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You Can’t Rely On Hay Alone This Winter

13 years ago

3rd October, 2011 18h41

Research1 published earlier this year on hay soaking revealed the wide variability of hay used to feed horses and ponies in the UK. If some of the hays used in the study were fed as the majority of the diet they would not have provided enough protein to meet even the minimum requirements, resulting in compromised health. The study, conducted by the WALTHAM Laminitis Consortium, used nine different hays from around the UK. Their protein content was analysed and was found to vary from 3% to 8.6%. The average was 5.87%, which if fed with no additional feed, would not meet the published protein requirement for a horse at maintenance level. Clare Barfoot RNutr and the research and development manager at SPILLERS® said: “These findings highlight that hay alone can’t be relied upon to provide a balanced diet. It has long been recognised that mineral and vitamin levels in forage can vary and may not be sufficient to meet even the minimal requirements for horses at rest, however this research shows that protein requirements may also not be met. Unless you have every batch of hay or haylage analysed it is recommended that a suitable compound feed should also be fed to balance the diet or in the case of good doers, where extra calories are not needed, balancers are ideal, such as SPILLERS® Original Balancer.” 1 A Longland, ELNS, Pantafallen Fach, Tregaron, SY25 6NG, P Harris, WALTHAM Centre For Pet Nutrition, C Barfoot, Mars Horsecare UK Ltd, Old Wolverton, Buckinghamshire UK. (2011) Effects of soaking on the water-soluble carbohydrate and crude protein content of hay Vet Rec June 11 (168) p 618

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