Feeding quality food plays a big part in keeping your horse in peak condition. Buthowever good the ingredients, correct storage is vital.

Most concentrates, such as cereals and coarse mixes, will go stale or mouldy after a week if the bag is left open to the air, which is why manufacturers recommend that feed is stored in airtight containers.

Ideally, storage areas should be dry and well ventilated and kept tidy and clean. Place sacks of feed out of direct sunlight and stack them on pallets to help keep moisture out.

If buying in bulk, make sure you can see the sell-by date easily so that the oldest sacks are used up first.

Once opened, keep the sacks in a vermin-proof container, such as a galvanised feed bin or dustbin. Big yards which feed a number of horses one type of feed will find it easier to empty anumber of sacks into one container.

Old open-top freezers are also a good option. However, if you are using this method, avoid the risk of mould developing by ensuring that you use up the old feed and clean the bin before adding the new product.

The feed store should also be secure so that there is no chance of horses getting in and gorging themselves – particularly dangerous if sugar beet is being kept there.

Storage do’s and don’ts

  • Check the product’s sell by date before purchase
  • Use within the specified sell by date to ensure freshness
  • Do not buy more feed than can sensibly be stored and used within a month
  • Store in rodent-proof containers (plastic is often not adequate)
  • If using metalcontainers, line the sides with newspaper or leave the feed in its bag to minimise condensation in winter
  • Make sure sugar beet pellets are stored separately and labelled
  • Do not store bags on the floor or in contact with external walls as this may cause the bags to become damp.

To read more about feed storage see Horse & Hound issue dated 11 October 2001, or click here to subscribe. To purchase a back issue (tel: 020 8503 0588).