Best Feeding Tips For Horse Owners
While there’s no substitute for a balanced and nutritional feeding program, many horse owners report experiencing feeding time as a niggly and time-consuming task.
The good news is that this need not be the case. With so many premium products on the market, it’s now easier than ever before to shortcut a lengthy feeding program in a way that doesn’t compromise health and well-being.
A great way to fine-tune any feeding program is to invest in a good quality slow feeder.
What slow feeders do really well is to mimic a horse’s natural feeding behaviour by releasing small but frequent amounts of food throughout the course of the day. Most slow feeders have room for an entire day’s worth of hay, and most horses will adapt easily to only eating when they’re hungry instead of gorging large volumes of feed when they’re being free-fed.
Even when feeding hay pellets, the natural grazing process can be simulated with the help of an automatic feeder.
Whether you have a horse that needs to be fed every couple of hours, or one in a boarding situation, these feeders will release hay pellets at whatever times and intervals you choose to specify.
Something to keep in mind about automatic feeders is that they need regular maintenance and battery changes. This remains a small price to pay for convenience and avoiding under- or overfeeding.
Pre-Prepping Goes A Long Way
Another great way to save time is to prepare all feedings for the day ahead at once and beforehand. This makes it easy to simply grab a bin and distribute the feed during the designated time slots.
Something important to keep in mind when pre-packaging or binning food beforehand is the climate in your specific area. For example, pre-packaging a week’s worth of sweet feed in something like a Ziploc bag could attract mildew in some climates.
Keeping ‘Em Hydrated
A hydrated horse is a healthy and happy horse.
Just like with automatic feeders, automatic waterers are a great help for keeping horses healthy. Especially when having to look after a large number of horses, these nifty gadgets can offer much peace of mind.
While there are many varieties available on the market today, non-electric automatic waterers are a great source of regular non-standing water. These operate like a frost-free hydrant, which solves two problems at once.
Feed ‘Em Where You Can See ‘Em
Even though being task-efficient when it comes to feeding time is the main idea, one should never underestimate the absolute value of using feeding time to check up on the general condition of the horse.
To this end, it’s important to invest in decent lighting for feeding sessions. This will allow you to easily spot injuries or even something like a laceration or small wound.
What To Avoid
Finally, below a list of things to avoid when it comes to feeding time:
- Overfeeding and underfeeding – both are equally dangerous
- Poor hay with low to no nutritional value
- Over-supplementing with minerals and vitamins
- Turning a blind eye to dental issues