Equine Nutrition

Feeding your horse on the cheap

In a time of financial crisis, it might be difficult to feed your horse. However, I also believe that there is enough cheap alternative not to let a horse starve. So I thought I’ll see if I can come up with some cheap options. Of course, the best option would be to have a good doer who can live on the smell of an oil rag like my Lily, but it is not always the case!   First of all, let us review some fundamental facts of equine nutrition:

  • A horse at rest consumes about 2% of his body weight to survive. This means that a 600kg horse eats 12kg of food a day. This includes forage, pasture and hard feed.
  • A horse in its natural environment will graze around 20 hours a day
  • Horses should have constant access to forage. If stabled, provide hay in slow feeders or slow feed hay nets
  • The amount of food a horse needs is linked to its activity level, its age and its environment. This means that higher levels of exercise require more food to fuel its energy.
  • The amount of concentrates (grains, pellets, bran etc) in a ration must be matched with an equal volume of chaff
  • If feeding grains, a maximum of 0.5 kg of body weight can be given a day and should be divided into multiple meals. For example, a 500kg horse should not be given more than 2.5 kg of grains per day
  • The main feed source of horses is grass, therefore the main ingredient in their diet should be forage in the form of hay, grass etc.
  • In general, Thoroughbreds are hard to keep in condition and no matter how good the grass is, they are likely to require extra feed
  • Unless the pasture has been improved, it is likely that it will not provide enough nutrients to the horse (especially if you have one like the above)
  • Plenty of fresh water must be provided at all time. Horses, depending on their breed, weight, weather and activity, drink between 20-50 litres/day
  • Horses fed dry hay and grain will drink, on average, 3 litres of water per kilo of hay.
  • Always provide free access to salt

Chicken Health

Chickens are like people

This article is from news.com.au. “Chickens. They’re human. Well, almost. At the very least they deserve to be treated humanely.” 

It is based on a recent article by Carolynn “K-lynn” L. Smith, a research fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and Sarah L. Zielinski, a freelance science writer in Washington, D.C. 

Smith and Zielinski state that  “mounting evidence indicates that the common chicken is much smarter than it has been given credit for. The birds are cunning, devious and capable of empathy. And they have sophisticated communication skills. That chickens are so brainy hints that such intelligence is more common in the animal kingdom than once thought. This emerging picture of the chicken mind also has ethical implications for how society treats farmed birds.”

According to the authors, hens are able to remember which rooster has done what in the past and can turn their back to those that are mean and deceptive. They are also able to find different escape routes depending on the danger, they have personalities and each of them is an individual with its own likes and dislikes, its friends and enemies, it’s own routine and family. Just like us.