Pelleted Horse Feed

There are many feeds on the market today that are pelleted horse feeds. When buying one, there are a few things you should think about and consider.

Pelleted horse feed.

Ingredients in pellets can vary widely. There are very high quality pellets out there (like most ration balancers ) and there are also very low quality pellets.

To form pellets, all the feed ingredients must be finely ground, then smashed together into a pellet shape. Since the ingredients must be ground down so much, some things should be kept in mind about them:

  • Pellets are never going to provide a horse with long-stem fiber.
    • The particles of a pellet are too small to provide the stimulation to the equine digestive system that long-stem fiber does.
  • Low quality ingredients are easily disguised.
    • Due to the fact that the ingredients are all ground so finely, it is impossible to tell what quality the ingredients were in the first place.

Another thing you need to think about when you buy pellets is how much sugar is in them. Depending on the ingredients, your pellets may contain large amounts of sugar and starch. If the sugar and starch content of your pellets is large, you should be very careful feeding them, and not feed any more than 2-3 pounds per meal.

Common myths about pelleted feeds:

Pellets are better for my horse than sweet feed.

This may or may not be true. Pelleted feeds can contain just as much, if not more, sugar and starch as traditional sweet feeds do. Whether or not the pelleted feed contains large amounts of sugar and starch depends on the ingredients...therefore it is necessary to read the ingredient list to know exactly what you are buying. Pellets that are made mostly of forage products are probably better for your horse in terms of digestive safety (but not necessarily nutrition) than traditional sweet feeds.

However, if the ingredients are mostly grains and other high-starch feeds your pellets may not be any better than the traditional sweet feed.

Pellets are always the same from bag to bag.

Again, not necessarily true. If your feed is a fixed formula, then the pellets will be made of the same feeds in the same ratios in every bag. However, if your feed is a least-cost formulation chances are that your pellets are not the same composition every bag.

In fact, they could be greatly varied from bag to bag, to the point that you are feeding a "different" feed to your horse every time you open a new bag.

Pelleted feeds can make a great addition to any horse's diet...just make sure you do your homework before you choose one to buy!

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