Sunday, January 26, 2014

In Light of The Vortex, Some Light Reading

So the polar vortex part II is upon us.

Time to keep on trucking forward, but also to sit, read, and ruminate a bit.  OK, perhaps, not so much ruminating.  I don't have a four chambered stomach like our bovine friends.

Today's article was From Conception to Training from Tribute Feeds.  Typically, I am a little nervous about taking face value from feed companies, however, Tribute has been pleased to answer any of my specific questions and point me towards the original studies, validating their articles and positions.

So, this article is an overview on feeding the pregnant mare to feeding the young horse. 

A few points I found interesting.

"Many pregnant mares are able to obtain enough calories from good quality forage to maintain or even gain weight. No forage, neither grass or legume, hay or pasture, will supply all the nutrients needed by the broodmare for her own maintenance much less the trace minerals needed for sound fetal development. If the mare’s diet is deficient in specific nutrients, the fetus can pull many of the nutrients it needs from the dam’s body, up to a point. This is why we generally see a lower number of nutrition-related DOD’s in a mare’s first or second foal. If the mare’s depleted body reserves are not replenished, deficiencies can occur in their future foals and eventually will affect the reproductive performance and health of the mare herself."

This is a topic of conversation I've seen over and over again in person and online about how easy keeping mares can easily just maintain on grass and I vehemently disagree that is OK.  But this is the first time, I really thought about long term depletion of vit/min from the mare and the consequence on subsequent offspring.  I have read old articles and remember a quote talking about later foals from a mare sometimes "missing the bus" or not being as physically sound, so in an era where we have the ability to feed correctly, this makes sense.  

As well as this comment.

One as yet unpublished finding was that mares fed a high non-structural carbohydrate (NSC – sugar + starch) diet tended to have foals with increased insulin resistance. This condition may predispose foals to D.O.D.
 I hope this research is published.  I have often wondered if it was just anecdotal evidence when I have seen the barns that do feed a high NSC "sweet feed" to mares/young foals, then specialize in a lead/feed type young career, and then have a high percentage of juvenile animals with D.O.D. type issues (among other things!).  I also particularly wondered if it was dietary or genetic, and of course, with more information on D.O.D. forthcoming, it appears genetic, but perhaps with nutrition being a factor in having these genes expressed or not.

So this was my Sunday evening after a long day at work. 

How about you?  Thoughts/comments on the article?  Everyone keeping warm? 

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