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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