How much do horses weigh? Horses are large animals, generally weighing anywhere from 800-2,000 pounds, depending on their breed. With being such a large animal, one may wonder: how much does a baby horse weigh?
Foals are born to be able to stand up within an hour of being born. They need to be able to run within hours of being born, as they are a risk of being prey amongst wild animals. They are born with long legs in order to be active as soon as possible.
How much do Horses Weigh? Weights of Foals
A horse’s gestation is eleven months and they are normally in labor for less than eight hours. A mare will generally give birth at night as well.
Normal Birth Weight of Foals
Typically, a baby horse weighs 10% of its mother’s weight at birth. So, a 1,000-pound mare will give birth to a 100-pound foal, a 1,500-pound mare will give birth to a 150-pound foal and a 2,000-pound mare will give birth to a 200-pound foal. The average weight of a horse is 1,000 pounds, so most foals will weigh about 100 pounds at birth.
Even if the mare is bred to a larger stallion, the weight of the foal will still be approximately 10% of the mare’s weight. Fillies and colts often have similar weights at the time of birth.
Knowing a foal’s weight is important to be able to track their growth and health. Recording this information will allow you to give your foal the proper doses of dewormer and medication.
Calculating Your Foals Weight
If you have a scale available, that is the most accurate way to weigh your foal. The foal may be nervous to get on the scale, so it may not be easy to get a good reading.
Many breeding barns will have scales that they periodically track their foals’ weight with. This video shows foals that have come accustomed to scales, allowing barn staff to track their growth regularly.
Some people pick up foals and weigh themselves holding the foal and subtract their weight. However, you should be cautious using this method. Some people may not be able to safely hold the foal and may risk injury to themselves and the foal.
If you don’t have a scale available to weigh your foal, there are some other methods you can do to find its weight. There are formulas you can use to determine their weight at different stages.
For foals between 7-28 days, you can calculate your foal’s weight by measuring his heart girth, subtracting 25 and dividing the result by .07. For foals 28-90 days old you can use the same formula but add ten percent the answer.
The formula is: Heartgirth (inches) – 25 = Weight (in pounds)/divided by 0.07
Though weight tapes can be great for figuring out adult horses’ weight, they are not always accurate for foals. It is best to avoid using weight tapes until your horse if fully grown, to avoid inaccurate numbers.
Genetics and environment contribute to a horse’s growth. They help determine growth patterns and play a big role in understanding what nutrition your horse will need. By the age of two, a horse will have grown about 90% of its full adult size.
A Big Appetite
Since foals grow so quickly, they require lots of nutritious food. For the first six to eight weeks of their life, foals will drink their mother’s milk. A mare will be producing an average of three gallons of milk a day.
At seven days old, a foal will drink about 25% of its weight in milk. As early as ten days, a foal may begin to show interest in solid food. By eight to ten weeks, a foal will need grain and forage in their diet to achieve their required nutritional needs.
When starting to transition your foal of off milk, begin feeding by following the ratio of one pound of food per month’s age or 1% of the foal’s body weight (one pound for every 100 pounds). Since foals have small stomachs, their food should be divided into two to three meals a day. They should have quality grass or hay and grain or concentrates.
They should have access to fresh water at all times. Their diets should contain vitamins, minerals, energy, and protein. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to make sure your foal is getting a properly balanced diet.
A foal will be weaned from its mother at around five to six months of age. At this point, the average foal will weigh an average of 500-600 pounds. They will be eating approximately 2.5% of their body weight in grain and forage a day.
For two to three weeks prior to weaning, a foal’s food rations should be increased to make up for the nutrients being lost in the decrease of milk from the mare. The mare will naturally produce less milk when it is getting close to the time the foal is to be weaned.
In order for a baby horse to be healthy, they need to be active. They should get daily exercise to maintain a good weight. However, it is important to not overwork a foal to the point of fatigue and shaking.
It is important to make sure that foals do not overeat. Overeating can lead to unhealthy weight gain that can cause a plethora of health problems.
A Foal’s Weight
Knowing a foal’s weight allows one to keep track of its health, growth, and nutrition. If you know a foal’s weight, you’ll be able to provide it with a proper diet, medicine, and dewormer.
A foal at birth should weigh:
- 10% percent of their mom’s weight.
- A foal will likely be between 80-200 pounds.
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