A quick and fun cartoon introduction on how proper feed management using iFEED can help improve the health of your horse. And make life better for both you and your horse.
iFEED technology is at the Breeders Halter Futurity show in Des Moines this week. Please find us there. iFEED has feeders installed at the stalls at the Des Moines Fairground stables during the show and iFEED has a booth by the arena.
For more information on the Breeders Halter Futurity show please visit: http://www.breedershalterfuturity.com
He is part of the Danish National Team and recently took Silver individually and for team at the European Championships as well as a Gold Medal at the World Championships in Kentucky on his horse “Rexton Royal” in both Team, Freestyle and Individual. He is well known in Europe, possibly in the USA as well. He he a very big fan of the feeders and has just ordered another 15 for an expansion at his ranch. His comments is one among many. His feeding schedule is not ideal however, more feedings, also during the night improves welfare further.
At his ranch Shadock in southern Denmark they have been using the iFEED feeders for the 50 horses they have for the past 7 years. Henrik is more than excited and states, “once you have used iFEED, you can never go back”. At his ranch with 50 horses there are big savings in labor. The feeders are filled once a day and this saves labor as well as saving in veterinarian expenses and feed.
“We have not had colic since we installed these”, Henrik states. “The stomach of the horse is quite small and the many small feedings the iFEED allows for, is very good for the digestion for the horses because the feed is utilized better and we save at least 10-20% on feed. In the summer time we feed 5 times daily and during the colder times we feed 7 times a day. We use Oats and hobs and we add the PAVO feed as well”. The PAVO pellets are too big for the feeder but we break these apart and add it to the Oats. With the iFEED the horses learn to eat in a calm manner. There is absolutely no stress during feedings and the trough is licked clean every time. The horses learn the feeding times very rapidly and right before the feeder starts, the horses get up and there is little unrest in the stable as the horses prepare to eat. There is no unwanted behavior by any of the horses.
On the Schadock Ranch you experience zero stress in connection with feedings. The opposite is the case. Henrik states, “I would say the opposite is very much the case, the feeders promote a calm environment and behavior. We have many horse owners who have never seen their horses lie down and rest but when they come to our ranch they will see our horses lying down, also during the day. Some of the new tenants are sceptic when they come to our ranch with their horses. They question whether the horses are being tended to often enough, do they get enough to eat etc. This hesitation we all end up laughing about 6 months later when they realize how well functioning these feeders are to the welfare of the animals”.
Henrik Sibbesen ensures that the horses get enough feed. He prefers hay over wrap. It also helps promote a better digestive system. A British experiment shows that horses should have a little hay each day to help digestion so he ensures that all horses on his ranch have access to hay during the day.
Its been 7 years since Henrik Sibbesen installed the iFEED feeders and there are no plans to exchange them. “We just did a major cleaning of all of them and they look as good as new. Its plastic and stainless steel that these are made of so we expect another 5-10 years of usage before they need to be replaced.
“..once you have used iFEED, you can never go back.”
Break while the stables are cleaned 01:00 PM
At that time the stables are shut for the night.
We are very pleased to announce that the iFEED System was selected for our Product Picks feature. Your product has officially received the Equine Wellness Magazine stamp of approval!
We would like to assist you in promoting this wonderful product by providing you with the “Animal Wellness Magazine Approved” logo which you will find on the enclosed CD saved in several different formats. Use this logo as you wish in any promotional materials related to this product. We hope the that our seal of approval will help you indicate the high quality and advantages of Canarm Equine Products’ iFEED System.
Once again, congratulations and thank-you for your support of Equine Wellness Magazine… “the voice of the Equine Wellness Movement”.
John M. Allan
By Gina M. Fresquez, MS
Horse owners have been told many times to feed their horses small meals throughout the day, but most do not know the reasoning behind this recommendation. Horses are herbivores, designed by nature to graze on a variety of forages. Believe it or not, horses naturally will rarely go more than 2-3 hours without eating. This allows for the presence of food in the digestive tract at all times, which ensures healthy gut function. The horse’s anatomy confirms this recommendation by the function and design of the digestive tract, specifically the stomach.
Horses have relatively small stomachs compared to the rest of their digestive tract, taking up about 8% of the total tract. This small digestive organ can only hold approximately 3-5 gallons, and cannot process large meals efficiently. Therefore, feeding frequency for horses should be encouraged to many small meals throughout the day. A study conducted by the University of Kentucky found that when horses’ concentrate rations were spread over 8 meals per day and given free choice hay, they consumed more hay per day then when only fed 2 concentrate meals per day. This is important when recognizing the need for more forage in the diet for a healthy gut. This encourages the horse to nibble throughout the day and demonstrates how feeding grain and supplements frequently in small amounts can actually increase forage consumption.
Rapid Rate of Passage
Because of the horse’s small stomach, passage of feed through the stomach is relatively fast. This, paired with the horse’s inability to vomit, only allows the horse to pass food in one direction, which can create additional digestive upset if overloaded by too much feed at once.
The emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine is controlled by the meal size. Horses receiving large meals only a few times a day fill the stomach much faster. This creates stomach distention which encourages rapid emptying rather than with smaller meals fed many times a day. This rapid emptying caused by larger meals can overwhelm the capacity of the small intestine, resulting in undigested feed reaching the hind gut of the horse, and causing digestive upset (like colic, hind gut acidosis or laminitis).
Continuous Gastric Acid Secretion
With most mammals, digestions begins with the production of saliva in the mouth and the act of chewing which stimulates the stomach to begin secreting gastric acid in preparation for digestion of feed to take place. Horses, on the other hand, are one of the very few animals that constantly secrete gastric acid in the stomach whether food is present or not (Murray, 1998). Since horses were naturally designed to graze on many small meals throughout the day, they generally need this constant supply of stomach acid to be consistently digesting their food. The act of chewing naturally triggers the production of saliva in the horse. This saliva helps buffer the acid and is not harmful as long as food is present. Horses produce a large amount of saliva when consuming forage, and less when consuming concentrates, grains and supplements. It is during periods of fasting or long hours between meals that the acid will build up and potentially acerbate or cause gastric ulcers. This becomes a concern especially with stalled horses fed 1-2 large meals a day and going without feed for 10+ hours at a time. This puts them at high risk for developing gastric ulcers, added stress, and according to Ohio State University, a much higher glycemic response, which is a concern for horses with insulin resistance, Cushing’s or other metabolic disorders.
Take Home Message
As horse owners, we try to manage our horses as close to those living in a natural grazing condition, but it is not always possible. This method rarely can meet the energy demands of most performance and race horses. In these cases, most common modern management practices of feeding stalled horses 2-3 times per day can lead to horses rapidly consuming their meal, leaving the rest of the day with out any food available and causing an increase in digestive upsets and problems. Horse owners are encouraged to manage their horses to have constant access to forage, utilizing pasture or slow hay feeders, as well as feed many frequent small meals of concentrates (grain and supplements) throughout the day.