Standlee Barn Bulletin

The Standlee Barn Bulletin is your source for insightful articles about premium western forage and beyond.

How Much Hay Does Your Horse Need For Winter?

How Much Hay Does Your Horse Need For Winter?

Winter is upon us, which means pastures are dying and additional forage sources become a staple in horse diets. Are you the type of horse owner who buys what you can in late summer or fall, and then end up...

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3 Nutritional Disorders to Consider When Feeding Goats

3 Nutritional Disorders to Consider When Feeding Goats

Goat ownership has risen over the past several years – people are keeping small groups of goats as pets, milk producers or as companion grazing animals (great at eating poison ivy and other invasive plants). Before purchasing goats, there are...

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3 Common Misconceptions of Feeding Alfalfa to Horses

3 Common Misconceptions of Feeding Alfalfa to Horses

Many horse owners are aware, alfalfa has been blamed (justly or unjustly) for problems associated with horse health. “Too much of this nutrient”, “not enough of that nutrient” are common phrases found in discussions regarding alfalfa hay for horses....

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Feeding the Performance Horse

Feeding the Performance Horse

What makes a horse a performance horse? Performance is “loosely” defined as any form of work or forced physical activity. Work or physical activity can include walking, trotting, cantering, running, jumping, and turning. Therefore, a performance horses can include any...

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How Winter Affects Horses - Temperatures & Feeding

How Winter Affects Horses - Temperatures & Feeding

During the winter season, temperatures typically fall below that necessary for pasture grass to grow. Pastures become rapidly depleted of natural forage and horses must increasingly rely on their owners to provide them with a nutritionally adequate diet. To properly...

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        "title": "How Much Hay Does Your Horse Need For Winter?",
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        "metaDescription": "Winter is upon us, which means pastures are dying and additional forage sources become a staple in horse diets.",
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Winter is upon us, which means pastures are dying and additional forage sources become a staple in horse diets. Are you the type of horse owner who buys what you can in late summer or fall, and then end up having to find more mid-winter, sometimes scrambling due to the lack of availability or settling for and paying a pretty penny for subpar quality because that is all that is left? Or do you like to plan ahead and try to purchase almost all the winter forage you’ll need before winter starts?

\n\"Cowboy\n

Maybe you wish you could do some pre-planning, but you have limitations. Not enough barn space? This is where compressed forage bales come in handy. It’s the same amount of forage as your common 50 pound bale (approximately), just in a convenient, compressed format, and for that very reason – the critical need for space. This could be for a barn with limited storage or during the summer months, traveling to numerous shows with minimal trailer space. Fit more forage with compressed or bagged products!

\n

With colder months impending, it is important to prepare for the amount of forage you need to feed your horses over these months. Conservatively, a horse should consume 1.5% of its body weight (BW) in forage per day, at a minimum. Ideally, we would like this to be closer to 2.5% of their BW*.

\n

Let’s look how much hay you may need to store to make it through winter for the following horses:

\n\n

We typically have approximately 5 months (~150 days) of winter/mud season that our horses need 100% of their forage requirements supplied by hay or hay alternatives, which may vary depending on your location.

\n\n

Let’s put this into perspective with some examples.

\n

1.13 tons of forage equals:

\n\n

1.88 tons of forage equals:

\n\n

Do you have a local hay supplier you trust and have used for years, but ran out or you’d like to add more quality forage to your feed program with Standlee? Or maybe, a few months from now, you find winter is lasting another month in your area this year? Rely on Standlee Premium Western Forage® for a dependable, consistent supply of quality forage. Let’s tack on another 30 days for a horse needing 2.5% of their body weight in forage.

\n

25lbs/day x 30 days = 750 lbs

\n

750 pounds of forage equals:

\n\n\"Winter\n

Click on the image above to download the infographic

\n

If you’ve got more than one horse, just remember to multiply it out by the number of horses you’re needing to feed through the winter. Are you prepping for how much forage you’ll need this winter?

\n

Helpful notes for figuring your personal hay supply needs:

\n\n
\n

References:

\n", "urlWithHost": "http://standleeforage.com/standlee-barn-bulletin/how-much-hay-does-your-horse-need-for-winter", "rating": 0.0, "commentsCount": 0, "trackbacksCount": 0 }, { "id": 659972, "type": "BlogsPosts", "date": "2019-08-13T23:00:00", "author": "", "authorPictureUrl": "/CatalystImages/UserProfileDefault.jpg", "trackbackUrl": "http://standleeforage.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=11741&PostID=659972&A=Trackback", "url": "/standlee-barn-bulletin/3-nutritional-disorders-to-consider-when-feeding-goats", "title": "3 Nutritional Disorders to Consider When Feeding Goats", "postFeaturedImage": "/images/blog/feeding_goats.jpg", "metaTitle": "3 Nutritional Disorders to Consider When Feeding Goats", "metaDescription": "Understanding the digestive system and nutritional requirements of goats can keep your herd healthy. Learn more about 3 common nutritional disorders in goats: Thiamine Deficiency, Acidosis, and Urinary Calculi.", "body": "

Goat ownership has risen over the past several years – people are keeping small groups of goats as pets, milk producers or as companion grazing animals (great at eating poison ivy and other invasive plants). Before purchasing goats, there are some basics about their digestion we must understand, as well as several nutritional disorders that can easily be avoided with the correct management.

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Goats are ruminant animals that rely on fiber (hay, pasture, forage pellets, and forage cubes) to provide most of their nutrition. Goats have a digestive system that is filled with billions of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria and protozoa. These microbes ferment plant fiber and produce energy and other useful nutrients that fuel these animals. The digestive system is also home to harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. The delicate balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria can be easily disturbed.

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Three common nutritional disorders seen in backyard herds are the following:

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Thiamine Deficiency

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High levels of grain in the diet and stress are associated with thiamine deficiency (polioencephalomalacia). Thiamine (vitamin B1) is made by the normal bacteria in the rumen. Kids or does on high carbohydrate diets (sweet feed) may have an upset in normal rumen flora. A change in bacterial types may cause either a deficiency of thiamine or production of an enzyme which inhibits thiamine activity. The animals appear drunk, may not be able to stand, become blind and slowly die. There is often a dramatic response to a large dose of thiamine (5 milligrams per pound), which may need to be repeated. These diseases can be best prevented by increasing the grain level in the diet slowly (if you are adding grain) and maintaining at least 50-percent forage in the diet. Feeding premium quality forage to goats with high nutritional needs instead of high amounts of grain will reduce the risk of this disorder occurring significantly.

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The Merck Veterinarian Manual. (2006). Polioencephalomalacia: Introduction (cerebrocortical necrosis). Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc

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Acidosis

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Acidosis in goats is related to either feeding high levels of grain or a rapid increase in the level of grain in the diet, often coupled with a lack of effective fiber in the diet. Acidosis is associated with the production of high levels of lactic acid in the rumen from a large supply of starch that the animal consumed. Toxins may also be produced by ruminal bacteria that exacerbate the problem. Symptoms include reduced feed intake, panting, diarrhea, reduced cud chewing and kicking at the belly, or other signs of discomfort.

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The key to preventing acidosis is a balanced diet that provides adequate forage. An average goat will eat roughly 3-4% of its bodyweight per day. Therefore, a 100 pound goat will eat about 3 to 4 pounds of total food per day (including forages). As a rough rule of thumb, a 100 pound goat should receive a maximum of 1 to 1.5 pounds of grain or commercial feed per day to help avoid digestive problems.

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Braun, U., Rihs, T., Schefer, U. (1992) Ruminal lactic acidosis in sheep and goats Veterinary Record 130, 343-349.

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Urinary Calculi

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Bucks and wethers are prone to urinary tract blockage due to urinary calculi (stones). The most common type are calcium carbonate and struvite (magnesium phosphate) from high grain diets. The calculi often have the appearance of sand. The male urethra is narrow and long. At the end of the penis is the urethra process. Sand may become blocked anywhere but most frequently is at the urethral process. The incidence of urinary calculi in goats tends to increase in late fall and winter, possibly due to decreased water intake and increased urine concentration. Plenty of fresh, palatable water should always be available. Diets high in potassium should be avoided. Vitamin A requirements should be met by supplying good quality green forage and pasture.

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Nwaokorie EE, Osborne CA, Lulich JP. Risk factors for calcium carbonate urolithiasis in goats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;247:293–299.

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The common feeding mistake with all of these disorders is feeding too much grain and not enough fiber. Providing premium quality forage will decrease or eliminate the need for grain and, therefore, decrease the risk of these nutritional disorders. Learn more about the high-quality forage products provided by Standlee at https://standleeforage.com/products.

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By Dr. Tania Cubitt\n
Standlee Nutritional Expert

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Many horse owners are aware, alfalfa has been blamed (justly or unjustly) for problems associated with horse health. “Too much of this nutrient”, “not enough of that nutrient” are common phrases found in discussions regarding alfalfa hay for horses. The simple fact of the matter is that a considerable number of very good horses are raised and perform each year on diets consisting of a large percentage of alfalfa. Therefore, common sense tells us that alfalfa can be used successfully in horse feeding programs. The following are three common misconceptions surrounding feeding alfalfa to horses.

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Misconception 1: Will alfalfa make my horse hot?

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After water, the major constituent of the horse's body is protein. Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of protein, both in content and quality. The amount of protein supplied by alfalfa can go a long way toward satisfying the high protein requirements of young growing horses. In the case of mature horses, alfalfa forage will certainly provide enough protein to satisfy requirements.

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What happens to protein fed in excess of requirements? Since dietary proteins (amino acids) are not stored in the body as surplus, any extra is broken down and used as an immediate energy source or stored as fat. The metabolic pathways used to convert protein to energy, use additional energy and create waste products, rendering the process close to energy neutral.

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Alfalfa provides a significant amount of calories; however, an excess of calories in any form, whether from alfalfa, grain or oil, without the exercise to burn them, can result in an excessively energetic horse. Alfalfa fed with a careful eye to the proportions of the whole diet, and the energy needs of the horse, will not create excess energy.

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Urschel, K.L. and Lawrence, L.M. Amino acids and protein (Chapter A-6). In: Equine Applied and Clinical Nutrition (2013) 113-135.

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Misconception 2: Is alfalfa hard on horses’ kidneys?

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Protein, which is used for energy, has the added tax associated with disposal of the nitrogen connected to the protein. The nitrogen is filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and voided in the urine. Contrary to popular belief, dealing with this by-product of protein conversion is not “hard on the horse's kidneys”, unless they have been overtaxed in some other way. The additional water necessary to void nitrogen in the urine may be critical if horses have limited access to water. As a practical recommendation, select alfalfa hays which do not contain extremely high levels of protein (greater than 17% crude protein).

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Meyer, H., (1983). Protein metabolism and protein requirements in horses. Fourth International Symposium. Protein metabolism and Nutrition 343-364.

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Misconception 3: Does alfalfa cause growth problems in foals?

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Growing horses have high nutrient requirements, with quality digestible protein being a very crucial part of that nutrient requirement needed for optimal, healthy development. There is numerous, inaccurate advice floating around the industry that excessive dietary protein from such sources as alfalfa, can cause growth problems in foals. This has been proven incorrect in many studies, and it is concluded that deficiencies in dietary protein are more likely to negatively affect bone metabolism.

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Schryver, H.F., D.W. Meakim, J.E. Lowe, J. Williams, L.V. Soderholm, and H.F. Hintz. 1987. Growth and calcium metabolism in horses fed carrying levels of protein. Equine Vet. J. 19:280-287.

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Thompson, K.N., J.P. Baker, and S.G. Jackson. 1988. The influence of high dietary intakes of energy and protein on third metacarpal characteristics of weanling ponies. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 8:391-394.

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Savage, C.J., McCarthy, R.N. and Jeffcott, L.B. (1993) Effect of dietary energy and protein on induction of dyschondroplasia in foals. Equine vet. J., Suppl. 16, 74-79.

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In conclusion, the availability and nutrient content of alfalfa hay make it a logical forage for horses. Selecting alfalfa hay with moderate protein content and providing additional diet fortification with minerals, help make this a balanced forage for horses. Standlee Premium Western Forage® has several excellent choices of alfalfa products ranging from compressed bales to chopped alfalfa and pelleted and cubed products.

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By Dr. Tania Cubitt & Dr. Stephen Duren\n
Standlee Nutritional Experts - Performance Horse Nutrition

", "urlWithHost": "http://standleeforage.com/standlee-barn-bulletin/3-misconceptions-of-feeding-alfalfa-to-horses", "rating": 0.0, "commentsCount": 0, "trackbacksCount": 0 }, { "id": 659718, "type": "BlogsPosts", "date": "2019-05-21T23:00:00", "author": "", "authorPictureUrl": "/CatalystImages/UserProfileDefault.jpg", "trackbackUrl": "http://standleeforage.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=11741&PostID=659718&A=Trackback", "url": "/standlee-barn-bulletin/feeding-performance-horses", "title": "Feeding the Performance Horse", "postFeaturedImage": "/images/blog/performance_horse.jpg", "metaTitle": "Feeding the Performance Horse", "metaDescription": "Feeding guidelines vary for performance horses, however, every performances horse has 5 key nutritional needs: water, energy (calories), protein, vitamins & minerals.", "body": "

What makes a horse a performance horse? Performance is “loosely” defined as any form of work or forced physical activity. Work or physical activity can include walking, trotting, cantering, running, jumping, and turning. Therefore, a performance horses can include any horse that is actively ridden, trained or that may carry or pull a load. With this broad definition of performance, many of us have horses that are considered performance horses. Since the performance activities of horses vary in both duration and intensity, feeding systems to address the nutrient requirements of these horses must also vary. In the following article, we will begin to talk about feeding performance horses by addressing water and energy needs.

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Each and every performance horse requires five key needs:

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    \n\t
  1. Water
  2. \n\t
  3. Energy (calories)
  4. \n\t
  5. Protein
  6. \n\t
  7. Vitamins
  8. \n\t
  9. Minerals
  10. \n
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Nutritionists and horse owners spend a great deal of time and effort balancing the diet for energy, protein, vitamins and minerals; however, water is the single most important nutrient. Small decreases in the amount of water contained within the body (dehydration) can lead to serious health consequences, as well as a decline in performance potential. Performance horses must maintain proper hydration to transport materials to and from the cells within the body, and to synthesize and repair body tissues. The amount of water required by a performance horse depends on the amount of water lost from the body and the amount of water utilized for synthesis of protein. For performance horses, water is lost from the body primarily in sweat, urine, and feces. To replace the water lost from the body, performance horses should have free access to fresh, clean water. Important to note: Ice cold water should be avoided for horses still hot and sweaty from exercise, since cold water may cause shock to their system.

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Of the remaining nutrients required by performance horses, energy is the dietary factor most influenced by work or exercise performance. Simply stated, the more work a horse performs, the more energy (calories) required to fuel that work. In a sense, performance horses are like automobiles; the more we drive and the faster we drive, the more fuel that is utilized. Horses derive energy from the feeds they consume. Hay, pasture, grain concentrates and certain supplements contain energy (calories) that horses can metabolize and use to generate mechanical energy for muscle movement.

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Within feed, there are four constituents that can be metabolized to produce mechanical energy:

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    \n\t
  1. Starch
  2. \n\t
  3. Fat
  4. \n\t
  5. Protein
  6. \n\t
  7. Fiber
  8. \n
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Starch is a carbohydrate that can be broken down within the small intestine of the horse to form glucose, a simple sugar. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive system and can be metabolized immediately to produce energy, or it can be stored as energy within the body in the form of muscle or liver glycogen (sugar), or as body fat. The main source of starch in a performance horse diet is cereal grain (oats, corn or barley). Since the digestive system of a horse is designed primarily to digest fiber and has a limited capacity to digest starch, there is a restriction to the amount of grain that can be fed to performance horses. If too much grain is fed in a single meal (more than 5 lbs. of grain/meal/1000 lb. horse) this grain will not be properly digested in the small intestine and may result in digestive upset (colic) or laminitis as it travels further down the digestive tract (1). For this reason, other sources of energy (fat, protein and fiber) are also incorporated into a performance horse diet.

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Fat is commonly added to the diets of performance horses. Liquid vegetable oil (corn and soybean oil), flax, and rice bran are several fat sources commonly utilized as energy sources for performance horses. Fat is an extremely useful energy source for several reasons. First, vegetable oil is well digested (>90%) by horses. Dietary fat is commonly added to commercial grain concentrates intended for performance horses. It is common for performance horse feeds to have between 6 and 12% fat.

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The National Research Council (NRC, 2007) estimates the crude protein requirement for mature performance horses at 9-11%, depending on work intensity. Protein that is fed in excess of a performance horses’ requirement, can be broken down and utilized for energy. Unfortunately, the use of protein for energy requires the horse to excrete the nitrogen associated with the protein. Excretion of nitrogen requires the horse to drink more water and increases blood ammonia; both situations that are undesirable for performance horses. Thus, feeding excess protein as a source of energy is not a sound nutrition practice.

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The most overlooked source of energy for a performance horse is dietary fiber. The digestive system of the horse is designed to digest fiber, and hay and pasture can provide an extensive amount of energy for the performance horse. In fact, for the digestive system to function correctly, horses require at least 1.25% of their body weight in hay/pasture per day (1). Since the fermentation of fiber is slow and continues constantly, horses get an uninterrupted supply of energy throughout the day. The use of fiber as an energy source has evolved in recent years. Today, in addition to good quality hay and pasture, we have so-called super fibers that are safe to feed like hay but have the energy equivalent of oats. Examples of super fibers utilized in horse feed include beet pulp, a product of the sugar industry, and soybean seed coats, a product of the soybean industry.

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In summary, we begin feeding performance horses by providing free-access to fresh, clean water. The next step is to provide adequate energy, but how do we determine how much energy they require? Energy is the only dietary factor that you can visually determine dietary adequacy. If you are feeding too much energy (too many calories), the horse gains weight or becomes fat; on the other hand, if you don’t feed enough energy (too few calories) the horse becomes thin or loses weight. You can’t simply look at horses and determine the status of other critical nutrients. Therefore, if your performance horse is too thin or too fat, it is your responsibility since we have the ability to offer more, or less, feed to properly balance energy requirements. To provide energy to the performance horse, we begin with feeding good quality forage (pasture/hay) and add additional energy with the use of a combination of starch, fat and super-fibers.

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By Dr. Tania Cubitt & Dr. Stephen Duren\n
Standlee Nutritional Experts - Performance Horse Nutrition

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References:

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1. National Research Council. 2007. Nutrient Requirements of Horses: Sixth Revised Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11653.

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During the winter season, temperatures typically fall below that necessary for pasture grass to grow. Pastures become rapidly depleted of natural forage and horses must increasingly rely on their owners to provide them with a nutritionally adequate diet. To properly feed a horse during the winter months, several key factors must be addressed. These factors are water, fiber and essential nutrients.

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Water should always be the first consideration in the diet for any horse. Without adequate water intake, horses will not survive. An adult horse (1000 lbs.), in a cool, comfortable environment that is not working or lactating, requires a minimum of 7 - 10 gallons of fresh clean water per day. The amount of water required is closely related to the amount of feed eaten. Most horses will drink 1.5 quarts of water per pound of dry feed intake. If a horse was consuming 20 lbs. of dry hay per day, the horse would be expected to consume approximately 7.5 gallons of water per day. The water requirement is higher if the horse is in training, nursing a foal, growing, pregnant or in a hot/humid environment. The best situation to ensure adequate water intake is to provide free access to fresh clean water.

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Problems associated with water intake during the winter months usually revolve around inadequate intake. Water that has frozen or is near freezing will result in decreased intake. Similarly, horses that must eat snow as their only water source, will not eat enough snow to completely satisfy their water requirement. This decreased water intake can result in digestive upset or \"colic\" that is associated with feed material becoming impacted (stuck) in the digestive system. Therefore, the water source should be free-flowing or heated to prevent freezing and guarantee adequate intake. When installing a heating device for water, be sure any electrical unit is properly grounded to prevent electrical shock of the horse. Horses are very sensitive to electrical shock and will quit drinking to avoid shock.

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Adequate fiber intake is the next consideration in feeding horses during the winter season. It is recommended that horses receive a minimum of 1.5% of their body weight in dry forage per day. For a 1000 lb. horse, this equates to 15 lbs. of hay per day. Can horses consume more hay? Certainly, horses can consume up to 3% of the body weight per day in hay (30 lbs. for a 1000-lb. horse), if the hay is of good quality. The fiber obtained from hay is necessary to keep the digestive system of the horse functioning properly. Without this hay fiber, horses will seek out other sources of fiber including bedding and wood fences or trees to satisfy their needs. Adequate fiber from hay is even more critical during the winter months since it is the feed ingredient that keeps horses warm during cold weather. Digestion and fermentation of fiber (hay) produce heat that helps the horse maintain its body temperature during winter. Unlike hay, consumption of grain does not produce large amounts of body heat during digestion. Grain functions to keep horses warm by providing energy for muscle contraction that can be used to help the animal shiver. Therefore, the best way to keep horses warm during cold weather is to provide plenty of good quality hay.

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When environmental temperatures (including wind chill) drop below 45°F (referred to as the critical temperature), significant amounts of energy are used by the horse to maintain its internal body heat. For each 1°F decrease below the critical temperature, the horse requires a 1% increase in digestible energy to maintain a consistent body temperature. Wind chill, moisture, and coat thickness will affect the critical temperature. The horse’s thick winter coat has an insulating effect against cold and wind. If the coat becomes wet, the critical temperature will increase by 10 to 15°F.

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Increase the forage content of the diet 24 hours prior to forecasted cold conditions. Strive to keep your horse in a good body condition prior to winter months as the extra body fat provides an additional insulating effect against wind and also serves as an energy reserve.

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A frequent hay related problem with horses during the winter months is chronic weight loss. This can occur either by not feeding enough hay to the horse, or by feeding poor quality hay to the horse. In both cases, the horse will have trouble getting enough calories from the hay to maintain body weight. In the case of not feeding enough forage, the simple remedy is to provide all the forage the horse will consume during the day. If the horse is being fed all the forage it will consume, and weight loss is still a problem, better quality forage should be substituted for all or part of the current hay source. Better quality forages are typically in higher calories such as alfalfa compared to grass hay. Other baled hay substitutes, such as forage cubes and pellets can be fed to replace poor quality hay. Standlee Premium Western Forage® offers a wide variety of Alfalfa and Alfalfa mix products ranging from baled forage, to cubes, pellets and chopped forage. Also available are beet pulp shreds and pellets that increase the calorie content of the forage portion of the diet and are highly digestible.

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By Dr. Tania Cubitt & Dr. Stephen Duren\n
Standlee Nutritional Experts - Performance Horse Nutrition

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