Feeding should be based on both practical experience and scientific research. Horses are kept for a much longer time than most farm animals and feeding programs must support the development of sound feet and legs to sustain along and athletic life.
Although horses obviously utilize hay and other roughage more efficiently then of other non-ruminants such as poultry or pigs. The anatomy of the equine G I tract limits this ability as compared with ruminant. The site of fermentation in horses is the cecum and large intestine, where large number of microorganisms digest hemicelluloses and cellulose utilize protein and non-protein nitrogen and synthesize certain vitamins.
Some of the products of fermentation such as volatile fatty acids and use microbial protein synthesized from nitrogen entering the cecum and calm under foes only limited proteolysis and the supply of essential amino acids from an unbalanced dietary nitrogen source is not satisfactorily balanced by microbial ammo acids for optimal growth. Horses therefore depend more on the quality of the diet than do ruminants.
Water requirements depend largely on environment amount of work being performed nature of the food and physiological states of the horse. Daily consumption by an adult horse typically is 5 to 12 gals. Clean, fresh water should be provided ad lib for all horses. As physical activity increases water consumption increases. If a horse is hot following exercise, it should be allowed to cool before given unlimited access to water.
Energy requirement may be classified into these needed for maintenance, growth, pregnancy, lactation, and work. The need for energy differs considerably among individuals some horses and easy keepers, while others require prodigious amounts of feed. Thus, these formulas provide only a sound basis for estimating energy needs not the energy needs of any individual horses.
To maintain body weight and support normal activity, the daily digestible energy requirement of the non working horse weighing 440 – 1322 lb is 1.4 + (0.03 x body wt. in kg) for horses weighing *600kg, daily requirement are 1.82 + (0.0383 x body wt) GrowthThe DE requirements for growth (to be added to that for maintenance) are estimated from the following equation in which x equals age in months and Average Daily Growth equals average daily fain in kg. DE growth (meal/ day = (4.81 + 1.17 x 0.023 x Average Daily GrowthPregnancyMaintenance energy intakes are adequate until the last 90 days of gestation, when most of the fetal tissue growth occurs.
During gestation months 9 to 11, D E requirement are estimated by multiplying maintenance requirement by 1-11, 1-13, and 1-20, respectively. Voluntary intake of roughage decreases as the fetus gets larger and it may be necessary to increase the energy density of the diet by using some concentrate.
The It has been estimated that 792 Keal of DE/Kg of milk produced per day should be added to maintenance needs to support lactation. Maintenance needs to support lactation. This level of energy intake has produced increased body weight gain in lactating mares, indicating that it may exceed the minimum requirement for lactation. Some data on average milk production of mares are listed below. Condition of the mare determines desirability of increasing gain.
Months after Foaling Mares Production0 – 1 13.91 – 2 14.72 – 3 16.93 – 4 15.14 – 5 10.9 Although some amino acid synthesis occurs in the cecum and large intestine, it is not sufficient to meet the amino acid needs of growing, working horses and foals: therefore the protein quality of the feed is important. Weanlings require 2.1g and yearlings 1.9g of lysine meal DE per day.
Growing horses have a considerably greater need for protein than mature horses. Also, the protein requirements of growing babies of the heavier breeds are higher at the same body weight than those of the lighter breeds. Fetal growth during the last fourth of pregnancy increases protein requirements some what, while lactation increases requirements still further. Work apparently does not increase the protein requirement, provided that the ratio of crude protein to digestible energy in the diet remains constant and the increased energy requirements are met. However, if the energy requirement is not met, body fat and then muscle is metabolized which results in a net nitrogen loss.
Because the skeleton is of such fundamental importance to performance of the horse mineral requirements deserve careful attention. Excessive intakes of certain minerals may be as harmful as deficiencies: there fore, mineral supplement should be based on composition of the basic feed in the diet.
- Calcium and phosphorus: The need during growth is much greater than for maintenance of the mature animal.
- Sodium: Salt requirement is markedly influenced by perspiration loss. 50 to 60 grams of salt may be lost daily in the sweat and 35 grams in the urine of a horse at moderate work.
- Magnesium: The daily magnesium requirement for maintenance has been estimated at 6.8-mg/lb-body weight. For the growing foal, Magnesium at0.57 g/lb body wt. gain must be added to the maintenance requirement.
- Potassium: Foals require up to 1% potassium in a purified diet while mature horse require 0.4% potassium in a natural diet (27 mg/lb body weight). Most roughages contain * 1.5% potassium. A diet containing * 35% roughage provides sufficient potassium.
- Iron: The dietary maintenance requirement for iron is estimated to be 40ppm. For rapidly growing foals and pregnant and lactating mares, the requirement is estimated to be 50ppm.
This can be best explained by looking at the relationship between the nutrient requirements of the suckling foal and the nutrients provided to the via the mares milk. During the first few weeks after parturition, the mare provides adequate energy for the foal. During this time, onecan observe the foal nursing, playing, and sleeping on some schedule, perhaps 45 to 60 minutes per cycle.
By 2.0 to 2.5 months of age, a sizable difference between the foals energy needs and the mares production is evident. This is verified by the foals interest in consuming other feed stuffs, including the mares grain ration, pasture and/or hay. Similar relationships exist for the other nutrients as well. Therefore, the foal restricted to only its mothers milk would be deficient in not only energy, but also protein.
Although most foals will start to explore edible materials, and some that are not edible, in its environment within a few days after birth, significant feed intake does not occur for most foals until they are in their second month. At this time, a feeding system that allows the foal to consume its feed and prevents the mare from eating the creep feed is desirable. This is typically a creep feed is desirable. The is typically a creep feeder located in the pasture.
The creep feed should be formulated to provide a high-quality source of nutrients. Undermost circumstances, the foal should be fed the same concentrate that will be used as a weanling feed. This will avoid a ration change at weaning. A 16% to 18% protein concentrate with at least 0.80% lysine, 1.0% calcium, 0.75 phosphorus, and appropriate concentrations of other minerals and partially supplied by milk when it is nursing and it requirements, as percentage of the total diet, decrease as growth rate slows following weaning.
As the foals dietary requirements shift from milk to feed and forage, your role in providing the proper nutrition gains in importance. Here are some guidelines to help meet the young horses needs:
- Provide high quality roughage (hay or pasture) free choice.
- Supplement with grain or concentrates beginning at about
- Weeks of age.
- Start by feeding 1% of a foals body weight per day. ( 1 Pound of feed for each 100 pounds of body weight)4 . Weigh and adjust the feed ration based on growth andFitness. A weight tape can help approximate a foals size
- Foals have small stomachs so divide the daily ration into 2 to 3 feedings.
- Make sure feeds contain the proper balance of vitamins, minerals, energy and protein
- Use a creep feeder or feed the foal separate from the mare so it can eat its own ration
- Remove uneaten portions between feedings
- Do not overfeed. Overweight foals are more prone todevelopmental orthopedic disease (DOD)
- Provide unlimited fresh, clean water.
The End Results Creep feeding is good management. Dont restrict a foal to an inadequate diet while it is most capable of using those nutrients to build a sound body. Creep feeding bridges the gap between the nutrient composition of mares milk and foal nutrient needs.
he project I would like to do is to take a group of foals and divide them into 3 groups. Group A would be taken forms their mothers between 3 and 4 months. The foals would be put into the barn and fed on a program giving them everything they need as far a feed source. These foals also are put on a conditioning program of free and force work. These foals would receive all health care needed, which includes shots and worming program. These foals will be treated as if they are being prepared for the show ring.
Group B would be left on their mothers until 5 to 6 months. These Foals would be started on a creep feed program as soon as they are noticed to start to nibble on other food sources. They would only have free exercise in the field with their mothers. They would receive all the vet work including shots and worming program.
Group C would also be left on their mothers until 5 to 6 months. These foals would not get any extra feed as in being creep feed. They will get only what they get from their mother feedings mothers milk and grass. These foals would be put on a vet program including shots and a worming program. The foals will be treated like most of the back yard foals are treated.
All foals will be weighted and measured to have a record on a starting point and reweighed and measured every 2 weeks. All foals selected for this study will be cheeked by a vet to be should all foals are sound and healthy to have an equal playing field.
At the end of the 6-month when all foals are off their mothers they all will be weighted and measured for the last time. The top foal from each group will then be pulled into the barn and be put on the same program as the foals from group A. Weighting and measuring will continue on these 3 foals.
The 3 foals will be taking to a show in Nov or Dec. End Results. This project is to study which group of foals has the best growth, and which group of foals turned out the best at 6 mouths. We will also take a look at the 3 remaining foal at a year old to see if the best foal had any kind of advantage to what program he was in. This study will show if the entire extra work and feed sources made a difference in which foal is the best.