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.