Dehydration Colic A Grave Concern In Winter

When cold winds blow, it can be hard to keep water buckets and troughs open and ice-free so your horses have access to an adequate water supply. While breaking buckets isn’t the most glamorous of farm-life jobs, it is one of the most important to keep horses healthy and happy.

Additionally, some horses don’t like to drink extremely cold water, so getting them to drink enough in the winter can pose even more of a challenge. Here are three tips to help horses get enough to drink during cold snaps:

1. Feed moistened feed when possible

  • Don’t feed bran mashes as they are not beneficial for the equine digestive tract
  • Add warm water to the horse’s regular grain meal
  • Consider adding beet pulp soaked in warm water to each feeding

2. Prevent water sources from freezing

  • Offer additional, warmer water to older horses, those with sensitive teeth and those prone to impaction
  • Offer warm water to all horses if possible

3. Ensure horses are ingesting adequate levels of salt

  • Salt makes a horse thirsty, which will encourage him to drink more. Access to a free-choice white salt block is ideal. Horses should ingest about 2 ounces of salt per day
  • Consider supplementing your horse’s diet with an electrolyte to encourage drinking

Read more at Kentucky Performance Products.

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