Draft Horses First Winter
Draft Horses First Winter during the autumn and winter following separation from the mare the foal requires an increased allowance of artificial food, and for three reasons. Firstly, to compensate for the deprivation of its dam’s milk; secondly because autumn grass is much less nutritious than summer herbage; and, thirdly, because under favorable conditions the foal then possesses a greater disposition to equal growth than at any subsequent period.
The demand for increased auxiliary diet will be influenced by many external circumstances, such as the state of the weather, the provision of shelter, the luxuriance of the pasture, etc., but the allowance of artificial food should never be sufficient to render the foal indifferent to exercise or indisposed to graze.
At this age the quality should be nutritious and moderately succulent; good, sweet hay, pulped roots, hay, chaff, oats, and beans with bran—the grain always crushed and usually scalded — form the best possible food for foals. Maize, sugar, treacle, malt liquor, or a large allowance of linseed cake, should not be given.
With the advent of cold, foggy autumnal nights, weaning colts should be sheltered in straw yards, and there receive morning and evening their daily ration of artificial food; they cannot sustain, without detriment, the hardships of inclement weather and prolonged exposure.
It is, however, highly essential that they should have plenty of exercise, and for that purpose no method is so good as to allow them a daily run of some hours’ duration in a bare winter pasture.
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