Mother’s Milk

Mother’s Milk: Understanding Mare Lactation

Last Updated on February 25, 2022 by Allison Price

Many people believe that lactation in the mares is less important than that of the cows that produce milk directly for human consumption. The importance of lactation in mares must not be undervalued. Some actually

Many people believe that lactation in the mares is less important than that of the cows that produce milk directly for human consumption. The importance of lactation in mares must not be undervalued. Although some cultures collect milk from mares for human consumption in certain cases, mare milk production is usually only indirect and not directly related to the foal’s growth and development. It is worth looking into in detail. It is essential to understand lactation in order to give the foal the best start in his life.

Mother’s Milk

Anatomy and the Mammary Gland

All mammals produce milk in their udders or mammary glands (hence the name mammal). There are different numbers of mammary glands in different mammals. They are located in pairs along either side of their midline. Some mammals have as many as 20 pairs of mammary glands (10 for pigs), while primates only have two. There are four mammary glands in the mare (two pairs), located between the hind legs. They are covered by skin and hair. The skin around the teats is sensitive and hairless, making it susceptible to foal’s sucking.

Figure 1: The whole mammary gland is supported and connected to the mare’s body by sheets of ligaments. Each gland in mammals has its own teat. In the mare, you would expect to find four, just like a cow. The mare, however, is unique in that the teats are only two.

Millions of interconnecting ducts and alveoli make up the milk-producing tissue in mammary glands. Alveoli are connected by a network of connecting ducts. They eventually join and drain into the gland cistern. This is the area that holds the milk above each teat. This arrangement is similar to a bunch.

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