Celebrating Abel’s Second Birthday!

Abel is my friend Clare’s homebred and on Friday it was his 2nd Birthday! I wanted to share his story as I have been visiting him regularly to weigh him and monitor his growth which I find fascinating.  When I first weighed him at just a week old, he was 56kg and now age 2, he weighs 426kg.

Abel the foal

Abel’s mum Piglet was fed Dengie Meadow Grass with Herbs & Oil, Alfa-Beet and a balancer appropriate for supporting pregnancy. This was the same ration she had been on for a couple of years prior to being put in foal and so we decided to keep her on feeds we knew she liked and worked well for her. The quantity of balancer was increased in her last trimester, and again once Abel had been born, to provide her with additional nutrients to support a growing foal. The amount of Meadow Grass and Alfa-Beet was also adjusted alongside according to her body condition.

Piglet and Abel

Monitoring and plotting your youngster’s weight every couple of weeks is a great way to measure whether you need to adjust the ration. If you see a very steep growth curve forming, you may want to reassess the diet, reduce energy intake, and consider making changes to the ration. In contrast, if the curve is very flat it’s an indication the foal isn’t growing very well which may indicate an underlying health problem or simply that the mare isn’t milking very well and so may require more feed. For further information on feeding youngstock click here.

Abel's Growth Graph

At around 1 month old, Abel developed ‘ballerina syndrome’ where his bones were developing quicker than his tendons, causing him to stand and walk on the tips of his toes. This was monitored closely but it resolved of its own accord and no veterinary intervention was needed. Throughout this time, the mare was kept on the same ration to ensure she was receiving a high specification of vitamins and minerals to support Abel’s growth and development.

Abel started sharing his mum’s feed from a young age and when weaned at around nine months, he went onto the same feeds; Dengie Meadow Grass with Herbs & Oil, Alfa-Beet and a balancer. This ration provided Abel with quality protein to support correct growth and development, good levels of calcium for bone development and hoof support as well as being fully balanced with regards to vitamins and minerals.

Abel aged 2

Abel was actually born and raised on one of Dengie’s farms in Essex surrounded by alfalfa! It has been lovely following his progress and watching him grow and I’m excited to follow his future. Clare plans to gradually back and bring on Abel herself when he is old enough, and hopes one day he will make an event horse.

For further advice and guidance on what to feeding your broodmare or youngstock please contact the Dengie Feedline on 01621 484182 or click here to fill in our Feed Advice form.