How much milk does a mature mare produce? How does it compare to the daily output of a dairy cow?
Well-nourished mares produce approximately three to four percent of their body weight each day in milk for the first two months after foaling. A 1,200-pound mare, therefore, would generate about 36-48 pounds of milk at the onset of lactation. By the fifth month of lactation, mares are producing about half as much milk. By this time, milk consumption is less important as foals are deriving nutrients from other feedstuffs such as concentrates and forages, and caretakers are considering weaning.
Stacking up the milk production of mares against that of cows is much like comparing apples and oranges. Just as Thoroughbred racehorses have been selected for fleetness of foot and some Quarter Horses have been chosen for their cow sense, dairy cattle have been bred intensively for their ability to manufacture milk.