Slow Down A Speedy Eater By Adding Chaff

It has long been suggested that domestic horses be managed so they might live a life that closely mimics their wild ancestors—this includes the ability to eat nearly continuously in an effort to prevent issues like colic and choke, reports The Horse.

A recent study has found that adding chopped forage (also called chaff) to a horse’ feed can prolong consumption time and reduce health risks. The scientists involved in the study report that blending at least 15 percent chaff with a horse’s feed can limit the risk of gastrointestinal, metabolic and behavioral problems. Chaff requires less chewing than longer-stemmed hay, but when mixed with grain or pellets, it can slow down a horse that eats rapidly.

A series of studies out of Australia investigated factors that may affect the rate of ingestion, including the addition of chaff to meals. They used two different chaff lengths and considered each horse’s breed, weight, gender, meal size, amount of exercise and palatability.

The scientists determined that adding 15 percent chaff to oats prolonged feeding time by up to 50 percent. They note that this addition is based on all-oat meals, so the amount of chaff needed to slow down a horse that is gobbling pelleted or textured feed maybe different.

No difference in feeding times between chaff length were denoted, but longer chaff may slow horses even more. The amount of exercise had no significant effect on feeding time, nor did meal size, age or gender.

The team suggests that horse owners and caretakers slow their horses rate of intake early in the meal, whether by adding chaff to grain meals, providing forage first, mixing feed with hay or extending mealtimes with things like a slow-feed hay net. Additionally, feeding fast eaters first or separating horses to feed them may prevent a horse from bolting his feed and improve equine welfare.

Read more at The Horse.

The post Slow Down A Speedy Eater By Adding Chaff appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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