When the Season Changes: Tips for Horse Feeding
A change in the season calls for a change in how you feed your horses. The lush pastures your horses enjoyed during the warmer months will be replaced by hay for the fall and winter seasons. If you are the proud owner of one of the many beautiful horse farms for sale in Florida, your fall and winter seasons may vary depending on where you are located in the state. This article will share some things you should consider as you adjust your feeding program for the cooler seasons.
Forage and Pasture
Hay is the go-to food source for horses because it provides a significant portion of a horse’s daily nutritional needs and includes a sufficient amount of fiber. If hay is not readily available due to a short supply, consider supplemental feed to extend your hay supply to ensure its dietary needs are met. Hay alternatives include last year’s hay crop, hay cubes, alfalfa pellets, straw, and haylage or silage. The following tips will ensure a smooth transition:
- Choose high-quality hay
- Adjust grain rations
- Be on the lookout for colic
- Avoid late fall gorging
- Make the feeding switch slowly
When it is hot, horses can drink anywhere between five to 10 gallons of water per day. However, the cooler the weather gets, the less water horses will drink. Still, horses need to stay hydrated so be sure to monitor their water intake closely. Encourage drinking by flavoring the water with additives such as apple juice. Adding electrolytes is another great way to maintain hydration. Keeping horses hydrated will reduce the likelihood of digestive impaction.
Deworming and Vaccination
Cooler weather means more active parasites which are found in a horse’s manure. These parasites can be shed in pastures which will cause problems for your animals. Performing regular manure removal as well as maintaining a deworming schedule with your veterinarian will limit a horse’s exposure to parasites and diseases. Regular vaccinations based on risks factors such as the horse’s age, reproductive status, and where your farm is located are also critical for decreasing disease exposure.