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Horses nutrient needs change with age and production state. Very young horses usually require the most nutrient dense diets because they are growing rapidly. The diets have to be nutrient dense to meet the animals high nutrient requirements and limited intake capacity. As horses age, diets that are less nutrient dense are usually required. Lactating mares and horses with strenuous physical activities have much higher requirements than horses that are kept at maintenance or are used for light recreational riding.
Table 1 shows the approximate amounts of several nutrients required by horses in different physiological stages on a daily basis. These values may need to be adjusted for specific horses, particularly if they are exposed to unusually hot or cold weather. For some nutrients, the approximate dietary concentrations are also shown. These concentrations are based on average expected feed intake of the horses in each physiological class.
To accurately determine the appropriate dietary concentrations for a nutrient, it is necessary to know the feed intake of the horse. For example, if a horse consumes 25 lb of feed per day and it requires 2 lb of crude protein, then the feed must contain 8% crude protein (2 / 25)to provide the needed crude protein each day.
Most horses will consume at least 2 lb of feed (forage and concentrate, 90% dry matter) for every 100 lb of body weight.
Some horses especially lactating mares and growing horses, may consume 3 lb of feed per 100 lb of body weight per day.
Table 2 Additional feed intake chart
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