A fussy feeder can be frustrating. Not only do you worry, it can affect their performance and overall health. Finding out the cause can be a lot of trial and error, Your first step should always be to contact your vet. Has your horse had his teeth checked lately? Is his worming up-to-date? Do they suggest a probiotic to help with digestion? If everything is all clear, we suggest trying the following horse diet tips to tempt your fussy feeder.
Trial by Fire
Try switching out their food or the way you you feed it. There might be one little ingredient or where he’s actually eating it, that just doesn’t sit well with your horse. Consider feeding small meals to avoid overloading your horse’s digestive system.
Your horse needs to have constant access to good quality forage to maintain a healthy digestive system. A horse weighing 500kg should have a fibre intake of no less than 5kg/11lbs of fibre a day. Is your horse avoiding his hay? Check it for mold and dust; no one likes unnecessary seasoning like that.
Mix it Up
Mixing up the flavours and textures can make a difference as well. Grate some carrots or apples over his feed bucket, dried spearmint or his favourite horse treats could be added another day. Does your horse prefer wet or dry feed? If it’s currently dry, try soaking it. Especially in winter, warm, wet food can be tempting; as it is to older horses with compromised teeth, as well.
Reduce Stress Levels
Is your horse getting plenty of exercise and turnout time? Is his schedule regular? Does he have a good stable mate? Maybe he just needs to know his friends are eating, too; place his haynet near a window or door so he can see out, and them. And keep his feeder shallow, deep buckets can be scary!
Things to Avoid
It might be enticing to add sugar to your horse’s diet to encourage feeding, but excessive sugar is bad for anyone’s diet, especially a horse. Other foods to avoid: molasses, pellets, alfalfa cubes. Molasses contain large amounts of sugar and sulphur which can harm a horse’s mental state and liver health while pellets and alfalfa cubes contain high levels of mold through manufacturing. Check out our blog on why you should avoid sugar in a horse’s diet here!
If your horse isn’t getting his essential nutrients, he won’t be living up to his potential. Have you picked up any helpful tricks and horse diet tips to handle your fussy feeder? Share with us!