Feeding Tips

Keep your horse wormed and parasite free.  This will make sure the feed goes to your horse and not the parasites.

Make all feed changes gradually.

Feed only dust-free and mold-free feed.

Periodically clean and disinfect feeders to prevent any mold build-up in cracks and corners.

Be sure to avoid the ionophore antibiotics and growth additives found in some livestock supplements. Even trace amounts can be highly toxic to horses causing damage to muscles and vital organs, paralysis, delayed neurotoxicity and/or death.

Whenever possible, feed horses separately. This allows those that are more timid to get their fair share.

When fed as a group, place the feed at least 20 feet apart to insure that all horses get an adequate portion and also to eliminate stress.

Avoid placement of feed in corners of the corral to reduce chances of injury.

Feed hay and grain by weight, not volume. There can be a tremendous difference between loads.

Only purchase from trustworthy feed suppliers.

Never purchase from feed mills that mix ionophore antibiotics such as monensin, lasalocid, and so on.

Visit with your feed dealer regarding their nutrition testing.

Learn as much as you can with regard to equine nutrition.

Ask your feed supplier if they test for purity or do any quality checks.

Ask to review your feed supplier's State/Federal inspection reports.

Be sure your horse receives adequate sunlight.

Provide access to fresh water.

Provide a salt block at all times, too.

A mare's greatest nutrition demand is during the last three months of pregnancy and during lactation.

Do not re-breed in foal heat unless a lactating mare is in good flesh.

Foals can be creep fed to provide additional nutrition and calories.

Know your horse's body condition score.  Strive for a healthy score of 4 to 6.

Choose healthy snacks such as carrots or apples over sugar cubes.

Biting flies and mosquitoes use energy and will require a horse to need more feed.

Consider weaning early if a mare is having trouble keeping weight on.

Consider weaning later if a foal seems to be growing or developing slowly.

Grass is often an under-estimated source of good nutrition.

Stockpiled pastures are an excellent source of good quality horse feed.

A handful of free-range chickens can help control flies and mosquitoes making less feed necessary.

Natural fly predators can also help with fly and mosquito control.

Add legumes to your pasture seed mix to up the protein content.

The equine digestive system works very differently than that of other grazing animals.

Do not over-feed concentrates.

And do not feed grain on a free-choice basis.

It is best to feed at the same time every day.

Try to avoid sudden changes in diet.

Feeding predominantly forage will help prevent colic.

Protein blocks can be provided if hay is deficient in protein.

Be sure the protein blocks are not medicated!

Be any protein blocks that are fed are for horses and not other species.

Fertilize your pasture or hay land periodically.

To prevent weeds from taking over, it is best not to overgraze pastures.

Take time to mow areas of weeds in pastures instead of using dangerous chemicals.

Do not let bossy horses prevent others from drinking at the water tank.

Horses need extra forage during autumn.

Consider cross fencing and rotating pastures.

Active horses generally need more feed than inactive horses.

Pay attention to calcium/phosphorus ratios. 

Call your veterinarian immediately if your horse gets into the feed room and overeats.

Try to keep your water tank in a shady area.

Turn your horse out to graze at night if the bugs are bad or the weather is extremely hot.

Horses on the show circuit or race track need more feed than recreational horses.

The nutrition requirements for aging horses is dramatically different than growing foals.

Horses with health issues may require different feed than those without such issues.

Always check with your veterinarian if you are having issues with regard to weight loss or weight gain.  There may be more to the issue that feed consumption.

Purchase the appropriate feed for the stage of life your horse is in.

Feed each horse as an individual.

 
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