Dengie Alfa-A Oil – the breeder’s best friend

Feeding The Broodmare

Correct nutrition is key to successful breeding and it is important right from the point of conception. The right diet increases your chances of producing a sound, healthy foal with a long working life ahead of it.

Early Pregnancy

All too often, insufficient trace minerals are provided during pregnancy and yet these are some of the most important nutrients involved in growth and development. Most pregnant mares are able to obtain enough energy from pasture and forage to meet their requirements but due to poor mineral levels in UK soils, grass simply can’t provide the modern horse with enough of essential nutrients like copper and selenium. For this reason, a source of vitamins and minerals should be provided either in the form of a balancer or supplement if no additional energy is required. Mineralised licks are also a useful way of providing a top-up that horses can access free-choice – ideal for those kept and fed as groups.

Late Pregnancy

The last trimester or third of pregnancy is when the most rapid growth occurs and the mare may need more energy in her ration. This largely depends on the time of year – those that are bred artificially early will need more supplementary feed than those foaling in May or June when the improved grass will support their increased energy requirements.

High-quality fibre sources are the ideal way to provide energy without increasing the risk of digestive upsets – Dengie Alfa-A Oil combines alfalfa with oil and has the same energy level as a stud mix but with over 10 times less starch. This makes it ideal for mares that require a low starch or sugar ration such as those prone to colic, laminitics, muscle problems or those that are stressy and anxious. The high-energy fibre feed should be introduced gradually up to a maximum of 2.5kgs per day for a 500kg mare. Alfa-A Oil together with a quality stud balancer, will provide the balanced diet that allows the foetus to accumulate minerals that it needs to support the rapid growth that occurs once it is born.


Lactation places significantly higher nutrient and energy demands on the mare; the energy requirement increases by 90% compared to that of a barren mare. During the first three months the foal is totally dependent on the mare’s milk and a 500kg mare can produce between 10 and 17.5kg of milk during this period. It is essential that the mare’s energy needs are met to fuel milk production but the importance of access to plenty of water should never be underestimated as milk is mainly made of water!

The time of year the foal is born will largely determine the diet needed for the mare. For Thoroughbreds foaling in January when there is very little grazing available, higher energy bucket feed is usually required compared to mares foaling in the spring and summer. Using high quality fibre based feeds to make up a significant proportion of the daily ration will help to keep cereal based feeds to a minimum. This helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and reduces the risk of problems occurring. Up to 500g per 100kg of the horse’s bodyweight of any of the Dengie Alfa-A range can be fed per day alongside a stud feed.

About Alfalfa and Alfa-A Oil

Dengie Alfa-A Oil has no added sugar, is low in starch and displays the BETA feed mark for equines prone to EGUS. Based on alfalfa and rapeseed oil it is full of slow release energy ideal for promoting condition or fuelling work without fizz. It has 12.5MJ/kg of Digestible Energy which is equivalent to a stud mix or conditioning mix/cube.

The Dengie 100% Natural Logo demonstrates the brand’s natural credentials and guarantees that every ingredient is supplied by nature with minimal processing to retain as much natural goodness as possible. The alfalfa in Alfa-A Oil is grown by the Dengie farmers locally to keep their “feed miles” down and support UK farmers. The 5,000 acres of alfalfa they grow are within a twenty mile radius of the Dengie production site. Concerned about their impact on the environment, in the last few years Dengie have changed from using soya oil grown in Brazil to rape seed oil grown in the UK.