How to Spark Appetite Post Foaling

Post Foaling

The birth of a foal is an exciting day, except perhaps for the mare giving birth. Mares, like humans, are individuals, and each will react to foaling in their own way. Mares tend to behave similarly from year to year, so keeping track of her behavior can be helpful for the next time around. Mares that have not foaled before can foal a bit early or late. Also, mares that are nervous or high-strung can prolong gestation by resisting the normal process of delivery. When attempting to predict foaling dates, use the breeding dates, any history of the mare’s previous gestations and your veterinarian’s input to estimate. One sure way to know birth is on its way is to track when the nipples begin to “wax,” as this is a fairly reliable indicator that the foal will be born within the next day or so. Foaling generally occurs between 10pm and 4am, so if a mare that normally eats well is uninterested in her dinner, she may be close to delivery.

This lack of appetite is fine just before delivery, but if it continues it quickly becomes a problem that needs to be addressed. There are many factors that lead to this lack of appetite, depression, exhaustion and plain old digestive upset. Just like humans, horses’ stomachs can play tricks on them and become upset. This can occur after an injury, travel, weather change, etc. We can learn from all of these experiences so when an important time for an appetite to not disappear occurs, like post foaling, we are prepared to help out.

Madeline Reich of Windwood Equestrian in Alabama relays a personal story of how she addressed appetite challenges in a broodmare with the help of Amaferm. “One of my most current applicable experiences was with a broodmare at my farm that had just had her foal weaned. This process can be stressful for mares and in this case it caused her to be anxious and nervous and interfered with her appetite. Growing babies’ appetites take a toll on the mare’s weight anyway, because of the amount of milk they require and in the above situation that was further complicated by the baby eating all of his mom’s grain before she could. We knew that increasing the mare’s food was crucial when weaning her from her foal. We also knew that hydration was very important, as dehydration can be a big factor in loss of appetite.

However, a few days after we weaned this mare, I noticed she was not eating well. We immediately put her on the Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste (transitioned to Vitalize® Equine Recovery Gel July 2019). This paste aids in helps to increase appetite by providing a more comfortable feeling gut. In addition to the paste she was put on a daily dose of the Amaferm Digest More pellets. Her weight is improving along with her all around appearance and demeanor. Keeping hay in front of her at all time has also helped with the weight gain. We feel comfortable putting her back in work now that she has a full appetite and her over all body condition has improved. Yes, birth through weaning is a stressful process for mares, but an uncomfortable stomach and lack of appetite is not going to help the situation. Help your mare out by giving her these products to see the difference in her all around appearance and health. This product is safe for the foal and such a beneficial dietary supplement for an overall more comfortable and healthy broodmare. I recommend getting it into your breeding program.”