By Christine Barakat
Most equine caretakers know that changing feeding regimens abruptly is an open invitation for colic. But just how gradual does the transition from one feedstuff to another need to be? That depends on how dramatic a dietary shift you'll be making and what kind of feed is involved.
When changing concentrates, compare the labels on your old feed and the new feed, and proceed as follows:
Other dietary changes require equally careful introduction. A switch in roughage from poor or moderate to "rich" (from depleted pasture, for instance, to alfalfa hay) should occur over two weeks. Take three weeks to introduce emaciated animals to a high-calorie, nutrient-rich diet.
With any feeding change, be alert for signs that the gut is not adapting–diarrhea and colicky episodes are the usual indications–and revert to the previous level of nutrition or the former feedstuff until the upset passes.This article is from EQUUS Magazine, Issue 246 (April 1998), copyright 1998 by PRIMEDIA Enthusiast Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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