Friday, January 31, 2014

Horse Care & Feeding Questions and Answers - Advice from 1914

Can ear corn be fed to horses?

Ear corn is a satisfactory feed, assuming it is adequately dried and free from mold. It is good for greedy horses that bolt grain.

Are pelleted rations satisfactory?

Yes. pelleted rations have proven popular because they are convenient to handle, easily stored, and reduce dustiness. However, grinding and pelleting increase ration costs.

What causes wood chewing and how can it be minimized?

Wood chewing may be a result of boredom or of a deficiency in the diet.

Boredom may be reduced by feeding three times daily, increasing exercise, or offering some additional straw or coarse hay to the horse when feeding pellets.

Can silage be fed to horses?

The use of silage requires especially good management. However, good-quality silage free from mold and not frozen can be a good roughage during the winter.

If silage is fed, it is a good idea to also use 3 to 4 pounds of dry hay daily.

How many pounds of silage are equivalent to a pound of hay?

Corn silage is ensiled at 60 to 65 percent moisture. About 2.5 wet pounds of corn silage are equal to 1 pound of air-dry hay.

Grasses and legumes are usually ensiled at 40 to 50 percent moisture and are called haylage. About 1.6 pounds of wet haylage is equal to I pound of air-dry hay.

Of what value is molasses?

Wet or dry molasses are sometimes included in the ration to increase palatability and consumption.

To keep the ration from being too laxative, it should not include more than 4 to 5 percent molasses.

If legume bays analyze higher in crude protein, why do horsemen often prefer grass hay?

Grass hays often cure more easily and thus are considered to be cleaner and less apt to contain mold.

Is it advisable to limit feed hay?

Hay is often limited for race horses to insure an ingestion of more energy from grain.

Roughage is sometimes limited for show horses to avoid hay bellies.

Is it possible to feed rations that are too rich?

Yes. Overfeeding, or bringing to a heavy feed of grain too quickly without sufficient exercise, can result in colic, stocked legs, and puffy or swollen hocks.

How can greedy horses be prevented from bolting or eating their grain too quickly?

Put a few baseball-sized smooth stones in the grain box. Ear corn will also help.

What is founder?

Founder is a metabolic disorder resulting from overeating, drinking cold water when overheated, or other types of stress.

It can lead to separation of live and horny portions of the hoof, which causes severe lameness.

Immediately placing cold packs on the horse's legs or standing the front legs in cold water are good first aid measures.

Severe cases require the attention of a veterinarian.

What is colic?

Colic is simply a bellyache and can result from any number of causes.

Drenching with a pint of mineral oil or several quarts of water containing one half cup of salt or epsom salt may offer relief.

Colic should always be considered an emergency; consult a veterinarian.

Can horses use urea or other nonprotein nitrogen sources for protein?

Not efficiently because the cecum (a pouch of the large intestine where nonprotein nitrogen would be converted to useful protein) is located too far down the digestive tract.

Too much urea could be toxic to the horse so avoid using it.

Do antibiotics improve growth?

The feeding of 85 milligrams of aureomycin daily to foals up to 1 year old improves growth rates slightly.

When properly prescribed, antibiotics appear to be more desirable for therapeutic uses for diseases.

What should one look for on a feed tag or label when buying commercial horse feed?

Take special note of the percentages of total digestible nutrients (TDN) if provided, crude protein (CP), crude fiber (CF), and the feed ingredients.

Also be sure to read the feeding directions.

What is meant by percent T.D.N.?

The percent T.D.N. (total digestible nutrients) is that part of the ration that will be digested and retained in the horse's body as energy.

Of what significance is crude fiber (C.F.) in the ration?

Generally, the higher the percent crude fiber, the lower the percent T.D.N. in the ration.

Shelled corn analyzes about 3 percent crude fiber, oats 12 percent, and hays 24 to 30 percent.

Rations analyzing more than 8 to 12 percent crude fiber probably contain considerable roughage.

Can an orphan foal be raised on cow's milk?

Yes, but at the beginning it is desirable for the foal to receive some colostrum.

There are also milk replacers available on the market.

How should cow's milk be modified for a foal?

Mare's milk, as compared with cow's milk, is lower in protein and fat and higher in water and sugar.

Therefore, add one tablespoon of sugar and four tablespoons of water to a pint of cow's milk.

Warm to about 100' F. and feed 1/2 pint every two hours for the first few days.

After four weeks the foal can be gradually switched to undiluted cow's milk or skimmed milk.

Why furnish extra vitamin A in the ration if green feeds are a good source of carotene that can be converted to Vitamin A in the body?

Research has shown that high uptake of nitrogen in plants can interfere with carotene conversion to vitamin A.

Vitamin A is especially important for breeding horses. Supplemental vitamin A is inexpensive and good insurance for the horse's health.

Should salt be fed loose or in the block?

Salt can be fed either way, but consumption may be higher in the loose form.

Do mares need grain before foaling?

Mares fed good bay and in thrifty condition (healthy and neither fat nor thin) may not need extra grain.

Thin or old mares may need some grain. In late gestation, a light grain ration along with good roughage is acceptable, but the mare should not be overfed.

Heavy feeding can cause foaling trouble because the mare may become too fat.

How should mares be fed after foaling?

Feed only light grain with hay for 7 to 10 days after foaling.

Lactation that is too heavy can cause scouring. Increase grain slowly for the mare until the foal is old enough to take more milk.

Do horses need tooth care?  

Yes. Irregular wear may leave sharp jagged edges that can cause pain or poor mastication of feed.  

File with a float or guarded rasp.

Occasionally milk teeth that remain in too long need to be pulled; otherwise they may cause crooked permanent teeth.

All advise from 1914!