Winter horse care and feeding tips (part 2)
Winter months are challenging for horses and their owners. Many areas of the US aren’t just cold; weather changes can include freezing rain, snow, high winds and occasionally a blizzard. Water buckets freeze, hay blows away, horses lose weight, or colic. These additional tips can help your horse cope with winter conditions:
* If hay is limited, beet pulp is also a beneficial source of fiber. Also, check out “complete feeds” that have the fiber already in the bag. If there’s not a sufficient amount of beef pulp, or another source of fiber make sure to ask your veterinarian about other options.
*Use hay feeders during the winter. Up to 20% of hay is wasted when horses are fed on the ground. Hay gets stepped on, gets lost in the snow or blows away with high winter winds.
* Horses might drink less water if the water is cold or freezing which can lead to an increased risk of colic. Make sure your horse is consuming at least 10 gallons of fresh clean water each day. Use tub and/or bucket heaters to help reduce ice formation and to keep the water lukewarm. Check all water sources and remove ice daily.
* Provide salt blocks in fields and stalls. Although salt intake is more important during the hot summer months, horses do not meet their daily salt requirements by eating hay or other forage.
* Older horses have additional needs during the winter. Feeding a diet based on beet pulp prior to and during winter can help them maintain their weight during the winter. Some horses prefer to live outside but when the weather gets below zero, older horses should be stalled inside until the weather improves.