Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Nutrition: growth

Contributor(s): Derek Cuddeford, Zoe Davies, David Frape, Deborah Lucas, Wendy E Vaala, Katie Williams (nee Lugsden)

Introduction

  • By the 7th month of gestation the fetus has only gained 17% birthweight.
  • Birthweight constitutes approximately 10% of the adult weight.
  • If a Thoroughbred   Thoroughbred  is <35 kg at birth, it is unlikely to grow to 15 hh.
  • Small foals born to small parents reach maximum size earlier than large foals born to large parents.
  • A higher proportion of horses >40 kg at birth go on to race than those of <40 kg at birth.
  • Late-born foals tend to be heavier and taller than early born foals.
  • Weaning age seems to have no influence on final size.
  • Differences in growth rate after neonatal period do not affect the final height and weight.
  • Maximum height and weight may be achieved earlier without dietary restriction, but diets with excess energy are linked to developmental orthopedic diseases, eg osteochondrosis   Bone: osteochondrosis  .
  • Restriction of feed during the growth period   →   delay in closure of growth plates   →   skeletal abnormalities, eg developmental orthopedic diseases (may be partly corrected during later growth).
  • Low feed intake over long periods will result in irreversibly small horses.
  • See also Nutrition: neonate   Nutrition: neonate  .
Print off the Owner factsheets on Feeding the young horse and Nutrition - keeping your horse on top form to give to your clients.

Feed requirements

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Normal growth rate

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Hintz H F (1992) Ed. Clinical nutrition.  Vet Clin North Am 6, (2).
  • Cymbaluk N F, Christison G I & Leach K H (1990) Longitudinal growth and analysis of horses following limited and ad libitum feeding. Equine Vet J 22, 198-204 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Frape D (2004) Equine Nutrition and Feeding. 3rd edn. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, UK. ISBN: 1405105984.


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