How long does grain heat a horse up?

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How long does grain heat a horse up?

This is a discussion on How long does grain heat a horse up? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    02-02-2011, 12:12 AM
Green Broke
How long does grain heat a horse up?

I have heard that when a horse eats grain they will got "hot" three hours later from digesting it. I was just wondering about how long does that extra heat last? Let's say that we are talking about a scoupful of grain and able to eat free choice hay. Anyone have an opinion?
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    02-02-2011, 09:18 AM
A "hot" sugar buzz from a cheap molassas based feed is one thing; however, digestion heat from a grain such as oats would not be significantly different than digestion heat from the hay he is continually eating all day in the free choice situation. Big differences could occur if the hay quality was very poor or very nice as the hay would ferment quicker in the hind gut if it were very nice and would digest/ferment slower if it were very poor quality. The same could be said for the feed - a feed that digests quickly and easily - ie equine senior, would burn off quicker than say whole oats.
    02-02-2011, 10:17 AM
Green Broke
I think in, my opinion, if a horse doesn't need grain, why give it to them? Just a question.
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    02-02-2011, 01:16 PM
Green Broke
It doesn't. Grains provide energy and calories, but they are not "heating." Hay is what heats the horse from the inside. It helps heat the horse while it's digesting in the hind gut. During cold weather, I make sure my horses have grass hay in front of them 24/7, or as close to it as I can get.

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    02-02-2011, 02:14 PM
Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979    
It doesn't. Grains provide energy and calories, but they are not "heating."

Correct me if I am wrong, but 5lb of oats of say 70%TDN should have the same "heating" quality of 5lb of hay of 70% TDN.

Typically we feed grain as a energy/calorie concentrate and we feed hay more as a bulk commodity; however when comparing comparable products, they should "heat" the same.
    02-02-2011, 02:19 PM
Green Broke
Yes, but grains are digested very quickly as compared to most hays, so they do not "heat" the horse for very long. They should not be used as a "heating" feed. That is my point.
    02-02-2011, 02:20 PM
Green Broke
Here, from the link I posted:
Heat is produced in the process of digesting, absorbing and metabolizing any feed. And this heat is useful for helping the horse to maintain its body temperature in cold weather. The greatest amount of heat produced during digestion comes from the breakdown of fibre by the microorganisms living in the horse's large intestine. The higher a feed's fibre content, the more heat produced during digestion. Therefore, more heat would be produced from the digestion of high fibre feeds like hay or beet pulp, compared to heat produced from digesting low fibre grains like corn, barley or wheat. Although low in fibre, even oats produce about 25% more heat during digestion than other grains because of the fibrous hull surrounding the oat kernel.
    02-02-2011, 09:36 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979    
Here, from the link I posted:
Thank you for that link. It was very informative. I guess I misunderstood it before because it seem like our horses did get warm from eating it. Maybe it was from them getting worked up and excited about getting grain.

I was hesitant about posting this question, but I thought that since I didn't know for sure that there may be others wondering also.
    02-02-2011, 09:42 PM
Luvs is correct.

Fiber has the greatest Heat Increment (HI) of protein, fat, and fiber. It is the best food to feed to keep a horse warm.

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