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Answer Exchange

  • Q:

    How much feed should be fed to a horse in a single meal?

  • A:

    The grain portion of the diet should be digested in the small intestine of the horse. When large amounts of grain are fed in a single meal, the small intestine cannot digest and absorb it all. Unfortunately, leftover grain is dumped into the hindgut (cecum and colon) and fermented rapidly, forming acid and gas. These two products of fermentation can cause damage to the gut and can lead to colic and laminitis. To minimize the amount of grain reaching the hindgut, no more than five pounds of grain should be offered to a 1,000-pound horse at any one meal. If larger amounts of grain are required on a daily basis, the grain should be divided into two or more smaller meals.

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