Video: Feeding And Keeping Horses
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 12:33
Nutrients of the feed are spent on maintaining the life of the animal (ensuring a constant body temperature, blood pressure, the work of all internal systems and organs, etc.) and products obtained from animals. The main product from a horse is muscle work. This, in turn, determines the characteristics of its digestion and metabolism. The metabolism and energy of horses depends on the direction of use of the breed, sex and age. In foals up to 1 year old, the metabolism and energy is more intense than in fillies. The need for nutrients increases sharply in stallions during preparation for mating and in the breeding period, in mares - in the last 3 months of pregnancy and in the first 3 months of lactation, in foals - in the first two years of life.
The specific need for nutrients per unit of live weight in horses of heavy draft breeds is 6-10% less than in horses of riding and trotting directions. Sports horses are especially demanding on the concentration of energy in the diet during periods of intense exertion.
Without dwelling in detail on the theoretical foundations of horse feeding, it should be said on the basis of which the rations of feeding are normalized. First of all, it is the need for energy. The energy content of the diet is measured in feed units of the metabolic energy of the feed. Depending on the work performed, the daily ration should contain from 8 to 12 feed units.
The need for protein in horses consists of the cost of maintaining life, in mares - for the formation of milk, in young animals - for the growth of muscle tissue, for stallions - for the formation of semen.
Particular attention should be paid to the fiber content in the diet. It is a very important carbohydrate, the physiological role of which is as follows. By irritating the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract, fiber causes contraction of smooth muscles and thereby promotes the advancement of food masses and stimulates the digestion process. The optimal fiber content in horse diets is 16% of dry matter. An increase in its content reduces the use of metabolic energy. If the diet contains 17-19% fiber, metabolizable energy is used by 90-92%, at 20-25% - by 75-80%, at 30-33% - by 72-75%.
It is also necessary to take into account the content of minerals and vitamins in the diet. Young animals are more sensitive to calcium and phosphorus deficiency during the formation of the musculoskeletal system. The ratio of these macronutrients in the diet should be 1: 1 or 1: 0.75 in favor of calcium. It should be remembered that horses are very sensitive to a lack of B vitamins. This is especially true of lactating and pregnant mares at the end of pregnancy.
Feeding the growing young should ensure their normal growth and development. By the end of the first year of life, the foal should have a mass equal to 55-60% of the live weight of an adult horse, the second - 75-80%, the third -100%.
It should be remembered that no breed in the world has been created with low to medium feeding levels. According to Professor V. O. Witt, who deeply studied the history of the creation of the Orlov trotter, only intensive and full feeding of young animals, practiced at the Khrenovsky stud farm, made it possible to raise a fully formed horse by 3-4 years old, while in Europe a developed horse could only be obtained by 5-6 years.
The basis of the horse's diet is traditionally concentrated, coarse, juicy, and in the summer, green feed. Concentrated feeds are usually oat or barley grains. To increase appetite, during a period of illness or high physical exertion at lunchtime, prepare "porridge" from wheat or rye bran. For this, the required amount of grain is poured into a wooden trough, poured with boiling water, covered with a layer of bran at the rate of about 1 kg of bran per 2 kg of grain and left for 2-3 hours. Before serving, the steamed grain and bran are thoroughly mixed.
Grain is distributed directly into the feeders in the form of a measuring cup - "garnets", with a capacity of about 1.5 liters.
Related article Feeding Horses
One hour after each feed, horses should receive roughage in the form of hay. For low-grade and native horses, hay can be replaced with spring straw.
A few words about the quality and composition of the hay. It is desirable that sown perennial grasses, primarily cereal-legume mixtures, prevail in the grass stand for hay harvesting. Legumes are the main source of high-value protein and vitamins. High-quality hay should have a green color, which indicates the presence of carotene in them, and a pleasant characteristic smell. It is strictly forbidden to feed low-quality hay, especially with the smell of mold or rot.
If possible, it is recommended to feed carrots to horses, and feed beets, turnips, potatoes for heavy trucks at the rate of 3-5 kg per day. Root vegetables significantly improve appetite and allow you to balance the diet in terms of the content of easily digestible carbohydrates and vitamins.