The feeding of the foal is a fundamental factor for its development and for the prevention of diseases. Only with a balanced diet can you ensure that the foal's growth and development correspond to its genetic potential.

Feeding the foal begins in the womb (feeding the foetus), and it is important for the mare to have a balanced diet throughout the entire pregnancy, and that the increased nutritional needs, especially in the last trimester, are respected.

after birth

After birth, the newborn foal performs activities that consume energy. Since its endogenous energy reserves are limited, it is through colostrum that it will obtain the necessary nutrients to carry out these activities.

Colostrum is thus the foal's first food and its early intake is essential from a nutritional, immunological and intestinal point of view (laxative effect).

Up to about three months of age, the nutritional needs of the lactating foal are met by maternal milk, whose composition varies throughout lactation, a period from which the foal must supplement the intake of milk with pasture and/or specific compound feed.


Supplementation of the lactating foal with specific compound feed selectively fed to the foal (through selective feeders or areas dedicated to foal feeding), is called creep-feeding. This practice promotes habituation to solid food, promoting the foal's food autonomy and reducing the effects of stress from weaning.

It should only be noted that the introduction of the practice of creep feeding should be done gradually from eight weeks and that the amount of specific compound feed given should vary according to age, breed and composition of the feed (for example: for a foal aged less than four months, the amount of compound feed provided should vary between 0.5-1.0 kg for every 100 kg of the foal's BW). 

compound feed

When choosing a compound feed, it should be specifically formulated for foals (or for mares and foals), favoring a high quality protein (rich in lysine, the limiting amino acid) and having an adequate mineral content with regard to calcium, phosphorus , copper and zinc.  



With regard to orphans, the importance of colostrum ingestion in the first hours of life remains, and they can later transition to artificial feeding through a bottle or bucket, or try breastfeeding by an adoptive mother (if a mare is available that has lost your foal at birth).

In orphaned foals that have not been adopted, solid food can be provided from two weeks onwards (using a specific compound feed and good quality hay), in addition to the replacement milk. Weaning, in these cases, should occur between 14 and 16 weeks.