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Determining the Nutrient Content of Horse FeedsBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 27, 2014

At Kentucky Equine Research, one of the areas of study is the determination of nutrient content in a particular grain or feed mixture.

To make this determination, horses are fed a study diet for an adjustment period, usually 14 to 21 days. After this time, samples of feed, urine, and feces are taken each day. Feed and fecal samples are then chemically analyzed for dry matter, crude protein, acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber, lignin, fat, starch, water-soluble carbohydrates, gross energy, ash, and minerals. Urine samples are analyzed for crude protein and minerals.

The minerals of interest are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and molybdenum.

Apparent and true digestibilities can be calculated for each nutrient based on a comparison of intake and what is recovered from urine and feces.

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