Which is the need of lactose (%) for a foal fed with a milk replacer? Alfonso
According to the sixth edition of Nutrient Requirements of Horses, mare’s milk ranges from 6 to 7 % lactose depending on the stage of lactation. Lactose is known as “milk sugar,” and is a made up of two smaller sugars glucose and galactose. It is an important nutrient source to the nursing foal, supplying a quick source of energy.
Providing the appropriate amount of lactose to a foal should not be an issue if you use milk replacer that is specifically designed for horses. In a pinch, goat’s milk or cow’s milk can be given to a foal, but the nutrient content of these sources of milk (protein, fat, carbohydrates) do not quite meet the dietary needs of the rapidly growing foal.
There’s lots more to talk about regarding proper feeding of the foal—such as ensuring colostrum intake, preventing diarrhea or “scours” and starting on solid food—but I hope I’ve answered your question.