Where Are We Now? Feeds, Feeding Systems and Current Knowledge of UK Horse Owners When Feeding Haylage to Their Horses

Meriel Moore-Colyer, Amy Westacott, Lucile Rousson, Patricia Harris, Simon Daniels

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite our improved understanding of equid digestive health and accurate rations formulations, obesity in the UK horse population remains high. Study aims: (1) to determine how owners are feeding their horses and what influences their choices, (2) to understand owners' knowledge of haylage and (3) to identify key areas that require additional education. Data were collected in 2020 from 1338 UK horse owners via two online surveys. Survey 1 was on general feeding practices, and Survey 2 was specifically on the feeding of haylage. Data were processed using chi square analyses + Bonferroni tests, with a significance p < 0.05. Equal numbers of leisure and performance horse owners completed both surveys. For Survey 1, 67% fed hay as the only forage, 30% fed forage (hay/haylage) + balancer, 36% fed haylage and hay to manage energy intake, 84% added a cube or coarse mix, 88% did not do forage analyses, 74% did not see the need for it and 16% did not know analyses could be done. In Survey 2, those who were not feeding haylage, 66% were not sure how to feed it, 68% worried about aerobic spoilage and 79% said the bale size was unsuitable. Body weight measurements (Survey 1 and Survey 2) were rarely performed (11%). Aspects of ration formulations, the value of feed analyses and how to interchange hay and haylage require additional education to owners for improved ration compilation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimals
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

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