Cold Weather? Hay is Like Your Horse’s Heater
Do you ever wonder what is best to feed in really cold weather to help your horse stay warm? Well, the answer is hay or any type of high fibre forage really.
The fibre in hay and other forages is digested in your horse’s hindgut via the process of bacterial fermentation. A by-product of this fermentation process is HEAT!
So by feeding extra forage you are giving your horse’s resident population of bacteria more fibre to ferment… which in-turn means they will generate more heat and help to keep your horse warm. Neat huh!
Just keep in mind though that you can overdo it. Feeding more than about 3% of your horse’s bodyweight in feed per day (or more than 3 lb/100 lb BW; 3 kg/100 kg BW) will have the effect of increasing passage rate through the gut.
So while there would be more fibre for the bacteria to ferment the fibre would spend less time in the hindgut, with less time for fermentation and heat production. Catch-22!
For more tips on feeding read our article Feeding Horses in Winter.
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