Greetings again fellow horse owners! Hopefully everyone has had a chance over the last few months to start thinking about mineral requirements for horses in mathematical terms. To review, we have discussed the importance of Ca and P, especially in consideration of broodmares and young, growing horses. We have worked on calculating the Ca to P ratio you are providing in your diet, as well as comparing the total amount fed to the animal’s requirements. The suggested daily intake of Ca and P has been provided in tabular form, as well as some common feedstuffs’ concentration of these two minerals. Most importantly, we have worked out the math step-by-step, in order to allow you to really take a close look at your feeding program. This month we will more directly address the idea of feeding young horses properly.
Let’s talk babies!Again, review the last two articles which provided the amount of Ca and P that is needed by young growing horses. Compared to maintenance horses and exercising horses, the amount they need appears relatively small. But remember, their body size is also small, as well as the amount they can consume in one day! I think it is worthwhile to spend some more time specifically on this important class of horses. One of the difficulties in determining your young horse’s requirements is that they are usually listed according to their mature weight. Certainly that is how I presented this material in the last two months. But in order to help you out, the following table provides information on how much your young horse should weigh at various ages. This, of course is still according to their expected mature weight, which is at best an educated guess (See Minerals for Horses: Calcium). It is always important to monitor your foal’s weight gain, and determine if they are gaining excessive body fat. In addition, observe their joints carefully. Swollen and perhaps painful joints may indicate too rapid of a growth rate. For long term soundness, this is important to avoid.Table 1. Expected weights of young horses predicted by their expected mature weight. Note: these values would be typical of foals gaining weight at a moderate rate of growth.
Mature Weight (lbs)
How much will Junior eat?Intake in young horses is varied, and certainly will be different due to feed availability, palatability of the feed, and competition between herd members. However, on average, young horses will eat between 2 and 3% of their body weight on a dry matter basis. So let’s assume we are feeding a 4 month old foal who will mature to 1100 lbs 2.5% of its body weight per day. We will feed him a mixed grass and legume hay that contain 1.09% Ca and 0.35% P. Now, let’s see if we are meeting his Ca and P requirements.The foal is currently 370 lbs. If he consumes 2.5% of his body weight that will be 9.25 lbs of hay per day. Let’s convert now to kg, remembering to divide by 2.24. Thus the foal is eating 4.1 kg of hay per day. Calculating by the percentage of Ca and P, this hay will provide 45 grams of Ca per day and 14 grams of P. Need a review? Revisit Part 2 in our series of minerals for horses. Now look at your tables. Our foal is meeting his Ca requirements but is 12 grams short of P. So what should we do? This is a situation where concentrate feeding is clearly warranted. So let’s select a suitable feed for our baby and recalculate.
We will adjust our feeding scheme to feeding our foal 1.5 % of his body wt as forage and 1% as concentrate. Feeding such a diet that s approximately 65% forage and 35% concentrate is fairly typical for young horses. Previously young horses were believed to need a much higher proportion of grains in the diet, but recent research has shed light on better strategies for feeding young horses. This diet will now provide 2.5 kg of hay and 1.7 kg of concentrate. The feed we select to use is designed for young horses and broodmares. It contains 1% Ca and 0.55% P. When we recalculate, this diet now provides 27 g of Ca and 9 g of P from the hay, and 17 g of Ca and 9 g of P from the concentrate. Added together, the foal is now receiving 44 g of Ca and 18 g of P. He is still a little bit shy in phosphorous, but I don’t want to add more grain to the diet. Alternatively, I could select a feed that provides slightly more P.
I decide to use a select a new feed which contains a higher percentage P at 0.7% while the Ca content remains the same. All figures would remain the same with the exception of the P contribution from the new feed is 12 g of P. We have reached our goal of feeding our new guy a balanced ration (at least in terms of Ca and P)!
Now, for the sake of argument, let’s try to formulate a new ration that relies on slightly less grain for our growing foal. We will feed 2 % of his body weight in hay, 0.5% in concentrate and add a mineral supplement. The mineral supplement I chose has a concentration of 13% Ca and 12% P. It is designed to be fed at the rate of 2-4 oz per day. We will feed our baby 2 oz of the supplement per day.
Hay : 3.3 kg/day (2% of his body wt)
3.3 kg x 1.09% = 36 g Ca
3.3 kg x .35% = 12 g p
Grain: 0.8 kg (0.5% of his body wt)
0.8 kg x 1% = 8 g Ca
0.8 kg x 0.55% = 4.4 g P
Mineral supplement: 2 oz per day
Note: There are 28.35 g per oz. Therefore this colt will receive 56.7 g of supplement
56.7 g x 13% = 7.4 g Ca
56.7 g x 12% = 6.8 g P
All together the diet now provides 51 g of Ca and 23 g of P. This meets both his Ca and P requirements while allowing you to feed a more forage based diet. Now, which should you do? Well, that’s a topic for an entirely new discussion!
Next month we will continue on with minerals, but discuss one of the most confusing, miscalculated minerals there is – selenium. Until then, happy horse feeding!
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script'); s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
Nominal shipping charges may be added for those customers with rural or extended rural address. Shipments to Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, AA*, AE*, and AP* may incur additional charges based on the product weight.
Most products are shipped via UPS Ground. Some smaller packages may ship via UPS SurePost. Typical delivery time is 3-6 business days from date of shipment. Please note: UPS does not ship to P.O. boxes.
Prices Include Shipping To Most States. Nominal shipping charges may be added for those customers with rural or extended rural address and shipments to Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, AA*, AE*, and AP*. *Phone Orders required for military addresses using “state” AA, AE, or AP – call toll free order line: 1-877-663-4203.
Omega Fields’ First Promise Delivery Program ensures your horse always has the nutrition necessary for a vibrant healthy life. Based on your horse’s unique needs, timely shipments of Omega Horseshine, Proventum, and Nibblers arrive ready to fuel your horse from sun up to sun down. Made in small batches at the mill in rural Wisconsin, Omega Fields’ products only use pure, honest ingredients stripping out fillers and sugars many national brands depend on.
Let us help keep the promise you made to your horse when they became a part of your life. Give the First Promise program a try. Omega Fields…Of One Heart.
Save up to 10% and get automatic delivery on your most frequent Omega Fields product orders!
Select an eligible item
Choose from our horse, dog, and chicken products
Choose “AutoShip & Save”
Select the product size (if applicable), click the AutoShip & Save option, and select the frequency of delivery
Click “Add to Cart”
Checkout and your subscription will be activated. Visit your “My Account” page to modify your subscriptions.
Please Note: You must have an account for active subscriptions. You may create an account during the checkout process.
Save up to 10% – on your entire order.
No upfront payment required – credit card charged only when item is shipped.
Cancel at any time – there are no commitments, obligations or hidden fees.
Customizable delivery schedule – change shipping intervals, add products, if running short – add 1x delivery, it’s all up to you!
100% Free Shipping on ALL Auto Ship & Save Orders*
*Excludes Canadian Horseshine® Orders