Feeding a Yearling Draft?

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Feeding a Yearling Draft?

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  • Feeding draft horses
  • How to keep draft yearlings fat

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    08-22-2010, 12:08 PM
Question Feeding a Yearling Draft?

I know for light breed horses they say to feed approximately 2% - 3% of their body weight per day (total hay and grain). Is this correct for draft breeds as well, or do thy need a different ration? Any other tips while we're at it?

I am trying to figure out how much hay I need to stock for this winter and don't want to take a chance on running out!!! Thanks!
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    08-22-2010, 01:25 PM
Green Broke
Dr. Beth Valentine has done extensive research on draft horse diets. Here is one of her articles.

Feeding Draft Horses: The EPSM Diet - EC Magazine Fall 2005

Drafts aren't that different than regular horses when it comes to feed. My adult Percheron gets the same as the other horses in the barn.

Read as much as you can about the high fat diet for draft horses. And don't give any grain.

Beth Valentine's Recommended EPSM Diets

From an article on The Horse:


A good, balanced diet is especially important for draft horse health.

"There's a lot of bone they're putting down," Stone points out. Draft horse feed proportions are the same as those of the light horse--about 2% of their body weight per day. However, because of the draft's predisposition to myopathies (muscle disorders) such as equine PSSM, Stone says it's important to feed draft horses diets high in fat and fiber and low in carbohydrates (i.e., reduced sugars and starches), with adequate amounts of balanced minerals.

Valentine cautions that when feeding a high-fat and -fiber diet to youngsters, it's important to ensure the horse is not getting so many daily calories that he gets fat or grows too fast.

"A young draft on this type of diet may need a daily supplement to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake, as the higher calories of fat will mean a lower volume of concentrated vitamin and mineral fortified feed will be fed," she says.

"Growing horses require more of many of the vitamins and minerals than do adult horses," she says. In general, she recommends feeding plenty of high-quality hay or pasture, a forage-based feed with added fat, and any necessary supplemental vitamins and minerals for draft horses of all ages.

"Vitamin E supplementation--at least 1 IU (International Unit) vitamin E per pound of horse--is also important for any horse not on high levels of alfalfa products or green grass pasture for much of the year," she states.

The Horse | Heavy Horse Health Problems
    08-22-2010, 05:26 PM
What Solon said. Might want to check out Dr. Valentine's book as well--Draft Horse Owner's Manual. Good stuff.
    08-22-2010, 06:19 PM
That's great info - thanks! What do you all use to add fat to their diet? I already add some rice bran oil, but I guess not enough based on that article.
    08-22-2010, 09:56 PM
Green Broke
I've always used Mazolla Corn oil and poured it over Purina Packer Pellets (which is not grain but a complete feed - the kind people use to feed horses on hunting and camping trips so they don't have to bring hay).

Solon only gets 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup right now because he's not working.

The Draft Horse book is THE book on drafts and is your best resource. It talks about calorie needs depending on the use of the horse (maintenance, working, etc) and also about food measurements.

    08-22-2010, 11:59 PM
When my draft cross gelding was a yearling-2 I had him on Triple Crown Junior, then switched to Purina Strategy pellets. He only gets about 4 cups a day plus all the grass hay (combo of orchard and bermuda) he can eat. He also gets about 1/2 cup of flax seed meal for a nice shiny coat. I've kept an eye on him for EPSM but he doesn't seem prone to it so haven't done the oil/fats with him. I kept him on the slim side when he was younger, but now he's kind of chunky :)
    08-23-2010, 12:29 AM
Green Broke
A lot of people have said the high fat diet is a good preventative. So it's good for horses even if they don't show signs of EPSM. I decided to go that route.
    08-23-2010, 12:55 AM
Very good post - I learned alot! :)
    08-23-2010, 08:24 AM
Originally Posted by Solon    
A lot of people have said the high fat diet is a good preventative. So it's good for horses even if they don't show signs of EPSM. I decided to go that route.
Me too. I figured I'd rather adjust the diet upfront than deal with problems from it later on.
    08-27-2010, 03:57 PM
During the summer time my draft is on 24/7 grass and nothing else, but during the rest of the year he gets about 1 to 1.5lbs of a ration balancer along with about 25 to 30 pounds of hay per day. He's an easy keeper so I can't give him too much otherwise he will get too fat and I like to keep my horses, especially when they're growing, on the lean side.

He also gets free choice access to a mineral lick and has some forage to keep him busy with in his paddock. I got him when he was an underweight yearling and he bloomed beautifully on this program - the only differences being that he was on free choice hay and 1c of BOSS per day for the first 3 months we had him before being turned out on pasture 24/7 with just his RB.

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