Thursday, November 29, 2012

Equine Protein Requirements - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · January 21, 2010

Horse owners want to provide their horses with adequate nourishment, but they may be confused about the best way to meet the protein requirements of animals with different workloads or ages.

While each horse needs to be considered as an individual, these basic guidelines may help to answer many questions.

How much protein does a horse need?

A horse's requirement for protein is determined by the animal's stage of development and workload.

Some general recommendations are listed below (please note, intakes mentioned are merely for the purposes of illustrating what is needed to meet protein requirements alone, but will likely not meet requirements for other nutrients).

A mature horse (average weight of 1100 pounds) needs about 1.4 pounds of protein a day for maintenance, early pregnancy, or light work. The horse usually ingests at least this much protein by grazing or eating grass hay (dry matter intake of about 22 pounds).

A mature horse doing moderate to heavy work needs about 2 to 2.15 pounds of protein a day. An owner could feed 22 pounds of grass or hay and add 2 to 4 pounds of fortified feed to meet the protein requirement...

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