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Critical Factors For A Successful Broodmare Horse Nutrition Program

Martin W. Adams, PhD, PAS - Equine Nutritionist for Southern States

There are many important areas that must be continually addressed in order to manage a successful broodmare operation. Following are the most critical factors to ensure a successful nutrition program for broodmares.

  • Good Forage Quality -proper soil fertility will result in the highest yield and nutritional quality of pasture grasses for broodmares. Analysis of hay is essential to determine its acceptability for the broodmare diet. Providing quality hay that contains a minimum 8% crude protein, maximum 40% ADF (acid detergent fiber) and maximum 60% NDF (neutral detergent fiber), each on an as fed basis, will insure that broodmares can consume adequate amounts of digestible energy and maintain adequate body condition during breeding, pregnancy and lactation.
  • Proper Body Condition Score - A body condition score (BCS) of 5 to 6 provides the broodmare with adequate fat stores necessary for an optimal conception rate. Mares that are too thin and enter the breeding season with a BCS of less than 5 will have reduced reproductive efficiency.
  • Adequate Nutrient Intake - Many times there is adequate pasture or hay to maintain broodmares in proper body condition with supplementation of small amounts of grain or concentrate. However, forage is deficient in major and trace minerals that are important for proper development of the growing fetus in the pregnant mare. The use of a supplement or ration balancer pellet, especially during the first 8 months of the broodmare’s gestation period provides a concentrated source of protein, vitamins and minerals and meets nutrient requirements with a low feeding rate. This type of product includes Legends CarbCare Balancer Pellet (recommended feeding rate of 1½ to 2 lbs/head/day for a pregnant broodmare).

Southern States has products and services for all of your equine nutrition needs: including soil testing and analysis, fertilizer recommendations, hay testing and analysis, body condition scoring, ration analysis and feeding recommendations, an electronic weighing program and horse feeds and supplements. Please visit your local Southern States retail location for more information.

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