Q: I recently bought a four-year-old Irish Draught stallion to use for breeding, and I would like to know what to feed for optimum fertility?
Nutritionist Christine Smy replies: To enhance fertility, you should aim to feed for optimal condition without allowing your stallion to become overweight. This may be a struggle for you as Irish Draughts tend to be good doers. You can keep a track on his weight by using a weigh tape weekly.
Riding or lungeing daily will help to keep fitness and condition and turning him out will help prevent stress, which can be a major cause of infertility.
During the breeding season feed a stud ration, either cubes or mix, but keep an eye on his weight.
If your stallion really is prone to obesity, feed a quality supplement along with a dried alfalfa or grass chaff, which has been diluted with oat straw. This will offer a good level of nutrition and keep your stallion occupied while stabled.
Minerals to consider feeding include selenium, iodine and zinc, which have been linked to fertility in mammals. Vitamin C has been linked with the improvement of sperm count. The above minerals and vitamins need not be added individually because they should be present in a high-quality broad-spectrum supplement and certainly in the recommended levels of a stud ration.
This Q&A was first published in Horse Magazine