How to Change Your Horse’s Feed


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When looking at horses for sale and buying a new horse, you may feed a different type of feed than what the horse is currently eating. Knowing how to change your horse’s feed properly and safely can help minimize the health risks that go along with a horse’s change in diet.

Horses have sensitive stomachs, and large changes, like sudden changes in feed type or quantity, can upset their digestive systems. Issues such as colic are more likely to occur during feed changes, and other factors like energy level changes and nutrition changes should also be considered when changing your horse’s feed. Need to change your horse’s feed? These tips will get you started.

Make Changes Purposefully

When you change your horse’s feed, you’re changing his nutrient intake. A horse’s diet can affect not only his health, but also his energy level, which means the horse may act differently under saddle. When you decide to change your horse’s feed, you should be doing so with a specific goal in mind.

Time the Change Carefully

Changing a horse’s feed can be stressful on his digestive system. Horses are highly sensitive, and even the gradual addition of a new feed is a big change. When you decide to change your horse’s feed, schedule the change so that it takes place during an appropriate time. For instance, don’t change your horse’s feed while he is under other stressors, like experiencing a move to a new agistment, traveling to a show, or is on a new medication or dewormer.

Make Changes Gradually

Suddenly changing your horse’s feed can upset his digestive system and lead to colic, diarrhea, and other health issues. Schedule your horse’s feed change so that it can take place gradually. Start by just introducing a small portion of the new feed to your horse’s old feed. With time you can gradually increase the amount of new feed that your horse receives, while reducing the amount of old feed. Be sure that this change takes place over a period of at least two weeks to make the adjustment easier and safer for your horse.

Start Small

If you’re adding a feed to your horse’s diet, then start gradually with smaller portions. You can slowly increase the portion sizes until you reach the daily amount that you wish to feed.

Be Open to a Different Method

Every feed doesn’t work for every horse. If you change your horse’s feed only to discover a few weeks in that the feed doesn’t seem to be working for him, it’s important that you’re prepared to change his diet again.

Changing your horse’s feed will likely be necessary at some point, especially if you’re looking at horses for sale with the plans of buying a new horse. If you have questions about changing your horse’s feed, then be sure to consult with a veterinarian.

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