The Real Reason To Feed Hay Before Grain

While the majority of barn owners have fed hay before grain for ages, many can’t tell you exactly why they continue on that management path—except that that’s what they’ve always done.

While the ideal situation would be for horses to have access to forage 24/7, so hay would always be fed before grain, this type of feeding regimen is is not realistic in every area of the country.

If starchy cereal grains like oats, corn or barley are fed on an empty stomach, the horse will produce even more acid, which could lead to ulcers, and the grain will leave the stomach more rapidly. Because of this, there is a risk that the food will not be fully digested when it enters the small intestine, especially if large quantities of grain were fed. This feed then ends up in the hindgut, where starch is fermented by the resident bacterial population. This situation can cause endotoxin-related laminitis.

However, if hay is present in the stomach before grain, there is a physical barrier preventing the grain from moving out of the stomach as rapidly. Since starch is not digested in the stomach, if no hay is present, the grain simply gets churned into a semi-liquid state before entering the small intestine where it is digested down to glucose.

If hay is present, the starch mixes with the fiber and the entire mass enters the small intestine. The presence of the fiber slows down starch digestion and obstructs the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing a massive rise in insulin that can adversely affect a metabolically challenged horse. To help keep horses on as healthy a feeding schedule as possible, always feed hay before grain.

Read more at Horse Channel.

The post The Real Reason To Feed Hay Before Grain appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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