Livestock Guidelines: Breeding Horses
Horses are one of the most expensive livestock animals raised by farmers especially during these days. That is probably because horses can serve varied purposes from farm assistance, to transport, to recreational and gambling activities.
Through the years, mankind has always treated them with utmost importance. Horses have been highly regarded as animals; thus, the measures in raising them are far better and more tedious than the methods in raising cattle, sheep, and other livestock animals.
Horses have different needs than other animals. Their shelters should be appropriately constructed, they should be fed with the right mix of food, and they should be given ample space to move around. It is also imperative that horse raisers allocate a wide land area where the animals can freely run.
Perhaps, breeding horses is one task that is so complicated. If you are planning to embark on the initiative, make sure you are well equipped with the necessary knowledge about the proper way of helping out their reproduction process.
Otherwise, you can hire professional horse breeders who readily would render needed services for the effort. Breeding horses requires much investment as actually raising the adult ones. There are many factors to be considered and many expenses to undertake.
Before starting to breed, you must first pick the best candidates from among your stable of horses to be the mare, or the future mom of foals. There are many considerations that should be looked at when selecting the mare.
First, the lady-horse must be physically healthy. There are ideal body weight and height that would help ensure that a mare is the perfect candidate for the initiative. Second, the reproductive health of the mare should also be ensured.
Finding the stallion
When the ideal mare candidate is chosen, it follows that there should be an equally perfect stallion. Stallions are the male horses that would mate with the mare to produce offspring. Similarly to choosing the mare, the stallion should also be healthy enough to make sure the foals to be produced would be in good physical condition.
The stallion must be at the right and recommended age when it mates with the mare so the genes and seminal condition would be ideal for reproduction. Some horse owners allow colts to try out mating with mares, but often, these actions result to unimpressive quality of foals.
Age is a crucial factor when considering the perfect candidates for horse breeding. In mares, fillies, or young female horses can start the cycle of reproduction when they reach the age of 18 months. They can give birth to foals when they reach at least two years.
As for colts, or young male horses, they can mate with any female horse whenever they develop the instinct to do so. However, when colts are considered to be young stallions, they should be assisted by professional breeders to guide them on proper positioning to shoot their sperm perfectly into where it should be.
Pregnancy of the mare
Mares carry the foals inside their womb for about 11 months, or roughly 340 days. However, as for the fillies and the colts, pregnancy duration can vary. It is a well-known fact that the mare would almost always deliver the filly on time. On the contrary, if the foal is a colt, the pregnancy is usually and normally extended for a few more days.
Interestingly, mares can also carry foals inside their wombs for about three to four weeks from their due date for foal delivery. If the pregnancy lasts much longer than that, seek proper veterinary or expert help. For premature foals, they can still survive under intensive care after a 310-day gestation period. That is equivalent to human baby's incubator period for premature babies.
Taking care of the pregnant mare
The fetal growth of foal is most active during the last three months of the pregnancy period of the mare. It is advised that during this time, the horse breeder should see to it that the mare would take in ample food rich in protein for better fetal development.
Experts say that pregnant mares can still be ridden during the first six months of pregnancy, Beyond that, leave the mare freely so it can move around and relieve itself whenever it feels discomfort due to pregnancy. If you aim to produce healthy generations of this livestock, be sure to follow such guidelines.
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