How to Feed and Breed Horses

Horses are herbivorous and basically exhibit hind gut fermentation. So it is very much essential to exercise proper feeding management in horses so as to obstruct both over feeding and under feeding. The salient features are highlighted regarding feeding.

1. Do not provide non nitrogenous protein substances like urea to horses of all categories as they can not digest like ruminants.

2. Horses should be provided dry matter at least 1.5% of body weight.

3. Body weight (kg)= heart girth (cm)* 2.7 for light breeds

Body weight (kg)= heart girth (cm)* 3.1 for medium breeds

Body weight (kg)= heart girth (cm)* 3.5 for heavy breeds

4. The most common concentrated feed given to horse are oats, barley, gram and wheat bran.

5. As far as green forage is concerned, best fodder is lucerne (either green or hay).

6. For better utilization and assimilation of nutrients, the whole daily ration may be divided into 4-6 separate meals.

7. Regularity in feeding, avoid full feeding before and after exercise and changing ration composition gradually are most important symbols in horse feeding.

8. In horses it is particular that fodder roughage is given before grains. but if chopped fodder is available then it can be mixed with grains or concentrate.

9. No group feeding is advised as far as grain feeding is concerned.

10. To avoid mineral deficiency, daily 25-40 gm mineral mixture is added with concentrates.

11. A horse (without work) weighing 400 kg body weight will require probably 0.38 kg Digestible crude protein (DCP), 20 gm calcium, 20 gm phosphorous and 70mg carotene.

12. For medium work, it requires 0.86 kg DCP, 50 gm Calcium, 50 gm phosphorous and 135 mg carotene.

13. And for heavy work, it requires 1.10 kg DCP, 60 gm calcium, 60 gm phosphorus and 170 mg carotene.

14. Horses should not be watered at least 20-30 minutes before and after vigorous exercise.

15. The requirement of drinking water is 36liters per day and may vary according to seasons as in summer the demand of water increases.

16. For general practise, it is to provide water before feeding.

17. In general watering schedule, watering should be done three times a day in summer and twice a day in other seasons.

18. Horses are seasonal polyestrous. Early spring is considered as best breeding time in india.

19. puberty is attained at the age of 18 months.

20. Mating should be allowed at 3 yrs of age when it attains 75% of body weight,

21. Eestrous cycle is 21 days and duration of heat is 4-6 days.

22. The should be bred 2 to 3 days after appearance of heat symptoms.

23. The tail of the mare should be bandaged and kept away to one side so as to not interfere during copulation.

24. For breeding, one stallion is sufficient for 30-40 mares.

25. A stallion should be used for 5 times in a week.

26. One most observable sight at the time of parturition is the appearance of beads of wax on teats one or two days before delivery.