Thursday, May 18, 2017
Benefits of feeding soaked hay to horses with certain health conditions.
Hay refers to grasses ,herbaceous plants and legumes that are cut,dried and sold to be used as animal fodder. Hay is commonly used in horses, ruminants, rabbits and guinea pigs. Hay is commonly made from grasses,but can also be made from legumes. Farmers also make hay from barley,oats and wheat plants are also used. Hay is usually fed to animals in pen or stalls instead of allowing them to pasture. The benefit of feeding hay is that animals have constant access to feed even when conditions such as drought is experienced and also its the main feed of grazing animal,hence it can supply 100% of fodder required. The process of making hay makes it dry and dusty making it difficult to feed some animals especially those with respiratory conditions hence several methods have been employed to reduce the dusty nature without reducing nutritional quality. Soaking hay is an accepted and most common method of presenting hay to animals. There is a proper method of soaking hay before presentation as soaking for about 30 minutes will reduce the nutritional value of the hay. The key ingredient that is manipulated when soaking is the nonstructural carbohydrates which can either make or mar the purpose of feeding the hay. In obese horses, soaking the grass hays before feeding will reduce the nonstructural carbohydrates in the hay,thus help manage weight as less feed will be consumed by the horses as the moisture content will also promote satiety level thus managing the weight of obese horses. Horses with hyperkalemic periodic paralysis(HYPP), a genetic condition associated with high levels of potassium resulting in muscle twitching and paralysis. Soaking hay reduces the level of potassium it contains,thus feeding soaked hay will be a remedy for horses with HYPP. Horses with insulin resistance and equine metabolic syndrome are sensitive to increase in carbohydrate can be fed on soaked hay to reduce the level of non structural carbohydrates thus preventing laminitis. Horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction(PPID) better known as Cushing's disease ,should be fed with hay with less than 12% non structural carbohydrates .This can easily be achieved by soaking hay to reduce the non structural carbohydrate level . The benefits of feeding soaked hay to horses with certain health conditions outlined above can be sabotaged if soaking is not done properly. Soaking of hay for as little as 30 minutes reduces the nutrient level thus making it useless and of no benefit,hence soaking should be done quickly for about 10-15 minutes to get desired results.