With Winter upon us, we wanted to provide horse owners some tips on Winter feeding.
Any changes to diet over winter is best used by providing highly digestible fibre sources. This ensures low disruption to the gut microflora, and possible colic risks.
Increase the nutrient density of the diet. Although the day length of an Australian winter is not as short as some countries, horses will eat less and so we need to get a bit more in them.
Heat loss can be a problem. Increasing the fermentation in the hindgut – with the inclusion of super fibres, can provide extra energy.
Beet products, such as Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet, can improve the fermentation of all fibre sources in the hindgut. More energy!
Increased fermentation also generates more heat. Helps maintain body core temperature in colder times.
Feeding preserved forage can limit water intake. Provision of super fibre mashes will help keep water intake up, especially if a bit sloppy
Provide a warm mash. Not only comforting on a cool night, the heat helps core body temperature.
Seasonal temperatures can vary quite widely from day to day, especially across the regions. Varying the amounts of super fibre fed is an easy (and gut friendly) way of matching these fluctuations.
Be aware of shivering. This means your horse is trying to generate heat, as it cannot get enough from metabolising its feed, give more high energy feed. The converse is true if it gets mild – reduce the feed.
It is allowable for condition to drop slightly over winter (coming out of winter with a modest condition score). The diurnal rhythms of hormone balance in spring favours lean animals.
Think about using toys to dispense treats such as Fibre-Beet, if stabled over winter. By stimulating normal foraging behaviour, you may avoid stereotypical housed behaviour.
For more advice on the best feeding solution, contact your local Tuckers store via 1 touch call on mobile, email or visit us in-store.