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The first year is paramount for your foal’s development.
During the first year of growth, your foal should develop a sound muscle mass and strong bone structure.
The mare’s lactation will be essential in order to ensure proper development from foaling up to the age of 5 or 6 months, the period during which the foal will need to be weaned, i.e. physically separated from its mother. Lactating mares have very high nutritional requirements during the first few months. (9 to 11 EFU and 800 to 950 g of EDNM for a French saddle mare weighing 500 kg). These requirements practically double relative to the end of gestation, particularly during the first three months of lactation.
The foal has qualitatively high nutritional requirements in terms of essential amino acids (fundamental protein constituent). The key amino acids are lysine, methionine, cystine and threonine.
During the first year, protein requirements are comparatively higher than energy requirements relative to the second year. (For a French saddle foal: 450 to 490 g of EDNM and 4.5 to 5.5 EFU)
You should not systematically attempt to feed foals with solid feeds too soon before the age of two months since the foal’s intestinal flora is not yet fully functional, and this would give rise to gastrointestinal disorders.
Contact your veterinary surgeon if developmental problems persist.