November 22, 2002, Newsletter Issue #100: Equine Diets

Tip of the Week

Concentrates, Grains and Supplements

Primary grains have traditionally been Corn-Oats-Barley, with supplementation depending upon the soil and conditions of each area.

Corn is the most energy dense of all feeds. It is high in carbohydrates, and Vitamin A; it is low in Protein and in Lysine. Corn contains three times the energy content of Oats. Corn kernals should be well formed, plump, firm and be separate. There should be no insects, damage nor mold. Corn can be fed whole, cracked or rolled. Horses love eating corn off of the cob.

Oats are the most popular of all the grains. Oats are the highest in fibre content of all grains. Oats are either whole, rolled, crushed or bruised. As with corn, there should be no insects, damage, dust or mold.

Barley is generally comparable to Oats. Barley is the lowest in fibre and is classified as a bulk and heavy feed. Barley has the greatest density and weight per volume. Barley too, is rolled, or crimped, crushed or ground. Just as with Oats and Corn, watch for insects, damage, dust or mold.

Wheat should only be fed to horses in the form of a bran.

Rice Bran is used for increasing fat content in a horse`s diet.

Bran Mash is used wet for slightly loosening a horse`s manure; and fed dry to tighten a horse`s manure.

Molasses is popular to feed to horses in the winter. It is the cheapest form of energy. Molasses should never exceed 10% of the dry feed content.

Dried Brewer`s Yeast is high the B Vitamins and is a good source of protein and fibre.

Sugar Beet Pulp is a digestive fibre food that is designed to slow down the digestion system of horse`s that process their feed too quickly, or for horse`s that are known as "hard keepers". Beet Pulp must always be soaked in water overnight before feeding. The ratio is one part Beet Pulp to three parts cold water, and mixture must be used within 24 hours. If hot water is used it will cause the Beet Pulp to begin a fermination process that can cause a horse to colic once fed to the horse.

Salt & Mineral Blocks are necessary to the diet of every horse. Place a Salt or Mineral Block in the horse`s stall where he has a safe and secure access to the Block at all times.

All Vitamins and Supplements should be checked with your Veterinarian before it is determined that your horse is in need of these additives. Some Vitamins and Minerals can be harmful if fed in incorrect amounts or if fed to horses that do not require such at the time of use.

Succulents increase the bond and comraderie between horse and owner. These include:

Carrots--Apples--Pears--Vegetable Cores--Fruits that your horse has indicated that he/she prefers--occassional Sugar Cubes--Horse Cookies--Hand Grazing--Hydrophonics

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