Equine_Equine-Nutrition

Feeding Advice

When preparing your horse’s feed, always calculate by weight and not by volume so that the ration is correctly balanced for its requirements. We suggest you use scales to ensure accurate quantities. You can do this simply by weighing out all of your feedstuffs once and noting down how much each scoop weighs.

Forage should be the foundation of your horse’s diet in order to provide all the essential fibre and natural energy needed. The National Research Council (NRC) suggests horses require a minimum of 1% – 1.5% of their bodyweight (dry feed weight) daily as forage. In other words, horses need at least 50% of their total diet as forage in order to maintain digestive health. If your horse is 500kg, that equates to 7.5kg of forage on a dry weight basis per day. We recommend at least half of that (in this case 3.75kg (dry matter basis) or 7.5kg as fed) should be Fiber Fresh.

Avoid over-use of grain-based feeds and long periods without sufficient forage-fibre. For grain based concentrates, a common standard is to use no more than 400g concentrate/100kg body weight per meal, i.e. 2kg of grain for a 500kg horse. More than this can risk starch and soluble carbohydrate passing to the large intestine which can cause hind gut acidosis and damage to the microbial populations in the hindgut (often leading to laminitis, tying-up, colic or other serious digestive or metabolic problems).

To help avoid such conditions, it is recommended that if you need to feed grain based feeds always mix them in thoroughly with forage. Research has shown that feeding horses Fiber Fresh feeds alongside grain based feeds results in a higher chew rate and a noticeably slower eating time as well as passage rate, allowing more time for better digestion of the hard feed.

Although horses have a very large capacity for eating Fiber Fresh, it is best to transition horses, especially active horses, progressively onto recommended amounts over a period of three to four weeks (click here for advice on incorporating Fiber Fresh into your horses diet). To attain higher daily feeding quantities, evenly divide the combined recommended daily feeding amount into three or more equally spaced feeds per day.

 

Recommended Daily Feeding Amounts – General Health

There is a Fiber Fresh equine forage feed designed to meet every horse’s needs. The use of the correct Fiber Fresh product for your horse will result in a marked improvement in his general health and well-being.

Fiber Fresh products are modern high-performance forage feeds. You can confidently replace dry lucerne and other forages (hays, chaffs, and cubes) with the convenience and superior nutrition of feeds that contain HNF® (High Nutritional Fiber). Almost any grain or grain-based concentrate can be fed on top of Fiber Fresh feeds..

base-fibre-feeds-table

total-mixed-rations-table

 *Intended as a guide only. Assumes additional energy and nutrients will be supplied through pasture or other sources. Adjust these feeding amounts according to the desired body weight and condition.

 

Recommended Daily Feeding Amounts – Gastric Health

Used at the following recommended daily feeding rates, FiberProtect® and FiberEdge® can each help ensure the general health and good behaviour in your horse as well as aid in their rapid return to good digestive function and gastric health. These products can be also used as dietary aids in a short course of corrective feeding to counter the effects of high grain–based feed regimes and return the stomach to a state of normal health.

In spelling horses, when fed FiberProtect® as the sole diet to provide daily energy requirements for maintenance, a return to good gastric health could be expected in as little as 14-28 days. To achieve this, for a 500kg horse, a rate of 3.0kg/100kg body weight per day would equate to 15kg of FiberProtect® (as fed) daily. FiberEdge®, with its higher energy value, can be used effectively in spelling horses where weight gain is desired simultaneous with a return to optimal gastric health and function.

gastric-health-table

*Providing that grain-based feeds do not make up greater than 50% of the diet, and that recommended daily feeding amounts are respected.

Once good gastric function and health has been restored research has shown that grains can be reintroduced and feeding a reduced rate of 1.75kg/100kg body weight, which for a 500kg horse would equate to 8.75kg of FiberProtect® and FiberEdge® (as fed) daily, is effective in maintaining good gastric function.

For correcting the forage to grain ratio and helping to maintain good gastric health in active horses, even when fed 50%-60% concentrate feed, a rate of 1.75kg/100kg bodyweight is recommended.

For more information, download our handy brochure: Getting it right in your feed bowl.