Nutrition Needs for Stallions
With the breeding season upon us, you may be wondering about the nutrition your stallion will need to thrive over the next few months. While all horses are individuals, and you’ll need to consider your horse’s unique situation, we have some general advice for a healthy breeding season.
An appropriate body condition score is essential for a successful breeding season. If a stallion is underweight, his energy stores may not get him through the next few months. If he’s overweight, he may be prone to laminitis and/or diminished libido. A BCS of 5 or 5.5 is ideal; to ensure he maintains this condition, he should be monitored regularly. We recommend weekly or biweekly evaluations so you can adjust his diet as necessary.
Many people are surprised to learn that for most stallions, breeding is considered “light work.” Of course, this varies by horse. For example, if a horse is bred several times a day, his energy needs would increase.
In determining calorie needs for your stallion, you should consider how much exercise he is getting. Some stallions are relatively sedentary for much of the day, with breeding as their main caloric expenditure. For these stallions, using the “light work” benchmark is usually an excellent way to determine caloric needs. Other stallions may exhibit nervous behaviors like stall walking; they will require additional calories. Still, others continue to be ridden or trained in addition to their stud duties; these horses require enough calories to power them through all their activities.
Studies have shown that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) plays a role in stallion reproductive health by improving sperm motility and increasing the number of vigorous sperm cells produced. You can boost your stallion’s fertility by ensuring his diet includes this essential omega-3 fatty acid.
As with all horses, the basis of a stallion’s diet should be high-quality forage. We recommend 1.5 to 2 pounds of forage for every 100 pounds of body weight (or about 15-20 pounds of forage per day for a 1,000-pound horse). Until pastures start to green up, you’ll need to provide high-quality hay.
To ensure your stallion’s nutritional and caloric needs are met, you can supplement the forage with an energy-dense feed. We recommend Stallion Max, which we’ve custom-crafted to give stallions the energy, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals they need for a successful breeding season. It’s supplemented with EO-3, which is rich in DHA and helps increase the concentration, motility, and viability of sperm. Calorie-wise, we’ve used low-starch energy sources to help diminish the likelihood of health issues like laminitis, compromised immunity, and reduced testosterone production. In addition, Stallion Max includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to maximize sperm output and semen quality, and DHA to increase the number of healthy sperm cells. Vitamins and minerals include vitamin E, selenium, and carnitine; these antioxidants defend against free radicals to ensure an ideal environment for sperm production and maturation.
Of course, you’ll also want to ensure your stallion has access to salt and plenty of fresh water.
Set for Success
Following these guidelines should set your stallion up for a healthy breeding season. If you have additional questions about the role nutrition plays for your stallion’s success, please reach out to our customer service representatives.