Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts

Can I feed lawn clippings to my horse?

Can I feed lawn clippings to my horse?

Lawn clippings should never be fed to horses. They are very high in moisture content and develop mould very quickly; this can be very toxic to horses. The increase in moisture content of the forage provided may also cause gas colic due to a sudden change in the horses’ diet.

Why does weight loss occur?

Why does weight loss occur?

Weight loss in mature horses can occur for a number of reasons. The fundamental reason for weight loss is simple – the horse is expending more calories (energy) than he is consuming. This can be because he is exercising more and his diet has not been adjusted. The temperature has decreased and the horse is using more energy to stay warm. If the horse is sick or injured he will use significantly more energy to heal and recover. Sickness of disease that results in a decreased appetite will decrease the calories being consumed. Adding fat to the diet will markedly increase the caloric density of his feed without increasing the bulk of his feed. Average sized horses (500kg) can be fed as much as 2 cups of oil per day. When adding fat to the diet it must be done gradually like any feeding change.

 

Can cattle feed be fed to a horse?

Can cattle feed be fed to a horse?

Any feeds or supplements designed for cattle should NEVER be fed to horses. Many additives included in cattle supplements can harm or even kill horses. For example ionophores (monensin, laslocid, or salinomycin) are common ingredients used in cattle feeds to promote growth. These, however, can be lethal in horses. Each year horses are killed due to ionophore toxicity from eating supplements intended for cattle. Another common ingredient in cattle supplements is nonprotein nitrogen (urea). Too much urea can kill horses.

Do horses need additional nutrients when on pasture and have a mineral block?

Do horses need additional nutrients when on pasture and have a mineral block?

If a horse has access to pasture and a trace mineral salt block, they do require additional nutrients. Trace Mineral salt blocks are typically 97% salt and 3% trace minerals. Trace minerals often included in these blocks are zinc, iron, manganese, copper, cobalt, and iodine. Pasture and trace mineral salt will NOT satisfy the nutrient requirements of horses. This is especially true if horses and keep in groups and one horse is at the bottom of the pecking order. Selenium is rarely added to a trace mineral salt block and is lacking in soils and pastures in most parts of the world.

Senior horses are sensitive to temperature extremes

Senior horses are sensitive to temperature extremes

The older horse might not regulate body temperature as efficiently as he once did, so he might require some assistance in staying comfortable in very cold wet conditions or extremely warm temperatures. Again, provide a shelter to help horses stay dry in cold, damp conditions; it also furnishes shade from the sun when it’s hot. Many older horses benefit from blanketing in cold or damp conditions to help maintain their body heat.

Insulin Resistance Symptoms:

Insulin Resistance Symptoms:

• Abnormal fat deposits such as a cresty neck or lumpy fat patches which persist even if the horse loses weight, fatty sheath
• History of laminitis commonly induced by grass
• Puffiness in the hollows above the eyes
• Advanced symptoms include increased thirst and urination, loss of body condition and muscle wasting and low energy levels. Above normal insulin with normal blood glucose.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Horses are also obligatory nose breathers. That means they can breathe ONLY through their noses. We can breathe through our mouths and our noses. So if we get a stuffy nose, no big deal. We just breathe through our mouths. If a horse’s nasal passages swell due to a snake bite or allergy, he will suffocate.

Why do foals eat manure?

Why do foals eat manure?

Foals often eat fresh manure from other horses, a practice known as coprophagia. Some people believe the practice is a means of establishing a bacterial population in the digestive system. Recent research however showed that foals establish a bacterial population without the practice of coprophagy. The researchers suggest bacteria on the mares udder is primarily responsible for the initial bacterial population in the foals digestive tract.

Why do horses chew wood?

Why do horses chew wood?

Some horses when given access to lush spring grass will continue to want dry hay or will start to chew wood. This is because lush grass is a poor source of structural carbohydrates (fibre). Horses need fibre in their diet for proper digestive function. If horses are not given enough fibre they will seek other sources of fibre. If fibre is not provided as hay, horses may chew wooden fence rails or wooden boards in stables.

In a natural, free roaming situation horses graze nearly constantly throughout the day and night.

In a natural, free roaming situation horses graze nearly constantly throughout the day and night.

When feeding horses in stables it is ideal to try and mimic this feeding behavior. Horses in stabled conditions should be fed their grain concentrate over at least 2 meals per day and hay should be provided so they can pick at it continuously between feedings. Horses in strenuous training will likely need to be fed 3 to 4 times per day to safely consume enough concentrate to sustain their increase workload. If roughage is not offered continuously throughout the day it can increase the horses risk for gastric ulcers.

Magnesium is probably the most overlooked electrolyte

Magnesium is probably the most overlooked electrolyte

Although found in much smaller amounts than many other electrolytes. It has a critical role to play. Magnesium functions as a co factor for over 300 enzyme reactions within the body. This means if magnesium is not present or is present in an insufficient amount, each of these 300 reactions will suffer. Magnesium is required for normal muscle function, especially for relaxation of a muscle.

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals

Horses depend on certain electrically charged minerals to maintain the balance and flow of vital body fluids, the transmission of nerve impulses and the healthy function of the muscles and the circulatory system. These minerals are called electrolytes. Their positive and negative charges help to control the body’s pH (acid/base) balance and the transport of nutrients and waste products in and out of the cell. The minerals sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium collectively are termed electrolytes.

Calcium is an important electrolyte

Calcium is an important electrolyte

When we hear calcium, we think of bones and teeth. This is indeed a major function of calcium in the body, and most of the calcium is found within bones and teeth. However calcium in its ionic form (Ca++) is an important electrolyte. Like potassium and magnesium, it is critical to the normal function of muscles and nerve tissue.

Old horses have special nutritional needs

Old horses have special nutritional needs

They lose digestive efficiency and require diets with higher amounts of quality protein, phosphorus, and vitamins. The nutrient requirements for senior horses are thought to be closer to those of yearlings than those of adult horses at maintenance. Senior horses first require high quality forage and often a concentrate designed to provide extra protein, minerals and vitamins. Generally a concentrate with a minimum of 13% protein, as well as vitamin and mineral fortification is necessary for aged horses. For horses that cannot chew forage, complete feeds (with all fibre included) should be fed. Robank Golden Years is a high fat, high fibre feed which is ideal for senior horses.

At what age is a horse considered a senior citizen

At what age is a horse considered a senior citizen

The age at which a horse becomes a senior depends on the individual horse because some age more gracefully than others. By the time a horse reaches its late teens or early twenties, it is safe to say it is becoming an aged horse. However, many horses can be much older and show very few signs of aging. A nutritionist does not designate a horse as a senior until it is unable to eat its normal diet and maintain the desired body condition. Once a horse is unable to sustain itself on a normal diet, one that has maintained the horse for years, dietary changes and occasionally environmental and medical changes are necessary to keep the horse healthy.

Senior horses are sensitive to temperature extremes

Senior horses are sensitive to temperature extremes

The older horse might not regulate body temperature as efficiently as he once did, so he might require some assistance in staying comfortable in very cold wet conditions or extremely warm temperatures. Again, provide a shelter to help horses stay dry in cold, damp conditions; it also furnishes shade from the sun when it’s hot. Many older horses benefit from blanketing in cold or damp conditions to help maintain their body heat.

Horses with Cushing’s produce excessive amounts of cortisol from their adrenal glands

Horses with Cushing’s produce excessive amounts of cortisol from their adrenal glands

 

Cortisol has many functions in the body including maintaining blood pressure, modifying the body’s inflammatory immune response, regulating the function of nervous tissue, regulating muscle tone and connective tissue repair, and regulating the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats by controlling insulin levels in the body. The excessive amount of cortisol produced in horses with Cushing’s disease leads to many problems including recurring laminitis, muscle atrophy, susceptibility to disease, slow wound healing, excessive hair growth along with failure to shed, and lethargy.