Top Tips for Fussy Feeders
When a horse loses interest in his feed it can be very frustrating. There are a number of reasons why a horse may lose his appetite, but also a variety of options you can try to resolve the problem.
Possible Reasons for Reduced Appetite
Firstly, you should ensure there are no underlying issues such as illness or dental problems. If a horse is suffering discomfort, such as from Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS), then this can suppress appetite. EGUS refers to lesions of the tissue lining the stomach in the non-glandular area, which is generally thought to be related to diet, exercise and stress. You should also ensure your horse’s teeth are checked regularly to avoid any discomfort which may prevent him from eating. Other common factors that can result in reduced appetite include:
- Increased workload or stress
- Your horse may simply not be hungry – if your horse is out grazing for long periods of time and is receiving sufficient forage then he may just be full.
- Medication or supplements added to feed may put your horse off eating
- If horses have been on a much sweeter ration like a mix and you are switching to a fibre feed, for example, it may take an adjustment period before they eat the new feeds with any relish.
- Add succulents to the feed – these include things like apple and carrots
- Add mint or diluted apple juice
- Split the ration up in to several smaller meals to avoid over-facing your horse
- Add Alfa-Beet to dampen the feed
- If you are switching from a sweeter feed, try mixing the new feed in with the old initially so that your horse can adjust to the taste
- Provide a variety of forages to encourage browsing behaviour
- If your horse has a limited appetite, try feeding a balancer to ensure they receive all the essential nutrients in a small concentrated meal
- To encourage consumption of electrolytes, you could try adding apple juice to the water or sugar beet juice to aid palatability
- Try giving medication in a separate bucket to your horse’s usual ration if they are fussy. Use of a sweeter feed for this purpose, such as a mix or molassed product if appropriate, may help to get your horse eating up.
- It may be the case that your horse prefers a particular feed, flavour or texture so experiment with different feeds.
- Sudden dietary change is not the best thing for the health of the digestive tract and could compound the problem. For extra digestive support, use a digestive enhancing supplement that combines yeast and prebiotics for gut health and optimum digestion.
Dengie Products for Fussy Feeders
Dengie Alfa-A Molasses Free is the perfect alfalfa fibre feed for fuelling work or promoting condition in horses and ponies that are prone to laminitis. Alfa-A Molasses Free combines chopped and pelleted alfalfa with an oil coating and includes real mint and fenugreek for interest and great taste.
Dengie Alfa-A Lite is a low-starch fibre feed for working horses and ponies. It is made from pure alfalfa with added spearmint oil and a light molasses coating.
Dengie Healthy Tummy is a complete, high calorie feed containing the latest ingredients known to promote gut health including alfalfa. Healthy Tummy combines chopped and pelleted alfalfa with an oil coating and a unique blend of herbs including oregano, cinnamon and ginger.
Dengie Hi-Fi Senior combines a blend of soft grasses and nutrient-rich alfalfa with a light molasses and oil coating, making it highly digestible and easy to chew. Hi-Fi Senior can be used as a total hay replacer if required, which may be particularly useful for performance horses that back off consuming large quantities of forage.
Dengie Healthy Hooves is a complete low-calorie, high-fibre feed for leisure horses and ponies that contains essential nutrients for hoof health. Healthy Hooves combines chopped and pelleted alfalfa and straw with a light molasses and rape seed oil coating and added garlic for great taste. There is also an alternative without the molasses – Dengie Healthy Hooves Molasses Free.
Dengie Hi-Fi Molasses Free is the ideal fibre feed for leisure horses and ponies requiring a diet low sugar and starch. Hi-Fi Molasses Free combines chopped and pelleted alfalfa and straw with a light oil coating and includes real mint and fenugreek.
Dengie Alfa-Beet is a highly digestible, conditioning feed that combines alfalfa and unmolassed sugar beet and requires soaking to form a mash.
Dengie Alfalfa Pellets contain pure, high-temperature dried alfalfa and are an excellent way of providing fibre in a concentrated form. For example, 1 Stubbs scoop of Alfa-A Original holds 0.4kg whereas a Stubbs scoop of Alfalfa Pellets holds 1.6kg.
Meadow Grass with Herbs combines chopped and pelleted high temperature dried grass with added herbs and rape seed oil coating
Pure Grass Pellets contain pure, high-temperature dried grasses. Grass Pellets should be soaked to a mash when using alone.
Dengie Balancers are based on alfalfa and linseed and include rosemary and thyme for palatability.
For more information about any of our feeds, or if you would like a sample to test for palatability, don’t hesitate to call our friendly Feedline team on 01621 841188 or use the LiveChat option at the top of the page to talk live to a nutritionist.