All about changing feeds

When considering changing your horse’s diet, you should bear in mind the following:

  • Problem: Changing from low energy to high energy feed

    Solution: Make sure the workload increases first.

  • Problem: Changing from high energy to low energy feed

    Solution: Start the change several days before the workload decreases so once you are at a new level of work, the feeding regime is already in place.

  • Problem: Changing from straights to a balanced concentrate or vice versa

    Solution: As you are totally changing the feeding regime, the gut needs adequate time to become adjusted. Ensure you allow plenty of time to make the change.

  • Problem: Increasing the concentrate

    Solution: Make sure you do not feed more than 50% of the ration as concentrates as you may overload the digestive system with starch, interfering with the efficiency of fibre utilisation.

  • Problem: Increasing the fibre

    Solution: Not a problem if the fibre is clean and dust free. However, it will take a few days for the fibre-digesting bacteria to adjust.

  • Problem: Changing from hay to haylage

    Solution: Hay contains around 15% water whereas haylage can contain between 35% and 50% water. When changing over, blend the two products, increasing the haylage daily for a week. You should be feeding around 20% extra weight of haylage to allow for the high water content.

  • Problem: Changing from haylage to hay

    Solution: Change over a few days and ensure your hay supply is clean, sweet smelling and free of mould or dust.

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