Learning The Secrets About Health

Feeding Tips for Healthy Horses Proper feeding is vital for overall horse health. Poor nutrition can cause problems like increased risk for infectious diseases, reduced performance, lameness, and colic. As well as water, horses require vitamins, minerals, protein and energy in their diet. The right amount and balance of these nutrients is critical. Nutritional imbalances, deficiencies and excesses all can negatively affect a horse’s performance and health. When planning on what to feed a horse, how much to feed, and how to do it, you should remember that horses have little stomachs, which reduces the rations they consume at any given time. The digestive system of a horse is used to processing small quantities of food continuously; thus, horses tend to nibble on food almost constantly. Keeping this in mind, pasture is the most basic food for horses. Most mature horses doing moderate or light work will fare okay with just pasture as long as they have quality forage and adequate grazing time. If there is no pasture or it’s inadequate, the next ideal option is hay. If fed on just hay, most horses will normally need at least 1.5 or 2 pounds of top quality grass hay, including timothy, fescue or orchard grass, per one hundred pounds body weight every day. If you’re supplementing pasture with hay feed, adjust the amount of hay to keep the horse in tiptop shape.
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A horse is adjudged to be in great shape when the ribs can’t be seen but may be felt easily. A horse’s weight can be accurately estimated using a height tape, which you can find at most horse feed stores. You can measure exact hay weights with economical hanging or quality loading scales. Top quality hay is leafy, green and free of excessive dust, mold and musty smell.
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Horses fed on grass, hay or a hay and grass combination require salt for balancing their diets. Depending on age, performance and forage fed, horses can also require protein horse supplements, and/or mineral/vitamin supplements. Most stores now sell protein or mineral or vitamin supplements for horses on forage diets. These contain fewer calories and are normally given at one or two pounds per day for a full-grown horse. Due to limitations on the amount of feed intake, forage alone might not provide enough nutrient requirements of growing foals, hardworking horses, pregnant mares, and nursing mares. In such cases, a grain/concentrate should be fed to horses to supplement diets. Feed them appropriate amounts and kinds of grain/concentrate depending on the recommendations of the manufacturer. If you need to alter their diet, make sure to do it gradually. Horses still need to be fed forage at a rate of one or one and a half pounds per 100 pounds body weight each day for proper function of the digestive tract.

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