Milk and water intakes of foals sucking grazing mares

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Summary

Intakes of milk and milk nutrients were determined for 8 foals at 11–18 days of age and for 10 foals at 30–44 days and 60–74 days of age while sucking grazing mares. Water intakes (sources other than milk) of the foals were determined at 30–44 days and 60–74 days of age. Five of the 10 mares were fed a protein supplement (24% crude protein) in addition to grazing during the stud season. The protein supplement did not influence foal intakes of milk and milk nutrients, milk composition, weight gains of the mares or the growth rate of the foals. Foal milk intakes increased (P<0.05) from 16.9 kg/day at 11–18 days to 18.1 kg/day at 60–74 days of age. The water intakes of the foals increased (P<0.01) from 3.9 kg/day at 30–44 days to 5.5 kg/day at 60–74 days of age. Total fluid intakes per kg foal liveweight were 246, 202 and 172 g at 11–18, 30–44 and 60–74 days of age, respectively. For each kg of weight gain, foals consumed 12.8, 15.7 and 16.4 kg milk at 11–18, 30–44 and 60–74 days of age. Stage of lactation had a significant effect on the total solids, lactose and protein content of milk. The fat and gross energy content of milk remained constant.

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