Win­ter feed­ing: facts and f ic­tion

Bai­leys nu­tri­tion­ist Emma Short talks to about feed­ing horses in the cold

Irish Independent - Farming - - FARM OUR -

feed, or a low en­ergy mix/cube, to a higher en­ergy/calo­rie feed but should adapt eas­ily, if the change is made slowly so that the bac­te­ria in the hindgut have the time to ad­just to the new diet.

Any im­prove­ment in the nu­tri­ent con­tent of the diet should make a horse feel bet­ter in it­self as well as look bet­ter.

Re­mem­ber, con­di­tion is about a lot more than lev­els of body fat; mus­cle tone and top line are also in­te­gral as are healthy skin, hooves and coat.

Di­etary pro­tein pro­vides the build­ing blocks of mus­cle, and other body tis­sues, and the qual­ity of that pro­tein is as im­por­tant as the quan­tity.

Good-qual­ity pro­tein comes from sources like al­falfa and soya beans, and sup­plies cer­tain es­sen­tial amino acids that other di­etary pro­tein sources don’t.

For this rea­son, a good-qual­ity con­di­tion­ing feed, con­tain­ing these in­gre­di­ents, is likely to bring bet­ter re­sults than a ‘cheaper’ one or a ran­dom com­bi­na­tion of feeds, like bar­ley, beet and pony nuts!

In our ex­pe­ri­ence, a care­ful change to the rec­om­mended quan­tity of the mar­ket-lead­ing con­di­tion­ing feed, brings vis­i­ble re­sults in two to three weeks, which can only ben­e­fit the horse’s health and well-be­ing.

Cold snap: horses feed in the snow as the cold weather bites last win­ter

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