Equine Nutrition

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Horse Nutrition
Bob Coleman Ph. D. PAS
Extension Horse Specialist
Consider the horse
Grazing animal
Trickle feeders / nibblers
12 – 16 hours grazing
They are not cows
Meeting Requirements
Forage primary source
Where is feed digested
Quality of ingredients
Total nutrient requirement
Nutrient content of common hay
(dry matter basis)
Type
DE Mcal / lb
Protein %
Legume hay
Grass hay
Mixed Hay
1.03
0.83
0.94
18.7
9.0
13.5
Adapted from NRC 1989
Hay type affects intake and nutrient intake
Feed Type
A
Mixed hay
17.5
Grass Hay
B
21
This is for an 1100 lb horse at maintenance. Intakes are
as fed lbs /horse /day
A = 1.6 % body weight
B = 1.9% body weight
Commercial Feeds
Source of nutrients
calories
protein
minerals
vitamins
Convenient
Small amount needed
2- 6 lbs per horse
1 bag = 12.5 days /horse
1 ton = 500 days/horse
Commercial Feeds
Commercial feeds
sweet feed
pelleted feed
Custom mixes
Grain mixes
Cereal grains
corn & oats
barley, milo , wheat
Calories
Starch
Processing
ground
rolled
crimped
steam flaked
Oats > corn >barley
Commercial Feeds
Supplement pellets
Supplements
Minerals and vitamins
Alternative feeds
Alfalfa products
Beet pulp
Soy Hulls
Distillers Grains
Corn Gluten Feed
Alternative feeds
Alfalfa products
cubes
hay replacement
lb for lb
pellets
nutrient source
controlled intakes
Alternative feeds
Beet pulp / Soy Hulls
calories
fermentation
controlled intakes
useful
Alternative feeds
Distillers Grains
Corn Gluten Feed
calories
protein
limited use 10-15% of total diet
Salt
free choice
Plain or TM ?
Block or Loose?
Minerals
calcium and phosphorus
TM added
salt added
Block or loose
Forage intake estimates
Hay
Minimum = 1% body weight
Typical = 1.5 – 2.0 % body weight
Upper limits = 2.5 – 3% body weight
Total intake will reflect forage quality
Forage intake estimates
Pasture
1.5 – 3.1 % body weight per 24 hours
Concentrate use
Fed for many reasons
balance forage nutrients
meet specific nutrient requirements
the owner wants to
Concerns
over feeding
fat horses with issues
Concentrate use
Starch
controlled intakes
2 -3 grams per kg body weight / meal
Grain meal = 5 lbs per meal
Meals no closer than 5 hrs
Feeding Management
Forage primary nutrient source
Quality forage
NO MOLD
Concentrate as required
Change feeds gradually
21 -28 day adaptation
Feed them like a horse
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