As the temperature drops, many livestock owners are faced with keeping their animals healthy and at a consistent weight. That concern is no different for horse owners.
Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service's Equine Specialist, Dr. Fernanda Camargo, recently reminded the four-legged enthusiasts steps that need to be taken this winter to keep weight on their animals during the colder months.
Tips to prevent weight loss in winter:
- Feed all they can eat hay
- Feed excellent quality hay
- Alfalfa or alfalfa cubes has great caloric content
- Blanket the horse - A lot of people are against blanketing horses in the winter. If a horse is in good condition, they probably will do fine without a blanket. If your horse is already thin, however, a blanket will help him not lose more weight.
- Keep him in at night
- Keep him dry
- Feed a concentrate: maximum is about 5 pounds per feeding for a regular size horse
- Add fat: any type of vegetable oil (corn, canola, sunflower, soybean, etc.)
- Free choice fresh water at all times
Equine weight management is concern of Dr. Camargo's all year long. She helped author the extension publication "Help! My Horse is Too Thin" for horse owners. Learn more about horse body condition scores and feeding management here.