Supplements: Readers Dish for Their Foals

Almost 500 readers of responded to a poll asking, "At what age do you start feeding your foal(s) supplements?"

results of poll on supplementing foals� feed

Results were as follows: 

  • I don't raise foals: 31.66% (158)
  • I don't feed supplements to my foals: 25.85% (129)
  • 1-2 months old: 12.83% (64)
  • 3-4 months old: 11.82% (59)
  • 5-6 months old: 8.62% (43)
  • I don't start supplements until they're at least a yearling: 5.61% (28)
  • 9-12 months old: 0.60% (3)

Readers shared their reasons for supplementing foals in the comments below.

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  • vitamin and mineral balancer
  • pelleted foal food, creep fed until weaned, then a pelleted ration balancer
  • Equine Junior as soon as they will start eating it. They shouldn't need supplements.
  • I use a balanced foal feed with average hay.This encourages proper growth, not rapid growth.
  • Feel that everything needed is in his feed already
  • Nature has designed the mare to provide the nutrients that afoal needs. Make sure that your mare is i
  • my broodmares get the supplements,the foals get the mare
  • I use a free choice creep feed when I have a foal
  • I feed Purina Equine Junior starting at weaning. No other supplements needed.
  • they get to eat Stragety with their mother and when I wean them they only get alfalfa & Bran
  • My foal was premature and in intensive care for 5 wks. She is doing great on Ultium growth!
  • I add fat supplements for all my horses.
  • I no longer crib feed, when pasture quality decreases/weaning time get low molasses block A/G hay
  • I feed Purina Jr. and feel this is a balanced diet not needing supplement
  • they are weaned when their mum's decide, but given balancer through the winter.
  • grass is my supplement
  • They get a bit of the dam's feed as a ration balancer for minerals.
  • I feed a KER based feed and the supplements are included.
  • Creep feeding as soon as the foal shows interest-my feed contains all needed supplements & vitamins.
  • both grain & vit, mineral supplements
  • I feed a feed that has all the correct amounts of nutrients for a growing foal.
  • A balancer ration is available for them to "experiment" with from day one
  • There are too many horses going to slaughter and lacking homes for me to be a part of the problem.
  • Start as soon as they start using the creep feeder
  • i start foals at birth, with probiotics, as they are born with a sterile gut.
  • I find that good quality hay and grain are usually enough - only supplement as needed for a problem.
  • It has been ten years since I've raised a foal
  • It is a supplement developed by my veterinarian.
  • I feed a small amount but don't want them to grow to fast
  • as soon as the foal starts eating from it's mothers bucket it is time to let it have it's own feed
  • i consider what my hay/pasture anaylis is, and supplement the mare first, then the foal
  • my colt lost his mom at 7 wks old, so I started him on supplements earlier
  • Just a handful to begin with, gradually adding a little more as time goes by
  • After weaning around 4 mos. we feed Purina 200, plus calf manna
  • I haven't had horses younger than 2 yo. Have two stallions, but can't take on a baby.
  • If they need them at 5 months they will get them otherwise i leave them alone to grow naturally as n
  • the foal will have nibbled out of the mares dish.
  • Platinum CJ only supplement he gets
  • foal-lac offered by 2 weeks
  • feed calfmana with feed
  • Calf Manna with Mom's ration
  • small amounts of balanced concentrate introduced a month prior to weaning
  • The mare is tied at feeding the the foal is given its own bucket.
  • I start with a creep feeder.
  • My foals usually eat with their dams so they get what they need .. been lucky they share
  • I wean my foals at 90-120 days. Then I feed age appropriate vitamins and minerals.
  • Foals get all they need from mama and nibbling on the pellets she is fed.
  • Good green grass grows good foals
  • As soon as they start creep feeding
  • Have raised one foal. Mare got pregnant because of some idiot.I was angry.
  • Actually it is started when it starts eating it's dams food.
  • My horses minerals and salt are always free choice & foal and adults can acess it at any time.
  • never feed anything but oat alfalfa/oat cubes and oat hay,pasture when available
  • My foals start sampling mom's feed within a week or two...
  • My foal was "creep feeding" from her mother's bowl and supplements very soon.
  • I feed a complete feed and do not see any need for supplementation
  • Probiotics, paste worm monthly and Strongid C as soon as they start eating grain with Dam
  • I voted 1-2 months, but my foals actually begin eating with their dams at a few days of age.
  • I feed a good feed and good hay or grass
  • 2-3 weeks, as soon as they will start to eat creep feed
  • Don't normally find them necessary if mare producing milk properly
  • There is such a hype about supplements...sometimes less is more.
  • Once my foals are weaned I begin feeding grain seperate from the dam's ration.
  • earlier, I gave my mare a kelp-based supplement before breeding her and throughout the gestation.
  • I feed purina strategy- only supp. if needed
  • whneever they start eating with their dam
  • They get strategy with mom and when they will eat it, on their own.
  • All our horses have free choice to the mineral and salt supplements 24hrs -7 days a week.
  • started Clydesdale colt on joint supps at 6 mo as preventative measure
  • as soon as they are eating grain, they get a vit/mineral supplement
  • Have no foals but did supplement my yearling.

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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