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  1. #1
    Old nag
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    Default High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    Good? Or bad?! Ive always thought very high protein levels wouldnt be healthy for a horse... but noticed an increase in popularity of high protein feeds! Thoughts on this? What ill effects could be caused?

  2. #2
    Old nag
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    I've noticed this too as now it seems oats bad and soya good. Maybe its because the trend is towards "conditioning" mixes?

    That said I had good success with top spec turbo oats which have the soya beans added.

    I found i could replicate by using flaked peas and oats, gives that extra fizz I was after (and cheaper than the top spec)

  3. #3
    Veteran Fiona's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    We feed D&H Just grass and a cool mix. I'm not at a livery yard though, so possibly miss out on the trendsetting/trying something new sort of thing. I am v boring when it comes to feed really.

    To answer your question - I would say bad (unless a TB racehorse).

    Fiona

  4. #4
    Veteran SirenaXVI's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    [ QUOTE ]
    We feed D&H Just grass and a cool mix. I'm not at a livery yard though, so possibly miss out on the trendsetting/trying something new sort of thing. I am v boring when it comes to feed really.

    To answer your question - I would say bad (unless a TB racehorse).

    Fiona

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Protein is most certainly NOT bad, it is vital for muscle development and regeneration, protein has no effect whatsoever on temperament and it always makes me laugh when people tell me their horse is allergic to protein, as without it the horse would be dead!

    So protein is good, but it must be good quality - soya is a brilliant source.
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  5. #5
    Old nag TGM's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    One factor to consider is the quantities of the high protein feeds given. For example, a lot of balancers are high in protein but are fed at very low rates - typically about 500g - the idea being to lift a relatively low protein diet (eg mainly average/poor hay) to the ideal protein levels for an average horse.

    On the other hand, if you fed a lot of high protein hay (alfalfa, for example) then that would have a much bigger effect on the overall protein level of the diet.

    Experts seemed to be rather divided about whether feeding more protein than the horse actually needs is harmful, but most seem to feel it is at least wasteful as high protein feeds are expensive and any excess protein is just broken down in the body, not stored. However, most believe that feeding excess protein does not bring any extra benefits, and there are some studies that suggest it can adversely affect performance in endurance and race-horses.

  6. #6
    Old nag TGM's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    To be fair to Fiona, she wasn't saying protein was bad in itself, but that very high protein diets were likely to be bad! (She was answering the question in the OP!)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    There are two issues,protein quantity, and protein quality.Protein is composed of amino acids. These are further subdivided into essential(the body cannot synthesise these from other amino acids)and non essential.Every protein in the body contains a very specific construction of aminoacids.If any one essential aminoacid is not present,the protein cannot be produced.If overall there is insufficient quantity of aminoacids,also ,proteins cannot be produced. The body does not store surplus aminoacids,they are broken down by a process called deamination.This occurs in the liver. Excess protein puts a strain on the liver and can be harmfull. The fad for high protein levels is not new .People have merely forgotten the effects. A fit horse has a smaller requirement for protein than an unfit horse because there is little requirement for it ,other than repair and replacement,whereas an unfit horse requires it also for construction of new protein,(Muscle has a very high protein content). To sum up,Overall protein quality,is vitally important. Poor quality results in inadequate protein synthesis ,and excessive deamination.Feeding high levels is not the answer ,it merely puts additional strain on the liver. Feeding high levels of high quality protein also puts strain on the liver,but does not increase protein synthesis.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    Thamks Mike, thats what I was looking for. I know protein is vital, and I know it has no effect on temperament, but I wandered if high levels would have negative effects and could contribute to physical problems? Only reason I ask is an increasingly popular conditioning feed is VERY high (about 25% ) protein, and I remember someone I respected very highly saying he wouldnt feed it because the protein level was too high, but I couldnt remember what the ill effects were.
    I feed high protein chaff (alfa Oil) and a balancer, but my horse is developing so needs to building blocks for muscle.

    I just wander whether the additional strain put on a horse from being fed high protein diets could contribute to other illness's that may occur due to the body being under strain processing something it wouldnt naturally....

  9. #9
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    I will in future steer clear of high protein balancers for growing youngsters as I believe they can have a deterimental effect on their growth in that they can encourage them to grow too big and too fast resulting in numerous developmental disorders including OCD and growth plate problems. I'm not saying that these disorders dont occur in animals not fed high protein diets but I don't believe they would be as bad...

    in working horses. like everything I believe they have their place but I think people should ask themselves what is right for their horse before jumping on the bandwaggon.

  10. #10
    Veteran Fiona's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Protein feeds fed to horses....

    Is excess protein (over and above what is needed by the body obviously) not implicated in tieing-up etc.

    Thanks TGM for sticking up for me above BTW - I would hardly feed Just Grass if I were against 'protein' per se. I just dislike it in a compound 'quick release energy' type feed (unless as I said - the horse is a TB racehorse).

    Fiona

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