Monday, March 9, 2015

Feeds and Feeding, Rijkens edition

Each (rare) time I switch a horse's feed, I go through the exercise of reading the label, weighing the feed, and calculating how much each horse should receive daily.

In moving to Isabella Farms, they feed the premium diet called Progressive Nutrition Premium Performance 8 Sweet feed.  I weighed one three quart scoop of Rijkens' feed today at my grocer's produce scale.  One three quart scoop weighs exactly three pounds.  Rijkens is fed one and a half scoops in the morning and evening, for a total of nine pounds daily of Progressive Performance feed.

Rijkens gets three flakes of coastal hay daily, kept in front of him 24 hours a day via a slow-feed nibble net.  I haven't yet weighed his current hay but my best estimation is that one flake of hay is approximately two pounds to four pounds.  So Rijkens is eating approximately ten pounds of coastal hay daily (six to twelve pounds daily).  

Rijkens gets one half flake alfalfa in the morning and in the evening.  My best estimation is that one flake of alfalfa is approximately four pounds.  So Rijkens is eating approximately four pounds of alfalfa daily.

Rijkens spends about seven hours in the paddock each day, and probably four of those he spends grazing.  So if a horse takes in half a pound of grass for every hour spent grazing, Rijkens is eating approximately two pounds of grass daily.

Rijkens has access to fresh water ad libitum.

A very general rule of thumb is horses should consume greater than or equal to 1% of their body weight in forage per day, and less than or equal to 1% of their body weight in concentrate. Horses in moderate to heavy work have greater feed requirements than the average "rule of thumb" horse.

So Rijkens, weighing in at ~1,400 pounds should be eating at least fourteen pounds of forage daily and no more than 14 pounds of concentrate.

Rijkens' total daily intake:

  • 9 pounds feed.
  • ~14 pounds high quality mixed hay.
  • ~2 pounds lower quality pasture.

According to the feeding directions from the Premium Performance 8 bag:
1/2-1 hrs/day8-12 lbs10-20 lbs
Rijkens, with a full schedule of ~45 minutes work daily, should be getting 8 to 12 pounds of feed and 10 to 20 pounds of hay.  Being that he is 17 hands and ~1,400 pounds I would presume he is near the top end of the scale, so about 10 pounds of feed and around 18 pounds of hay daily.  Being that he is an easy keeper, Rijkens' diet does fall close to within the recommended daily allotment.