Here are a few interesting equine pregnancy facts as we await the spring delivery of new foals.
The average gestation period for a mare is 340 days or 11 months. Mares typically mate in the summer and give birth in the spring.
Mares are not ‘eating for two’ during early pregnancy so avoid overfeeding protein and energy as well as over-the-counter vitamin and mineral supplements.
A foal fetus does not grow at a constant rate throughout the pregnancy. At 3 months, the foal begins to look like a small horse. By the 7th month, the foal fetus is already at approximately 20% of its birth weight.
Equine nutrition during pregnancy is very important as additional nutrients from a balanced horse food formula are needed to support the developing fetus. Integrity Mare & Foal has the protein, calcium, phosphorus and the other essential nutrients that are required during the latter stages of pregnancy.
The ideal Body Condition Score (BCS) for pregnancy should be between 5.5 and 6, which is moderately fleshy. If energy/nutrients are inadequate during late pregnancy, mares with a good BCS will use body tissues and nutrient stores to support the development of the fetus, causing weight loss.
Over the entire pregnancy, mares can expect to gain 12-15% of their non-pregnant weight. For example, an 1,100 pound mare can expect to gain between 130 – 165 lbs. during pregnancy and the foal’s birth weight will be about 106 pounds.
A whopping 65 – 70% of a mare’s body weight gain occurs in the final 100 -110 days of pregnancy. Average daily body weight gain during the final 90 days of pregnancy ranges from 0.8 – 1.1 lbs. per day.