How Much Grain Should I Feed My Horse? (Solution found)

DON’T feed more than 11 pounds of grain per day, or 4-5 pounds of grain per feeding, or the horse’s colic risk increases sixfold. DON’T worry about too much protein making a horse hot. Only 10% of the horse’s energy comes from protein, so it is a very insignificant source. DON’T feed supplements unless they are needed.

How much grain does a horse need per day?

Most horses can be given as much hay as they will eat. For horses that are just starting on grain, it is usually safe to start the horse with a half-pound of grain every day for every 100 pounds of body weight. Since the average horse weighs about 1,100 pounds, this would result in 5.5 pounds of daily grain.

How many scoops of grain should I feed my horse?

If you need an approximate place to start, 15-20 lbs of food, assuming a 3 lb scoop, is 5-6 full scoops per horse per day.

How much should a 1200 pound horse eat?

1200 lb horse, in light exercise. In this example, this horse would need to eat between 4.8 and 7.2 lbs per day of this feed to receive the nutrition he needs. Some horses that are easier keepers can fall to the lower end of the range, while harder keepers may need to push the upper limit.

Can you over grain a horse?

Horses require fiber in their diet for the gut to function normally. It also is important not to over feed grain to horses because this can cause digestive upset such as colic. When too much grain is fed, much of it is digested in the small intestine.

How much grain should a 1000 pound horse eat?

The average thousand-pound horse who relies on hay for all their forage typically eats fifteen to twenty pounds of hay per day. Most hay is dispensed in flakes; however, the amount of hay in a flake can vary greatly, depending on the size of the flake and the kind of hay.

How much grain should a 1100 pound horse eat?

So, a horse that weighs 1,100 pounds and is relatively inactive will usually hold that weight on between 16.5 and 22 pounds of hay a day. If you don’t know the weight of hay you are feeding, weigh it.

How many pounds is a scoop of horse feed?

Equine nutrition consultants often hear from horse owners that they use a 1-kg ( 2.2-lb ) scoop.

Do horses need grain twice a day?

Twice a day, and sometimes more, the horses receive their daily ration of sweet feed, pelleted feed, or some kind of processed feed. A scoop of grain and two flakes of hay – or a day out on pasture – makes up the typical meal for most horses.

How many scoops are in a bag of grain?

All of our products are packaged by weight, so the number of scoops can vary somewhat. However, on average, the 18oz bag contains APPROXIMATELY 40 scoops of food.

How much grain does a horse eat per month?

Small square bales can vary in weight, but the grass ones are often around 40-50 pounds each. If you do some quick math and assume you’re getting about 45 pounds of hay per bale, then your average horse will eat a little over 3 bales per week. That’s a little over 12 bales per month.

Is sweet feed or pellets better for horses?

Sweet feeds are highly palatable to your horse. They allow you to see individual grains to inspect for quality. Pellets and extruded feeds are usually highly digestible because the grains have been processed (ground up) into small pellets. This tends to digest quicker in your horse’s digestive tract.

How many flakes of hay should I feed my horse per day?

horse five flakes every day. Remember to feed in as many small portions as possible.

Can horses colic from too much grain?

Possible consequences of this grain overload are diarrhea, colic, colitis, endotoxemia, metabolic acidosis and laminitis (founder). The amount of concentrated feed consumed, the type of concentrated feed consumed, and the horse’s individual metabolism all play a part in the outcome.

Can a horse founder on grain?

Colic and/or founder (laminitis) are problems of major concern to horse owners. One known cause of colic and/or founder is starch overload from grains or commercial concentrates. Starches are carbohydrates that are highly soluble and quickly digestible into sugars.

What if a horse eats a bag of grain?

The first thing you should do is separate your horse from the grain, be sure he has plenty of fresh water to drink and then call your vet. Excessive ingestion of grain can be a real emergency, but if you get your vet out right away you may be able to ward off the very serious problems of laminitis or colic.

The rules of feeding your horse

A guide on what to feed your horse, when to feed him, and how to feed him. From the very first time you came into contact with a horse, you were very certainly subjected to The Rules: don’t walk behind a horse, don’t run anywhere, always offer rewards on your flat palm with your fingers outstretched, and so on. The most important are the regulations of feeding. Always remember to follow these guidelines, and your horse care will be a solid foundation from which to develop.

Provide plenty of roughage

Many pleasure and trail horses do not require grain; instead, they thrive on high-quality hay or pasture. If hay isn’t enough, grain can be added, but roughage should always account for the majority of a horse’s caloric intake. For horses, roughage is essential, and their digestive systems are geared to make advantage of the nutrients found in grassy stalks. Every day, a horse’s roughage intake should be one to two percent of his or her total body weight. Horses who spend the most of their time in stalls don’t have much opportunity to graze, but their normal eating habits may be recreated by placing hay in front of them for the majority of the day.

Horse feed may be purchased on

Feed grain in small amounts and often

If you are feeding your horse grain, divide it up into smaller meals rather than one huge meal every session. The majority of horses are fed grain twice a day to make it easier for their human caregivers to care for them. If you have to feed your horse a significant amount of grain for whatever reason, you might want to consider adding an additional noon feeding. Horses benefit from little, frequent meals because they are more natural for them and because they help them to better digest and use their food.

  • Every horse has a unique set of requirements. When determining how much food they require, take into account both their size and the amount of effort they perform. Take into consideration how much hay or pasture your horse receives: Horses who spend the most of the day grazing on good pasture require little, if any, in the way of hay. Regardless of whether they are kept indoors or outside, horses who do not receive enough turnout or are not on suitable pasture will require extra hay. During the winter or when there is a drought, hay should be used to supplement pasture grazing. It is possible to reduce or totally remove hay rations when the grass is thick and lush, depending on the amount of accessible pasture. When it comes to grain, less is always more, so start with a little quantity and increase or decrease as needed. Your horse’s nutritional requirements will be met with the appropriate combination of grass, hay, and grain. It is important to remember to alter your horse’s feeding ration if the amount of labor they are doing varies.

Is It Better to Feed a Horse Once or Twice a Day? 5 Tips!

Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. Thank you in advance for your assistance — I much appreciate it! Is it better to feed my horse once a day or twice a day? This is a question that I am frequently asked, and it is not an easy one to answer. There are certain basic horse feeding guidelines to follow, but you must be flexible because the nutritional requirements of various horses must be accommodated.

Unless your horse is kept outside, it is better to give it hay twice each day in an automatic slow feeder.

If you feed your horse once or twice a day, you must be aware of how long their food will last so that you may arrange their next meal properly. Keep in mind that horses do not always stop eating when they are completely satisfied. Let’s find out more about it further down.

Is it okay to feed a horse once a day?

A horse’s feed should be given once or twice daily depending on whether it is grain or hay being given to the animal. In the case of our horses, we bring them in from the pasture and give them grain, following which we turn them out to complete their meal. Granules are appropriate for feeding horses once or twice daily or perhaps not at all. The amount of grain you feed your horse is determined mostly by the demands of your particular horse. Horses that are having difficulty acquiring enough protein or vitamins from their feed may require a grain supplement to keep them healthy.

  • However, it is critical that horses be not fed an excessive amount of grain at one time since they do not digest grain properly.
  • The greatest practice for feeding your horse is to do so twice a day if your horse is restricted in its foraging because it is housed in a stall, paddock, or barren pasture.
  • In contrast, feeding a horse once a day is okay if done properly.
  • The most effective method for accomplishing this is to utilize a slow feeder, such as a hay net or hay bag.
  • As an alternative to providing your horses with a hay net, you may instead give them with a constant food source such as bales of hay.
  • However, feeding your horse only once a day may not be the best option for all horses, especially if your horse is a voracious eater who consumes his or her feed in a short period of time.
  • It’s important to remember that each horse reacts differently to varied feeding regimens.

How long can a horse go between feedings?

When it comes to feeding their horses on a schedule, it’s critical that horse owners understand why it’s required or not. To begin, a horse’s digestive system is completely different from that of a human. They must consume meals gradually yet consistently over a period of time. This begs the question of how long they can go without feeding before they become ill. A horse’s feeding schedule can be extended by six to eight hours without risking the development of serious health issues. An empty stomach might also lead to your horse consuming unwholesome substances such as mold or even small dead animals.

They then wander around aimlessly, take a quick nap, and repeat the process.

Horses graze because they have small stomachs in comparison to their bodies, and in order to achieve their dietary requirements, they must consume little amounts over an extended period of time.

Aside from that, it is critical that your horse has access to plenty of fresh water at all times.

Several dehydration symptoms, including as tiredness, muscular weakness, melancholy, and colic, can manifest themselves within hours after being dehydrated. Horses are anticipated to survive for weeks without eating, but they will perish in three to five days if they do not have access to water.

Can you overfeed a horse?

A neighbor recently overfed his horse, resulting in the unfortunate animal developing colic as a result of the overfeeding. It prompted me to consider how horses are overfed and why they have a proclivity for overindulging. Overfeeding a horse can occur in a number of different ways. For example, if you suddenly go from a planned feeding plan to free-feeding, allowing the horse to consume cut grass, feeding the horse too much grain, or not providing the horse with the proper amount of activity to digest its meal, the horse may suffer.

  • Grazing horses, on the other hand, expend calories as they travel about looking for grass, which they then painstakingly scrape from the ground before they can take another bite.
  • The same is true for a horse that is grazing in the wild, which may go up to 20 miles a day and consume a significant amount of food in the process.
  • It is likely that your horses will lose the capacity to self-regulate their eating habit if they are used to being fed at specific times of the day.
  • As a result, they are prone to devour anything you serve them and overindulge.
  • More information may be found in my essay on the fundamental equestrian nutrition guide.
  • Consider the possibility that you incorporate a protein- or mineral-dense fodder such as alfalfa or beet pulp in their diet.
  • Horses are also drawn to high-sugar foods such as grains and freshly cut grass (which should never constitute a large portion of a horse’s diet, but it is sometimes allowed).

What times should I feed my horse­­?

My niece inquired as to the best time of day to feed her horse, and I responded that there was no optimal time. It got me thinking about whether maintaining a tight food regimen is just as crucial for horses as it is for humans. If you feed your horse twice a day, you should feed it around 12 hours after the previous feeding session. It is recommended that if you give your horse small meals more than twice a day, you feed it before the crack of dawn every day, and that all succeeding meals be no more than four to six hours apart from one another.

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Many people, however, are unable to do so due to a lack of appropriate pastures or the fact that they have a sport or draft horse that requires a specially monitored diet.

Make sure you feed your horse at regular times a specified amount of grain and hay.

We are attempting to put weight on a young horse by providing it with a tiny quantity of grain that has been top-coated with a weight-building supplement three times a day, in the morning, noon, and evening.

To finish off, there are several situations in which you should never feed your horse. Feeding your horse just before or after riding, for example, is not a good idea if your horse’s diet consists only of grain.

5 Horse feeding tips:

  • Only feed grain when absolutely essential, and then only in small quantities
  • Ensure that horses have an appropriate quantity of food
  • Horses normally consume around 2 percent of their body weight in hay or grass. Make gradual modifications to your horses’ nutrition rather than drastic ones. Introduce new foods in little amounts at first. Keep an eye on your horse’s weight
  • The amount of calories, minerals, protein, and fat they consume varies as they get older and perform more effort
  • And Always ensure that everyone has free access to safe drinking water.


Only give grain when absolutely required, and then only in little quantities; only feed grain when absolutely necessary; Provide a plentiful supply of food; horses normally take roughly 2 percent of their body weight in hay or grass every day. Keep your horses’ nutrition from changing drastically. Start with little portions of new foods; Make sure to keep a check on your horses’ weight since the amount of calories they consume as well as minerals, protein, and fat fluctuates as they grow and labor.

Should horses have hay all time?

Only give grain when absolutely essential, and then only in small quantities. Provide a plentiful supply of food; horses normally ingest roughly 2 percent of their body weight in hay or grass. Don’t make any drastic dietary modifications to your horses. Introduce new foods in little amounts at first; Keep a watch on your horses’ weight; the amount of calories, minerals, protein, and fat they consume varies as they grow older and perform more effort. Always ensure that people have free access to safe drinking water.

How Much Feed Do Horses Need?

To ensure that your horse maintains a healthy weight and is able to perform at his peak, it is critical that you feed him the appropriate quantity. How much should a horse be fed on a daily basis? The answer is dependent on a variety of things, including the degree of activity of your horse and the quality of your feed. Listed below are some fundamental rules that you may use to calculate how much feed to give your horses.

The 2% Rule

Forage and concentrates should account for around 2 percent of total body weight each day for all horses, regardless of their activity level, according to most professionals (grains). Horses who are performing little to no labor should consume forage that accounts for less than 2 percent of their body weight, with little or no concentrates added. Those that are engaged in intense labor will require forage that is closer to one percent of their body weight, as well as an equal amount of concentrates.

Consider the following example: if you have a 1,000-pound horse who is in light labor, a suitable diet may consist of 17 pounds of hay or hay cubes per day and 3 pounds of grain.

Feed Quality

Experts generally believe that all horses, regardless of activity level, should take around 2 percent of their body weight each day in a combination of grass and concentrates (grains). Horses who are performing little to no labor should consume forage that accounts for less than 2 percent of their body weight, with little or no concentrates added to their diet. People who perform hard labor will require forage that is closer to one percent of their body weight and concentrates that are an equivalent weight.

When feeding a horse of 1,000 pounds who is in light labor, a healthy diet can consist of 17 pounds of hay or hay cubes and 3 pounds of grain each day for the horse.

Because grain is greater in energy than hay, a 1,000-pound horse participating on a rigorous labor program may require 10 pounds of hay and 10 pounds of grain.

Does your horse need grain?

Many people assume that horses and grain go hand in hand, although this is not entirely correct. The majority of barns feed their horses grain meals twice or three times each day. Is it, however, genuinely necessary for your horse? Whether or whether he genuinely need grain is dependent on the role he performs as well as your personal mindset. There are a variety of reasons why individuals give their horses grain: as a treat, as a supplement to their diet, in case they ever have to provide medication, or because they believe horses require grain for nourishment.

When examining a horse’s ration, there are three factors to consider: the horse’s caloric requirements, the calcium/phosphorus ratio, and the amount of protein in the diet.

1. Caloric needs

If an average horse weighs 1,000 pounds (455 kg), he will require 15,000 Kcal per day in order to maintain his body weight at that weight. This ordinary horse consumes hay everyday at a rate of 2 percent of his body weight, which equates to around 20 pounds (9 kg). One pound of grass hay has between 800 and 1000 kilocalories of energy. A horse at high levels of labor will consume double that amount of hay per day, or 40 pounds of hay each day! It varies depending on where you live, but a flake of hay may weigh anywhere from three to eight pounds, with east coast hay being significantly lighter than west coast hay.

  1. As a result, owners of high-performance horses are increasingly turning to alternative diets for energy-dense compact meals.
  2. Grain is also much more cost effective than hay.
  3. For the ordinary horse, this translates into 15 pounds of hay and five pounds of grain scattered throughout the day; for the high performance horse, this translates into twice that much.
  4. The pasture horse only need 20 pounds of hay when there isn’t enough grass available.
  5. In one year, one acre of lush, vigorously growing grass will create 28 acres of new grass.

In situations when grass is not readily accessible and hay is being given, it may be beneficial to supplement with a ration balancer because hay does not have the same nutritional value as grass.

2. The calcium/phosphorous ratio

So far, our discussion has primarily focused on caloric requirements for survival. Different grains have a more nutritionally balanced nutritional profile than others. Some horse owners give entire oats to their horses since it has been a family tradition for them for centuries. Other owners provide corn-based sweet feed, while still others look for whole grain concentrates to supplement their diets. Calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) are two nutrients that should be considered when designing an equine diet.

  1. It is recommended that the Ca:P ratio be between 1:1 and 2:1.
  2. Various hays do a good job of staying within a reasonable range of the healthy range.
  3. As a result, experts do not advocate only feeding alfalfa to horses because of the increased calcium levels (4.7:1) found in the plant.
  4. Grains are a fantastic source of calories, however eating only grains might make your diet unbalanced.
  5. Owners may claim that a handful of grain will not have a significant influence on a diet that is otherwise well-balanced.

3. Protein needs

The third item to consider when planning a hay-based diet is protein. Active horses may thrive on a diet containing 12 percent protein, whereas mature horses require a diet containing no less than 8 percent protein. Stabled horses who consume an excessive amount of nutritional protein may develop respiratory sickness as a result of the extra protein expelled through the urine. Protein concentrations in hay can range from 7 percent to 10 percent on an average basis. As a result, whether or not your horse need protein supplements is determined by the amount of protein present in the hay.

When it comes to nutritional needs, grass and/or hay, as well as a suitable serving of a whole food supplement, should be sufficient for most horses.

Careful selection of supplemental feeds is required to satisfy caloric requirements while also maintaining a balanced Ca:P ratio and providing the appropriate quantity of protein.

Grain is best used as a reward for most horses, a small snack that allows the horse and owner to develop a stronger relationship. By keeping the aforementioned considerations in mind, this small snack will not cause any problems with the diet.

Flakes of hay: How much to feed your horse?

The fact that horsesare non-ruminant herbivores, which means they have a single stomach digestive system, means that they can consume and use roughages in the same way as cattle or sheep can. Although horses do not have stomachs like cattle, their stomachs work in a manner similar to that of humans, in that feed particles are combined with pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down proteins, and hydrochloric acid, which breaks down solid particles. Although a horse stomach is relatively tiny in compared to the stomachs of other livestock animals, it can only hold roughly 10% of the overall capacity provided by the digestive system.

  1. Unfortunately, domesticated horses are only fed once or twice a day, and if they are stabled, they will go for long periods of time without eating.
  2. After the feed leaves the stomach, it travels into the small intestine, where the majority of the soluble carbohydrates, or sugars, and protein from the grain are digested and assimilated by the animal.
  3. The cecum is a blind sac that is effectively a 10-gallon fermentation vat that contains millions of microorganisms that break down the fibrous components of roughages.
  4. The breakdown of fibrous particles by microorganisms continues in the large colon, where water is also absorbed and fecal balls are generated and transmitted via the rectum (rectal passage).
  5. Increased soluble carbohydrates in the large intestine result in quick fermentation, which causes an excess generation of gas and lactic acid, which can result in colic and laminitis in horses.

How Much and How Often Horses Should Eat

A horse should be fed multiple short meals throughout the day in order to enhance digestion efficiency while also preventing digestion upset. Is it true that you don’t know how much your horse should be eating on a daily basis? The answer to this issue is dependent on the physiological situation of the animal (whether it is growing, pregnant, or breastfeeding), as well as the horse’s degree of job performance and effort. Consider, on the other hand, the ordinary pleasure horse who works 1–3 hours per week for a fee.

Forage should account for at least 65 percent of this total.

In feed, dry matter (DM) refers to the quantity of feed that does not include any water; the DM content of hay is significantly larger than the DM content of fresh grass.

Keep in mind that the hay analysis should reveal the DM content of your feed. For example, if you are feeding only grass and your hay has 90 percent DM (or 10 percent moisture), your 1,000-pound horse should be fed 20 pounds of hay (18 lb DM/0.9) per day right from the bale.

How to Properly Measure Hay

Weighing hay is the most accurate method of determining the proper quantity to use. However, according to a survey published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (1), more than 85 percent of horse owners who participated in the survey reported measuring the quantity of hay supplied by flakes. When measuring hay using this approach, it is possible to overestimate the quantity of forage being consumed due to variations in forage type, size, and tightness of bales; hence, overestimating the amount of forage consumed is possible.

  1. In this case, the amount is arbitrary, such as one coffee can or a scoop of grain.
  2. You may easily measure feed quantities in flakes of hay or coffee cans of grain, provided that you first calculate how much each of those units weighs in actual pounds.
  3. It is preferable if this amount of food is provided in little portions at numerous times throughout the day.
  4. Have you discovered a reliable hay scale?
  5. References Adapted in part from Parker, R.2003.Horse Science, 2nd Edition, which is a comprehensive description of the equine digestive system.
  6. (1) Hoffman, C.J., L.R.
  7. Freeman published a paper in 2009 titled The feeding patterns, supplement usage, and understanding of equine nutrition among a subgroup of horse owners in New England were investigated using a questionnaire.
  8. Equine Vet.
  9. 29, pp.

Horse Feed Calculator

NOTE: If you are feeding more hay than the recommended amount, or if your horse is grazing on an unlimited amount of pasture, you should reduce the amount of concentrate feed you are feeding. Take the amounts specified for the horse’s weight and way of life as a starting point. After observing the horse for a period of time, the amount fed may be increased or decreased by 10% in order to achieve the desired body condition and weight for the horse in question. feeding rates for concentrate meals are based on feeding with high-quality grass hay, which is not always possible.

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Feed modifications should be made gradually over a period of 7-10 days.

* In situations where hay is provided in addition to a complete feed, reduce the amount of feed provided by approximately 1 pound of feed for every 2-3 pounds of hay provided.

* Refer to the gray window for the number of pounds of hay to be offered per day in conjunction with the recommended amount of feed.

If you are feeding more hay than the recommended amount, reduce the amount of concentrate you are feeding by approximately 1 lb feed for every 2 lbs of additional hay you are feeding.

Horse Grain: Types and Best Feed Practices

Horse grain supplements your horse’s diet by providing more energy and other nutrients. The hay alone does not sufficient to sustain hardworking horses. They require more calories than can be obtained from hay alone. The following types of horses have higher energy requirements: pregnant mares, nursing mares, developing foals, and hard working horses; endurance horses, race horses, working ranch horses, pack animals, and so on. Learn all you need to know about horse feed concentrates. All horsefeed ratios, including horse grain, are based on your horse’s size, age, and energy requirements, among other considerations.

  • Hana, a 19-year-old mare weighing 1200 pounds, thrives on hay and 1 pound of grain every day.
  • Little Jazzy is 28 years old, weighs 675 pounds, and is still going strong!
  • A horse will consume around 3 percent of his body weight in feed on a daily basis.
  • The ‘feed ration’ is around 30 pounds.
  • Horse weight measuring tapes may be purchased in feed stores and tack shops, among other places.
  • This may be accomplished with the use of a special tape measure made specifically for measuring the weight and height of horses.
  • This will provide you with a starting point for estimating how much horse food your creature will require.
  • If a 1000 kg horse is working exceptionally hard, he can get by on 1-8 lbs of grain each day, but can obtain as much as 15 lbs if he is working extremely hard.
  • Keep the following in mind:
  • Horses who labor hard require more feed calories than horses who are very mildly used. “Easy keepers” of any breed and age require far less food than other horses
  • Yet, Pregnant mares have higher nutritional requirements. In terms of calories per pound, adult horses require less than younger horses
  • ‘hard keepers’ of any breed and age will take more grain calories than other horses.

If you are giving grass hay to your horse or if you have a horse with greater energy requirements, you may find that you need to feed him more grain than we do to our ladies! Beet pulp is also a good source of energy for horses since it is easy to digest and can be easily incorporated into their diet.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Not every horse need grain. Grain, on the other hand, is a vital component of a working horse’s diet. When feeding grains to your horse, extreme caution should be exercised to avoid overfeeding. Equine colic, founder, and laminitis are all caused by overdosing on grain. Grain overdosing is also a leading cause of bone issues (epiphysitis) in young developing horses. When in doubt, start with small grain feed portions (for example, 12 pounds) and gradually raise the amount over time. A horse that has not been eating grain for a long period of time and is suddenly fed a significant amount of grain may colic or develop equine laminitis, which can be fatal or severely crippling.

Horses do not respond well to sudden changes in nutrition.

Make sure you are giving your horse the smallest quantity necessary to suit his energy requirements.

If you don’t weigh anything at least once, you’ll never know how much it is. It’s important to remember that certain grains are heavier than others. If you give corn one month and rolled oats the next, make sure to weigh your animals after each feeding.

  • There should never be more than 5lbs of grain consumed in a single feeding. It is never allowed to exceed 50 percent of total “feed rations” in grain at any time. Never base feed rations on scoop size alone
  • Instead, use a range of scoop sizes.
  • Feed the smallest amount of grain necessary to complete the task at hand. Maintain consistency in your grain selections and introduce adjustments gradually. Feed your horses the same quantity of feed every day. Feed your horses on a consistent regimen at regular intervals. Feed rations should be calculated based on the actual weight of the grain.

Types of Horse Grain

Oats, corn, barley, rye, and rice bran are all examples of cereal grains. Sweet corn on the cob Oats in their whole form Rice bran is a kind of cereal grain. The nutritional content of all horse grains is almost the same. One of the most significant differences between them is the flavor. Another is the price and how quickly they are absorbed. The maximum energy and nutritional value will be obtained by horses from grains that have been rolled, crimped, or cracked. When fed to horses, finely powdered grains might create digestive issues in the animals.

Grain feeders, hay bins, and ground barriers are all good options.

Horses have a tendency to fling their feed everywhere as they hunt for the best portions, so you’ll need a large amount of ground cover for your horse’s eating area that is 8′ x 8′.

The more processed the grain is, the shorter the shelf life (wheat bran and rice bran go stale faster than whole grains). Never feed grains that show any sign of mold. Mold produces mycotoxins that can kill a horse. Galvanized garbage cans and steel barrels with tight fitting lids make great grain storage containers. They keep moisture and rodents out.Once you have a general idea of how much horse grain feed is needed, you can adjust the rations accordingly to her age, energy requirements and health needs. Take the time to weigh your horse and your feed. That way you won’t just be guessing, you’llknowyou have made the best horse feed choices!Remember too, that your vet is a wealth of information. If you have a pregnant horse or a growing foal or a horse that has had laminitis or any other horse food related disease, it is especially important to consult your veterinarian about horse grain feed rations for your equine. For the love of horses….play it safe!

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How Much Grain to Feed a Horse

When it comes to horses, it has been said that “you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t compel him to drink.” Even if this is true, leading a horse to grain increases the likelihood that the horse will consume the grain. Over time, if you feed a horse an excessive amount of grain, obesity can develop in the animal. Even though overweight horses may look to be “cute,” the extra weight can cause major health problems such as laminitis. Knowing how much grain to feed a horse might be a challenging task to estimate on sometimes.

Others may get plenty of exercise, but they avoid going out to the field to graze.

Calculating a Horse’s Appropriate Nutritional Needs All feeds must be free of dust and mold to be considered safe.

It is for this reason that obtaining a correctly balanced ration is critical to the long-term health of the horse.

  • Most horses may be fed as much hay as they like as long as it is not too much. When putting a horse on grain for the first time, it is normally safe to start the horse with a half-pound of grain per day for every 100 pounds of body weight the horse has gained. Given that the average horse weighs around 1,100 pounds, this equates to 5.5 pounds of grain consumed daily. Every third day, add another half-pound of grain to the horse’s diet until you detect a notable decrease in roughage intake
  • Then repeat the process. Horses should be fed on a regular basis. When it’s hot outside, horses prefer to eat during the cooler hours of the day, so expect earlier and later feeding times during the summer months. Before you give your horses roughage, make sure they have enough grain. Expect to feed at least twice a day, if not three times a day. Avoid making unexpected changes to the sort of rations that are offered or to the timetable of events. It is possible that the horse will stop eating as a result of this. Every day, as recommended by a veterinarian, the horse should be exercised. Maintain a regular check on the oral hygiene of each horse, in order to guarantee there is no pain throughout the feeding process.

A healthy horse may easily consume 2.5 pounds of air-dry feed per day for every 100 pounds of body weight, which is a reasonable amount. This includes hay in addition to the grain that would normally be placed in the bin, and it is crucial to remember this. If you figure out the overall weight for each feeding, you can prevent overfeeding or underfeeding your dog. Pictures taken at lunchtime of horses and ponies at the feeding dish (courtesy of RT and Sgueme) On February 21, 2017, Dr.

  1. Grain should not be the major source of energy for a horse’s nutritional needs.
  2. Hay and pasture grass will aid in the maintenance of healthy horse health.
  3. Mold, thick dust, and nutritional deficiencies are all indicators of musty smells.
  4. Poor hay has a coarse texture that can scratch the skin.

The horse will desire more grain if the hay is poor, which might result in an imbalanced ration if the hay is inadequate. The following are some of the other blunders you should avoid while feeding your horse.

  • Grains are handled as a feed concentrate in this procedure. Although it is usual practice to give grain twice daily, the total amount should never exceed 0.5 percent of the horse’s total weight in any single meal. Alternatively, if the horse appears to be still hungry, encourage him to consume additional hay or send him out for a longer amount of time in his pasture. It is best not to feed horses by volume. In particular, this is true for grains, whose weights can vary significantly from one another. If you have a full container of maize, it will feel heavier than other grains since it contains more water. Even pelleted feeds containing a variety of grains might have varying volumes, so be certain that what goes into the trough is based on weight rather than volume
  • And Feed the horse with the proper food for his age. Many grains are packaged and segregated to make it easier for the owners to classify and purchase them. You’ll find foaling grains, adult grains, senior grains, and even activity-based meals among the various options on the market. Each grain is intended to provide the horse with precise nutrients and minerals that the animal need. Choose the proper one to ensure that you do not raise your chances of experiencing abnormal growth.

Overall, if the suggested minimum portion of feed is greater than what your horse should get based on his or her weight, you’ve chosen the incorrect feed for your horse. What makes horses beautiful is their soft oats feeding. It was a lovely experience on Sunday. On January 16, 2017, Gloria Butler (@GloriaDeeButler) tweeted: How to Avoid Overloading Nutrients in Your Diet Today, many feeds are filled with specific nutrients that a horse requires in order to maintain optimum health.

  • For whatever reason, supplements should only be used when grains or feed do not supply the proper balance of nutrients in the diet.
  • Mineral and vitamin poisoning is quite frequent in horses who are given grains and supplements that include substances that are highly similar to each other.
  • Salt is yet another crucial component of a well-balanced ration of foods.
  • Giving the horse a salt block in their pasture is the quickest and most convenient approach to boost the nutrients that the horse may get from the grains and hay.
  • In addition, it is critical for horses to have unrestricted access to fresh water at all times as a last stage in their care.
  • Despite widespread belief to the contrary, giving cold water to a hot horse will not enhance the likelihood of colic developing.
  • It may be required to feed the horse with more than one source of water in order for them to maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • If you are unclear of which grains to give your horse, consult with your local veterinarian about developing a customized feeding plan for your horse.
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How to Feed a Horse: Understanding the Basic Principles of Horse Nutrition

Kylee J. Duberstein, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science at the University of Georgia. University of Florida’s Department of Animal Sciences is headed by Dr. Edward L. Johnson (Ph.D.).


What is the right way to feed a horse? With so many different feed, supplement, and hay options available, many individuals are left wondering just what their horse need in order to maintain excellent health and nutritional status. There are many different horse-feeding beliefs and misconceptions, which makes determining what to feed even more challenging. The legislation compels commercial horse feed makers to include information about their feed on a “feed tag,” which can be affixed to or written directly on the bag of feed they sell to the public.

Most horse owners, on the other hand, either don’t comprehend or don’t have the patience to study this material. This book describes your horse’s nutritional requirements, as well as typical feeding rules to follow and how to verify whether your horse’s nutritional requirements are being fulfilled.

Basic Nutrients

When it comes to feeding horses, it’s crucial to remember that there are six main dietary categories that must be met: carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water, to name a few examples. A lot of the time, feed companies will balance the first five nutrients for us; nevertheless, it is vital to remember to include water in the equation. Normal, healthy horses will drink 5-15 (or more) gallons of water every day, depending on the temperature, humidity, and amount of activity they are involved in.

If this is not practicable, horses should be watered at least twice daily and given at least a few minutes to drink between each watering session.

Dietary supplementation should be based on the horse’s nutritional requirements for each of the other five elements listed above.

It is a highly valuable ability to be able to examine a feed label and evaluate whether or not the feed will match the nutritional needs of your horse.


A major portion of the horse’s diet will most likely consist mostly of carbohydrates. They may be split into two categories: structural (fiber) and non-structural (non-woven fabric) (sugars and starches). Structural carbohydrates are found in the greatest proportions in the roughage that horses consume (for example, hay and grass), and they are able to be digested because of the way the horse’s digestive system is designed (see figure). When the horse’s digestive material has been digested in the stomach and small intestine, it moves into the large intestine (hindgut), which in the horse is comprised of the cecum and colon, respectively.

  • This explains why grass and hay provide such a high level of nutritional value to horses.
  • Digestive disorders such as impactions can be caused by hay that has a coarse stem or hay that is excessively fine in consistency.
  • Hay that is overly mature when it is cut has little nutritional value for the horse.
  • Grains (corn, oats, barley) are the primary source of these sugars and starches because they give a more concentrated source of energy than structural carbs (thus, the term “concentrates” is often used when referring to grains and grain mixtures).
  • It is recommended that the horse be given a minimum of 1 percent of its body weight in forage (on a dry matter basis); the optimal amount would be 1.5 to 2 percent of its body weight in forage.
  • There are a variety of “safe” feeds being promoted to the horse industry at the present time.
  • “Safe” feeds, for example, frequently contain substances such as beet pulp and soybean hulls, which contain a high composition of digestible fiber and a low starch content, while avoiding items such as maize, which contains a high starch content and should be avoided.

Owners of horses with particular needs (e.g., Cushings disease, metabolic syndrome, chronic laminitis, ulcers, or repeated colic) may often choose a horse feed with a low starch content by looking at the average starch % given on the guaranteed analysis on the feed tag.


Although protein is essential for body growth and maintenance, many horse owners are unaware of the importance of this component in their horses’ diets. Proteins are broken down in the small intestine into amino acids, which are then recombined in the body to form proteins that are responsible for the formation of muscle, hair, and hoof. It is critical to understand that proteins are made up of amino acids, and that the proteins produced by the body contain amino acid sequences that are very particular to the individual.

  1. For horses, lysine is the amino acid of choice.
  2. In essence, this increases the protein quality of the diet without increasing the total amount of protein in the feed.
  3. A frequent myth in the horse business is that higher protein intake is related with increased energy output.
  4. When it comes down to it, protein is by far and away the most challenging energy source for horses to digest and convert into useful energy.
  5. A larger proportion of protein is required by developing horses compared to older, more mature horses.
  6. When horses are putting down new tissue for growth, they require extra protein (i.e.
  7. A lower protein content (8 to 12 percent), depending on the activity of the horse, will most likely be sufficient for mature horses.
  8. Equine overnutrition simply results in the horse excreting the extra protein as urea in its urine, which is then transformed to ammonium.
  9. It’s crucial to remember that forage is a good source of protein as well as carbohydrates.
  10. Hays may be divided into two categories: grass hays (such as bermudagrass and timothy) and legume hays (e.g., alfalfa, peanut, clover).
  11. When it comes to crude protein, excellent grade legume hay may include anywhere from 18 to 22 percent, whereas good quality grass hay can have anywhere from 10 to 16 percent.

In this case, the quality of the hay and the stage of development at harvest both impact how digestible the hay is and how much protein the horse obtains from it.


The practice of feeding high-fat diets to horses is a relatively new development in the horse business. This study proved that horses are capable of withstanding a moderately high quantity of fat in their diet. Energy-dense fats are a convenient and easily digested source of energy. Fat content in commercial diets that have not been supplemented with extra fats is between 2 and 4 percent. Increasingly, fat is being added to commercial feeds in the form of stabilized oils or other forms of fat-fortified oils.

Because adding fat to a feed enhances its energy density, resulting in the horse requiring less feed, it is critical to ensure that the other nutrients (e.g., protein, vitamins, and minerals) are sufficient to fulfill your horse’s nutritional needs as well.


Vitamins are chemical substances that are significantly necessary to human health. This group of enzymes must be present in the body in order for critical processes to take place that allow the animal to survive. Vitamins are divided into two groups: the water-soluble group, which includes the B-complex vitamins (e.g., B 1, B 2), and the fat-soluble group, which includes the vitamins A, E, D, and K. Vitamins are divided into two groups: the water-soluble group, which includes the B-complex vitamins (e.g., B 1, B 2), and the fat-soluble group, which includes the vitamins A, E, D, and K.

In order to understand why the horse does not normally require dietary supplementation of all vitamins, it is necessary to understand how the horse synthesizes many of the vitamins it requires.

It is critical to inspect your horse’s diet and ensure that all of his vitamin requirements are being met, as vitamin shortages can result in a variety of health concerns.

When extra water-soluble vitamins are administered to an animal, they are normally eliminated in the urine; however, when excess fat-soluble vitamins are fed to an animal, they are retained readily in the animal’s fat tissue and can accumulate to dangerously high levels.

The majority of the time, a decent feed regimen paired with a well-formulated concentrate will be sufficient to fulfill your horse’s vitamin requirements.


Minerals are inorganic components that are essential for the body’s healthy functioning and must be present in sufficient quantities to do so. Minerals are another another ingredient that may be found in supplements on the shelves of feed and tack stores. It is critical to note that your horse’s mineral requirements may alter based on his age and health (i.e., if the horse is working, gestating or lactating). Horse feed firms balance their feed to suit the mineral requirements of different categories of horses, which is something that most of them do.

  • In rare circumstances, further supplementation of certain minerals may be necessary to get the desired outcomes.
  • It is important to exercise caution, however, because excessive levels of minerals can produce toxicities, which can result in significant health issues, or interfere with the absorption of other minerals.
  • Another option is to provide a free-choice loose salt-vitamin-mineral mix to satisfy vitamin and mineral needs.
  • Furthermore, because mineral blocks are often composed of less than 5 percent mineral and more than 95 percent salt, they are insufficient in meeting the vitamin and mineral requirements of horses.
  • A basic rule of thumb is to anticipate horses to ingest 1.5 to 3 oz.
  • When you look at a bag of feed, one of the most typical mineral ratios you will encounter is the calcium:phosphorus ratio.
  • If the phosphorus levels are high in comparison to the calcium levels, calcium will be drawn from the bones and absorbed into the bloodstream in order to restore the calcium:phosphorus ratio to its normal level.
  • However, grains are quite rich in phosphorus, and commercial diets are normally fortified with some type of calcium.
  • Another essential mineral concern is the amount of perspiration lost by your horse.

It may be important to supply these horses with salt as well as other electrolytes in order to keep them healthy (such as potassium). When necessary, a balanced electrolyte mix can be given to the horse’s grain combination to help keep him hydrated.

Simple Calculations to Determine Nutrient Intake

Equine nutritional requirements differ from one individual to the next, therefore it is critical to be able to analyze a feed label and determine whether or not a certain feed will suit your horse’s nutritional requirements. On the label of most horse feeds, manufacturers include feeding instructions to assist consumers in determining whether or not the feed is acceptable for their horses and how much of it should be offered to each individual. The ability to examine a certain feed and comprehend why it is or is not a smart choice for your horse is advantageous.

The nutritional requirements of a horse are estimated based on the horse’s age, workload, and health state, and the nutritional value of various grains and hays is also provided.

To gain access here this database through the internet, go to.

If you choose certain forages and other feedstuffs (under “Dietary Supply” — click on “New” to change feedstuff) in this application, you will be able to figure out how much of your horse’s nutritional requirements are being supplied by a certain feed or combination of feeds (you must input the weight of each feedstuff being consumed).

Sample By-Hand Calculation

In order to maintain the weight and bodily condition of a mature horse that weighs 400 kg and does not exercise, roughly 504 g of protein must be consumed daily (according to recent NRC guidelines). If the horse consumes 1.5 percent of its body weight in coastal bermudagrass hay each day, it equates to around 6 kg of hay consumed daily by the horse (400 X 0.015). It is estimated that the average amount of crude protein in coastal bermudagrass hay is roughly 10.4 percent. 0.624 kg or 624 g is obtained by multiplying 6 kg by 0.104, which is equal to 0.624 kg or 624 g.

Using the same 400 kg horse as an example, if it is working at a high degree of intensity, it will require around 804 g of crude protein.

To compensate, a concentrate (grain) must be supplied, and/or hay with a higher protein content (e.g., alfalfa) might be fed in place of coastal bermudagrass to make up the difference.

(Hand calculations will still provide a reasonably accurate estimate of whether your feeding regimen is fulfilling your horse’s nutritional requirements; but, hand calculations will account for losses that are difficult to assess.) Equine nutritionists can determine whether or not an animal’s feeding system fits the animal’s nutritional requirements using nearly any nutrient (including digestible energy that is provided primarily by carbohydrates and fats).

A horse’s weight, age, and activity level are all taken into consideration when commercial feeds are recommended to be used.

For this reason, it is critical to understand your horse’s dietary requirements and be able to use your knowledge in a practical manner.

History of the current status and revisions Published on the 19th of August, 2009. Minor revisions were made and the article was published on June 15, 2012. Published on July 5th, 2015 with a comprehensive review.

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