Feeding a stallion at stud
By Wilfried Schaerfke
Wednesday 31 August 2011
You may wish for your stallion to become outstanding in his field. The stallion could demonstrate imposing paces combined with a majestic temperament. He could achieve the highest marks for his birth year. His movement could give evidence about powerful hind, supple back and certain elevation results. Whatever strengths a stallion offers, the following feeding points could help to support him at stud.
Stallions have special nutrient requirements because of the need for increased energy. The energy that stallions need for reproduction may be small, but the energy for the physical activity associated with breeding is large is different for every horse.
However, individual stallions will react differently in terms of energy. Some may become more difficult to control when fed a high energy diet. Modifications in feedings should be based on behaviour and body condition. A balanced diet will provide, in the most cases, all the necessary vitamins for optimal function.
It may take a little longer to prepare certain feeds but some horse owners who have chosen the natural way are so pleased with the results that they will never go back.
Another important benefit is that natural feeding generates horses which look healthy. A second benefit is natural feeding can built up a good resistance to disease. As well as this, natural feeding can mean that any recovery from injury could involve a quicker healing process and a better result in the end.
Normally, performance horses will need high energy grains such as oats, barley or corn. The whole grain can be prepared by freshly crushing, soaking or cooking in minimal time.
Most horses can obtain sufficient energy and protein requirements from black sunflower seeds. You can provide a natural mineral and vitamin supplement when you add high seaweed meal or garlic granules.
The salt of a stallion’s diet should be offered in the form of free access to pieces of natural rock salt. Extra sea salt should be added for performance horses to the feed during the summer.
It is important to be careful regarding the amount of feed given to stallions. There are many unsteady components which affect the condition of horses. It is essential to consider these figures when working out any amounts or types of feeds.
When changing feeding programs it is wise to reduce the old feeds and introduce new feeds over a certain period of time, for example one week or longer.
The stallions should have access to forage in form of pasture or hay all the time.
Over the course of a lifetime, equine feeding schedules need to be changed and adapted as a horse ages and its requirements change. This is especially true when it comes to breeding stallions – so read this guide to learn more about how to set an effective equine nutrition plan for a stallion during the breeding process.
During the breeding process, a stallion can shed a lot of weight. Ensure weight loss does not become a serious problem by planning a specialist nutrition programme to keep the horse’s body weight at a healthy level.
To implement a specialist feeding programme, it’s important to separate a stallion from the rest of the herd – this will allow you to implement individual equine feed and supplements that can combat the unique weight challenges that occur during the breeding season.
Quality of feed
Pay special attention to not only the quantity of the feed provided but also the quality – during breeding, a stallion will need to consume high quality hay (and alternative feed) to ensure all the essential nutrients and minerals needed to maintain a healthy balanced weight are consumed.
Top up a stallion’s diet with supplements as and when necessary. Hydration levels will also need to be monitored closely – if you believe the stallion is suffering from a deficiency of salt, install extra salt blocks into the stall or stable.
Finally, never put two individual stallions together during feeding. At this time, the horse’s behaviour can become erratic, so it’s best to keep close contact between stallions to a minimum to avoid any competition breaking out in a pen.
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