Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Guide to Complete Horse Feeds

Thehorse.com - Full Article

by: Juliet M. Getty, PhD
July 01 2012, Article # 20398

Choosing a ready-made feed can be daunting, but this rundown will get you started on the right path to proper nutrition

Feeding time! Open a bag of ready-made feed and you're set, right? But wait--there's a staggering variety of offerings on the feed store's shelves, and it's important that you choose the correct one for your particular horse.

Manufacturers fortify these feeds with vitamins and minerals in a "complete" blend designed to provide all the nutrients a horse needs (when fed the recommended amount) without additional supplementation. Hay and/or pasture grass should make up the bulk of your horse's diet (he requires 1.5 to 2.5% of his body weight in forage per day), so most complete feeds are meant to be fed in addition to adequate forage. While many horses (particularly overweight or sedentary animals) simply need hay/pasture, water, salt, and a vitamin/mineral supplement to meet their nutritional requirements, the working or underweight horse, for instance, will benefit from a commercially fortified feed.

The array of complete feeds includes some that are cereal grain-based and others that are low-starch. Some are sweet feeds and still others are pelleted. There are those designed for growth, broodmares, performance--even senior citizens.

When choosing a complete feed appropriate for your horse, look for these basics depending on the fitting category:...

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