Feeding the aged horse

Rats and mice in the barn.    
How much feed?    
My horse is skinny.    
What to feed?    

Pre Chewed Poo ?


When horses age, one of the first things to go is their teeth. Fed a soft diet, horses can live easily into their 30's and beyond. I now have four horses on complete soft diet. We have Jackson who is 28 DOB 1985, and allergic to alfalfa. Derby who was guessed to be 19 in '95 that makes him 36. Pickle who is 27 DOB 1986. Sammi who is guessed to be 25. For various reasons, whether incisor problems or molar expiration, these boyz all need soft feed. It turns out to be about 33 pounds a dry roughage twice a day.

An older horse can swallow roughage. Hay is roughage. When they can no longer swallow it, you can find pre-chewed poo in the areas where your horse eats. It is best to start a soft diet before an older horse gets skinny. When the ribs start to show, you have already waited too long.

A horse eats one and a half to two percent (.15 to .20 percent is 2 decimals points). of his weight in dry roughage. So a 1000lb horse needs .15 * 1000= 15 pounds a day, fed at a minimum of two times a day. If a horse lives alone in a paddock where no other horse takes his food, it is easy. The challenges arise when horses live together. To ensure each horse get's the total amount of feed required; It must be fed separately and turned back into his herd when he is finished eating.

Some of these old horses spill as much soft food out of their mouths as they swallow. Then the will pick up everything they dropped if they can. This leaves the potential of bits of food left to get into cracks in the floor, between mats or stall corners. The left food creates perfect breeding ground for filth flies and it also attracts rodents.

where there is food, there are opportunists. Older horses drop alot of food out of their mouths. If you don't have good vector control be prepared for all sorts of opportune pests, flies, rats, mice etc. A feral neutered cat is a great help to the local humane society and to reduce the population of the 4 legged pests. For flies, surface sprays for vertical walls where flies warm in the morning or evening sun, natural predator parasites. I use Kunafin Insectary. Even beneficial nematodes help when the soil temperature is warm enough. It takes constant vigilance.