bales of her old hay for the first month. Of course if the driver is not returning to the same location this will not work. Also keep in mind my reference is rabbits which are extremely diet oriented for good health outcomes. I don't know how sensitive horses are to diet change. – James Jenkins Feb 1 '18 at 14:50
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    Probably a similar sensitivity - though I am guestimating – Nobody Feb 1 '18 at 15:02
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Hay

She'll be fed large round bales of hale with slow feeder hay-nets, to help prevent colic and wastage.
She'll be started with ad-lib oaten hay - the same type that she's on now. This hay will gradually be replaced.

If she has to remained contained in a smaller paddock for the remainder of the pregnancy, she will be fed ad-lib grass hay (probably Rhodes), grassy lucerne (a mixture of lucerne and grass hay) or second grade lucerne (she doesn't need too much prime lucerne, it's high in protein and calcium).

If she is able to spend time in the larger paddocks, she will be supplemented with some hay.

Pasture

She'll be hand grazed on pasture a couple of times a day to start getting used to the fresh grass. She's likely to scour if she has access to ad-lib pasture after having none. When we're confident she'll be settled with the other horses and will cope with ad-lib pasture we'll allow her the run of the larger paddocks with the rest of the herd. Beginning with a few hours a day, increasing.

Feed

After investigating biomare and other packed feed, I decided to stick with the homemade recipe I use for my other others as needed, that has no grains and is low in starch.

Her feeds will be well wet down to aide digestion and sneak in her supplements.

  1. First week she will be given 1 litre of lucerne chaff three times a day, her supplements will be mixed in with this once a day.
  2. Second week the lucerne chaff will be increased to up to double and she'll be introduced to sugar beet flakes that are soaked in water.
  3. Third week, she'll be introduced to small amounts of soaked lupins and copra and the lucerne chaff and sugar beet will be increased gradually. These ingredients, combined with the supplements are the basis of her ongoing diet for late pregnancy and lactation.
  4. Fourth week, continue to increase quantities with a ratio of 3:2 copra:lupins (dry weight).
  5. Ongoing, the feeding regime will be contingent upon her needs and weight gain/loss/stability. Her nutritional needs will increase after she's given birth.

Supplements

With the chaff she'll be given salt, an equine mix with copper, zinc and selenium suited to Australian pastures and a prebiotic daily to her her gut restore to balance, daily. She most likely will be put onto lecithin daily to help with any ulcers she's likely to have. A probiotic mix will be made up using kefir grains.

She will be given linseeds or an oil specialised for horses without access to fresh pasture that assists in balancing the omega 3, 6 and 9 ratios. This will assist inflammation and other processes. Grass loses is store of omega 3 when processed into hay. She'll stay on this until she is out with access to as-lib pasture.

Worming

To begin with she will be kept in a small dirt yard where she will be wormed, to help stop the spread of worms throughout the property.

Paddocking

She will be kept separate from the other horses when she's ready to foal and while the foal is young. Horses are social creatures, so it's important not to isolate them. She will still be able to have contact with the rest of the herd, but safely behind a fence.

As a side note, someone was concerned my horses won't come when I call them. Anyone who has experience with feeding horses knows, they will come when you call them :D

Before and after shots, when she first arrived and 2.5 months later.

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