How Much Grain Does A Horse Need Per Day?
Providing an adequately balanced equine diet is one of the most crucial parts of horse ownership, yet its complexity means that it is often misunderstood or even overlooked.
If you are the only one who cares about your horse or trusts the staff at the boarding center for help, you should have a basic understanding of proper horse feeding to ensure that your horse is on an acceptable nutritional level.
If you need help developing a diet that meets your horse’s individual needs, your vet, an equine nutritionist, and / or an extension specialist can be great resources.
Understand The Mathematics
Next, you’ll need to know how much your horse weighs to figure out how much to feed and what to feed it.
Unless you take your horse to a facility that has a large enough scale, such as a veterinary clinic or commercial farm, you should calculate its estimated weight with a weight tape.
The formula differs depending on whether a horse is a growing young horse, a pony, or a draft breed, lactating or pregnant, heavy-duty, underweight, or overweight. However, the general calculation for the average light horse breed is:
• Bodyweight in pounds = (heart circumference in inches x length in inches *) / 330
Start with forage
We suggest that horses consume 1.5-2.5% of their body weight daily in forage.
Forage is the foundation of all feeding programs, as this is a primary source of the necessary essential nutrients.
Now that being said, one can provide more than the horse needs, say with good pasture when a horse is in maintenance. Pasture intake is challenging to limit unless you restrict access to pasture or use a grazing muzzle.
So how do you know how much your horse eats when he goes out to pasture?
A 1,000-pound horse on light duty can consume 20 pounds of forage, grass, and hay per day.
It can be assumed that if they are out (to graze) for eight hours, they will eat about a third of their daily intake, so the remaining two thirds of the day at the booth could eat the rest, about 13-14 pounds.
If a horse is used to always being on pasture, the owner will need to gradually introduce any additional hay and/or two-thirds the diet.
The same is right for horses returning to pasture in the spring and fall after a frost – do it gradually, as pasture sugar levels rise during these times, which can increase the risk.
Feeding high-quality, free-choice hay and pasture may exceed the nutritional requirements of some horses.
Owners must know the nutrients that different types of forage provide. For example, legume hay, such as alfalfa, is more abundant in calories, protein, and calcium than grass matures of similar maturity. Grass hay generally provides all the calories that the average horse needs.
Does Your Horse Need Grain?
As mentioned, if your horse doesn’t get all the nutrients he needs from forage, you may need to add a concentrated feed to his diet.
If you’re new to horse feeding, check with your vet or an equine nutritionist to make sure his diet offers the nutrients he needs. Otherwise, you could develop serious health problems.