Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Feeding Horses When Temperatures Drop

Thehorse.com - Full article

by: University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
November 30 2008

Winter presents a challenge to horse owners when it comes to feeding their horses. Low temperatures, harsh winds and rain, snow, and ice all contribute to the increasing nutrient requirements a horse has to keep themselves warm and maintain their body weight.

Here are a few feeding tips to help horse owners keep their horses happy and healthy this winter:

* Winter tends to be a time when horses lose weight, and a heavy winter coat can hide a thin horse. Make sure to check your horse's body condition every 30 days. If your horse loses weight during the winter, try increasing his body weight prior to the winter months so that he can lose some weight during the winter without becoming thin.

* Horses require additional energy from the diet to maintain body weight when temperatures drop below 45°F. Remember that pasture grasses do not grow during the colder months. Providing good quality hay at 2% of the horse's body weight should meet his nutrient requirements for maintenance. Feeding hay also generates heat during digestion by gut microbes, and that helps horses stay warm.


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