Foals grow quickly, sometimes gaining up to three pounds a day. They can reach almost full size by the age of two. You can support your foal’s growth by managing your foal’s diet and other lifestyle factors. The goal is to provide a balanced diet and promote a moderate growth rate. If a foal grows too rapidly, it may have developmental problems, such as epiphysitis, angular limb deformities, flexural deformities (contracted tendons), or osteochondrosis.

If the foal is suckling for long periods of time or repetitively head butting the udder and searching for milk, the mare may not be able to produce enough milk. This may require you to provide a milk replacer or supplemental feed to the foal. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure that the mare’s and foal’s diets and weights are appropriate.

The foal will begin taking feed after two weeks, in addition to milk. Higher quality forage and grains may be added to the foal’s diet at 10 weeks to facilitate growth. All rations need to be balanced and include the proper amounts of important vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. Feed rations should be provided in two-to-three daily servings. Remove any uneaten rations between feeds and do not overfeed the foal. As always, the foal and mare should have plenty of access to fresh, clean water and exercise.