Sarah asked in PetsHorses · 1 decade ago

Is it OK to feed a 1 and 1/2 month old filly mare and foal sweet feed?

I had heard some where that it can cause colic and I am kind of worried she is doing so well. Her vet told me to get mare and foal food for her, but did not say any thing about sweet feed being bad.

Thank You


15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    It is perfectly fine to feed them sweet feed. That is what many of the mare and foal feeds are anyways. The amount of grain that the foal is eating right now should not be enough to colic her.

    The big thing that you need to do is to find out how much protein that the feed has in it. Too much protein on a young horse can cause them to grow too quickly which can cause them to be more likely to get developmental diseases (OCDs). That is a HUGE problem. A 14% is ideal, a 16% is ok if in moderation, but any higher than that may cause a problem.

    I do not know what feed stores you have around, or what brand of feed that you are feeding, but QUALITY is more important than QUANTITY. That means if you are feeding a lower end feed, that the horse will have to have more quantity, which in turn could cause problems of its own by the horse receiving too much in their diet. If the feed is a higher quality, then the quantity is less, and the chances of having problems are less.

    An adult horse should eat between 2 and 4% per 100 pounds of its body weight a day total (in the less range or lower if they are a lawn ornament or not working that much and in the higher range or even more than this if they are really getting worked, lactating like your mare, hard keeper or need to gain some weight). That means that a 1000 pound horse will receive on average 20 to 40 pounds a day in grain and forage (grass and hay).

    Of those amounts no more than 25% should be in grains, and no less than 75% in forage. Ideally it should be 20% or less in grains, and 80% or more in forage. The forage should be high quality forage. Horses will receive more of what they need from good to high quality forage (RFV-relative food value- of 90 or higher). If your hay has a RFV of 110 or higher, you will need to feed less grain.

    For our foals, we do an OCD prevention program which is made of feeds which actually are made to prevent OCDs. That is from Progressive Nutrition, but Buckeye which is available in more places also has a similar system set up. Progressive Nutrition may be found at The progressive system is called Foal's First, and it is set up to allow foals to grow into all that genetics has given them- so basically all that they can be while preventing and even fixing OCDs. Some breeds are more prone to have OCDs than others, so depending on your foal's breed this may be something that you need to be either very or little concerned with.

    The Foal's First program is set up with a milk powder for the first 30 days which mixes with water and can be put in a bucket and not a bottle in order to be given to the foal. It gives momma a rest and makes sure that the baby is getting the nutrition that they need. For days 31 to 90, and sometimes longer or shorter, the Milk Pellet is used. This gets the foals used to eating but is still a very safe milk based pellet for them to eat. Their digestion is easier with this product than what it is when they are on normal grains. The last part of this which carries through their yearling and sometimes two year old year is the Starter and Creep Feed. It is a pre-cooked feed which is easy to digest since the breaking down part has already been done. All the foal has to do is to go through the getting the nutrients part. It really gets a super nice looking foal. After that, the foal can go on whatever they need to go on, or can move to the other low starch/carbohydrate feeds that Progressive has.

    Just make sure with whatever feed that you use that it is high quality and that you are not overfeeding the foal. If they start getting fat, or growing very fast, or start having any movement problems or weird looking joints, contact your vet for an exam of the foal and assistance on your feeding program.

    I hope this helps and good luck with baby!

    Source(s): Myself. I have a Bachelor of Science in Horse Science, professional horse trainer, owned full service equine facility and shown internationally for 16 years, have taught over 2000 people how to ride, national clinician on many topics, author of horse related topics, and much more.
  • 1 decade ago

    Foals learn what to eat by eating what mom eats. Foals will begin taste testing with their noses touching moms. They will actually pick food out of moms mouth if they can. Any feeds designed as a mare and foal feed have more protein and vitamins in them to provide energy to the milk producing mare and the growing foal. They both have very similar high energy needs. A foal that young with not eat enough grain to colic. Get one of those really large feed pans big enough for mom and baby to both get their heads in at the same time,and put it on the ground. This is the natural way horses eat.This is the easiest way to introduce a foal to grain. As for sweet feed or pellets they both have their good and bad points pellets can be swallowed without chewing them much easier and they can choke on them but many sweet feeds have a sugar coating like molasses on them which some people think can eventually rot their teeth if they are fed too much. I prefer sweet feed myself they are the natural grains not fillers and byproducts pressed together.

  • 1 decade ago

    We feed our mares and their foals Legends 16 Mare and Foal. It is 16% protein which is needed for growth and the high energy requirements of nursing. We use the textured feed - which is a sweet feed as opposed to pellets. We've never had a problem with colic because of this feed.

  • 1 decade ago

    Too much protein in a horses diet is likely to cause colic. Check the percentage of protein in the feed. Equine junior is a good grain to feed because it's made just for growing foals. Feeding "sweet feed" will also make the mare and foal too "hot". A good cheap way to prevent coloic is to feed 3 cups wheat bran mixed with 3 cups water. You can add electrolytes, apples, carrots as needed. My horse coliced and the vet told me to feed that mixture and she hasnt coliced since. Good Luck!!

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  • 1 decade ago

    At this point. As long as the protein isnt too high. U shud be ok. I used to work on a wb farm and the foals got a little bit of sweet feed for junior horses(growing) starting at a month. You could also try a mare and foal nutrition feed...they're made strictly for the mare lactating and its foal....

  • Gloria
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Whether you mean she's only 1/2 month old (two weeks?) or whether you mean she's 1 to 2 months old, she's still too young for solid food. It will go right through her because her body's still not ready to absorb any nutrition from it. Newborn babies *need* to nurse every couple of hours. Their stomachs are small and their digestive systems are immature. It's one of the facts of life ... new mothers do *not* get to have a full night's sleep for (sometimes) several months. All you can do is nap whenever you can during the day, and maybe see if you can get a friend to give her a bottle every once in a while so you can get some uninterrupted sleep. Don't worry -- I know it seems like a long time but you'll be through with this stage soon enough. Then you'll be able to get a few months of uninterrupted sleep at night until she starts teething!! :)

  • 1 decade ago

    Sweet feed cost less hence many breeding farms use this for the mares.

    A good mare and foal food would probably be better for her health as she will be giving a lot to her colt as she grows.

    Our vet prefers "Strategy"... there are other good ones out there as well.

  • 1 decade ago

    Sweet feed can be bad if you feed her to much. If you give her to much sweet feed than she will colic. But just a little will not hurt. Heck I started giving my horse sweet feed when she was just 3 weeks old. But like I said not to much. Maybe a hand full. Hope this helps.

  • 1 decade ago

    Any grain can cause colic. It' ok in real small doses (a couple of cups, especially hand treats when you are training her) but really limit it. Stick with a foal growth formula and stay with recommended feeding rations. Stick with your vet's recommendations...

  • 1 decade ago

    You really have to immensly careful giving grain to babies. You can ruin their epiphyseal joints and I believe it was due to high protein, not sure on that. But it is a direct result of overfeeding grain.

    If the baby has good quality hay, good mineral and salt block, thats sufficent. If you feel the need to add grain, a junior feed would be the best route and follow instructions.

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