Just like humans, as horses age their nutritional needs change. You can’t just provide the same ration to all animals. Instead you need to think about their unique needs and adapt accordingly. One question a lot of people have is when they should start to use senior horse feed. We want to provide some information about this here.
All horses are different
Again the first thing to keep in mind is there isn’t a definitive age when you need to adapt the feed. Some horses will never need a change and will be content with their usual ration. Others may require a special diet as early as their teens. It is a case by case situation where you need to do what is best for each animal.
What you have to do is check which horses are struggling to maintain their condition. They may be losing weight, get sick more often, or struggle with parasites. All can be indications that they are not getting the correct nutrition.
However, the issues may not simply be because the diet is wrong. It could be that a painful dental condition means the horse is not eating as much as usual or not chewing enough. Or, it may be a problem with digesting food. You should begin by consulting a vet and asking them to check for underlying health problems. If one of them is to blame, you may not need to change feed once it is treated.
Changing the feed
If the vet finds that the horse is otherwise healthy, it is time to look at the horse feed. You may not need to instantly swap to a complete senior feed though. If there are no dental problems, you may be able to stick with the current forage. You may just need to add a ration balancer or complementary feed to increase protein and nutrient intake.
However, if there are problems with chewing and digestion, it is likely time to get a senior feed. They are complete feeds so you don’t need to provide forage with them. Most importantly, they are easily digestible. They should also contain all the protein and minerals the horse needs.
One thing you need to remember here is there can be lots of different senior feeds. They can be based on various sources of forage, including beet pulp. So, you must choose one that your horse can eat and ensure it will meet their needs.
Ask us if you need horse feed
JS Hubbuck Ltd understands how important it is to get it right when feeding animals. That is why we offer a broad range of products to suit different needs. We also select quality ones to give our clients confidence.
So, if you need horse feed or products for cattle, sheep, or other animals, we can help. Please get in touch to find out what we have in stock. We can also offer recommendations.