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Feeding Older Horses, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights for March 1, 2018, http://communityenvironment.unl/feeding-older-horses

Many acreages have older horses and their owners wonder when it is time to switch them to a feed designed for older horse. These are several tips to consider to make this decision.  Caring for the horse means making changes in management as the needs arise. As a general rule, senior feeds may be needed when horse reach 15-20 years of age but some horses do well on normal feeds into their late 20’s.

Here are some questions to ask to determine when it is time to switch feeds.

How are his teeth? Older horses often have worn or missing teeth making chewing less efficient. Senior feeds are typically processed to make them easier to chew and digest. Many senior feeds are complete feeds and contain roughage to replace long stem roughage.

How is his digestion? Check the manure and see if there are long stems of undigested roughage that are over an inch in length.

How is his weight? Is he becoming a hard keeper and can’t hold his weight or is losing his bloom on the current ration. This may be because of some health problem, parasites, or competition with more aggressive horses at the feeder rather than just getting old. It may be because he is becoming less efficient at digesting his feed

Monte Stauffer
Monte Stauffer
Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development

Monte oversees 4-H livestock projects, shooting sports, 4-H Council, Equines Unlimited - "Horse-less" Horse Club, and parts of the Sarpy County Fair.

Douglas/Sarply County Extension
501 Olson Dr. Suite 5
Papillion NE 68046-5752
402-444-7804

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