Q. I buy horse feed in bulk from my local feed merchant and often it doesn’t look very fresh by the time I get down to the last bags. How can I prolong its shelf life?
Equine nutritionist Christine Smy replies: Most concentrates will have a shelf life of between four and six months and many will still have relatively good levels of minerals and vitamins after this date.
However, problems may arise during the hot months or very wet periods, when, if not stored correctly, feed can go off. Grain mites are often a problem during the summer and feed can godamp and mouldy in the winter.
Make sure you store your feed in a cool, dark, dry container which is rodent-proof and store unopened bags on pallets rather than on the floor.
When you prepare meals for your horse, ensure there is good lighting, as mouldy feed cannot be easily seen in dim light and the last thing you want to do is give your horse colic by giving him poor-quality food.
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Always check the best before date before buying sacks of feed, to make sure there is plenty of shelf life left. The feed may have come to your merchant through several distributors, which takes time.