Fibre, provided by forage, should be the basis of every horse or pony’s diet, but we can’t rely on this to provide all the essential nutrients needed for health and well-being. That’s why it’s highly recommended that some form of supplementary feed is given alongside forage to supply what’s missing – and more, if the horse is working hard or has increased requirements.
Many choose a so-called “fibre feed”, which will provide additional fibre calories but some of these don’t contain the necessary added vitamins and minerals needed to supply the horse with a fully balanced diet. A fully balanced diet is one which provides all the energy (calories), protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your horse needs to maintain condition, fuel work and stay healthy.
Most chaffs and alfalfa products are not fully balanced and those that are need feeding in considerable volumes to supply the minimum daily requirements a horse requires. Baileys offer a number of other ways to feed additional fibre, to that provided by forage, and we can also supply the other essential nutrients your horse or pony needs.
A different way to feed fibre…
To good-doersWhat can be higher in fibre than a net of hay or haylage? For good-doers this may need soaking to reduce water soluble carbohydrate (wsc) content and stalkier, later cut forages may also be advisable as these tend to be less nutritious. This will enable you to provide your horse with fibre to chew on and keep the gut healthy, while keeping calorie intake to a minimum.
The missing essential nutrients can then be supplied by Lo-Cal balancer, which contains quality protein, for muscle tone, and a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, without the calories associated with a traditional mix or cube. You can feed this with a little Light Chaff, for more chew time while, again, limiting calorie intake.
For those who like to feed beet pulp but are wary of its calorie content for good-doers or laminitics, soaked Speedi-Beet is also ideal fed with Baileys Lo-Cal balancer. One balancer mug of Speedi-Beet soaked with four mugs of water produces a Stubbs scoop-full for a horse to chew on, but still provides fewer calories even than a scoop of Light Chaff.
To those needing a low starch diet
For horses who need additional calories alongside forage, but need to avoid too much cereal in their diets, Keep Calm is an ideal choice. This high fibre, quick-soaking feed is fully balanced with vitamins and minerals and designed to maintain condition while helping encourage a calm temperament.
Its low starch, low sugar formula makes it suitable for those prone to laminitis (unless they are overweight when they’d be better off with Lo-Cal balancer) and supports a healthy gastric environment. For harder working horses, Keep Calm can be topped up with Performance Balancer and Outshine high oil supplement to meet their increased requirements.
To horses at rest or in light workSome horses need the combination of additional calories and other essential nutrients supplied by a fully balanced mix or cube. New formula High Fibre Complete Nuggets contain highly digestible fibre sources, including alfalfa, and their chunky nature gives horses plenty chew on.
They are fully balanced with vitamins and minerals so will provide a low energy fully balanced diet when fed at recommended levels. Everyday High Fibre Cubes are a more traditional option, and contain additional oil to support a shiny coat, while quick-soaking Keep Calm is also an excellent option.
To poor-doers or “fibre-fussers”
Fibre is essential for gut health and digestive efficiency. For those who aren’t good eaters of hay or haylage, alternatives are necessary to increase fibre intake and encourage natural foraging behaviour and chewing. Baileys Alfalfa Plus Oil supplies highly digestible fibre plus quality protein and is ideal for those who need a little help to maintain condition.
Fibre-Beet is also an excellent option and, like Alfalfa Plus Oil, can be fed in a separate trug or bucket from the horse’s mix, cubes or balancer. Fibre Plus Nuggets will tempt most horses and can be fed on the floor or in boredom balls as a tasty forage alternative without added vitamins and minerals.To veterans
Failing teeth can leave aging equines struggling to chew hay or haylage so easier-to-eat alternatives are necessary to help maintain fibre intake. Keep Calm will provide a fully balanced high fibre diet alongside other fibre sources, like Alfalfa Blend, Light Chaff or Alfalfa Plus Oil.
High Fibre Complete nuggets will also soften easily with water, to ease consumption, as will Fibre Plus Nuggets, which will act as a partial forage replacer. Speedi-Beet is also an ideal starch-free, low sugar source of highly digestible fibre and could be mixed with chaffs, like Light Chaff or Alfalfa Blend, to offer a “haynet in a bucket”.
So, if you’re wondering what to feed alongside forage this winter, there are loads of fibre-based options to provide the additional calories but make sure you supply what’s lacking in forage to ensure your horse or pony isn’t missing out.
See much more at www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk