Feeding Suggestions For Horses


CONTENTS
Consumption and Weight
Formulating Horse Rations
Water
Protein for Horses
Minerals
Vitamins
Energy Needs
Grains for Horses
Roughage
Feeding Costs
Pastures
Examples of Daily Rations
Ration Calculations
Some Feeding Questions and Answers

This publication was prepared by W. W. Albert, formerly Associate Professor of Animal Science, and revised by Kevin H. Kline, Extension Specialist, Horses.

Urbana, Illinois Revised February, 1987

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. WILLIAM R. OSCHWALD, Diredor, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Illinois Cooperative Extension Service provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

To 6-76-23M-AJ 3M-7-80-48296-tk 3M-2-87-64718-ESL FEEDING SUGGESTIONS FOR HORSES


A WELL-FED, HEALTHY HORSE Will be content and alert, have a keen appetite, and will have a sleek, lustrous coat. About 75 percent of the cost of raising horses (aside from purchase of breeding stock) is feed. Overfeeding can be wasteful and expensive, and underfeeding or a nutritional deficiency will not permit optimum performance. Since horses depend so much on their wind, feeds should be clean and free of mold and excessive dust. In order for a horse to be in the best possible condition, observe the following feeding practices.

Consumption and Weight

Horses can eat about 2 to 2-1/2 pounds of air-dry feeds (as grain in the bin and hay in the bale) daily per 100 pounds (cwt.) of their body weight.

In average condition, a light-legged mature mare over 14.2 hands (58 inches) will weigh approximately 1,100 pounds while mature geldings and stallions will weigh about 1,200 pounds.

Mature ponies under 46 inches will weigh from 400 to 600 pounds. Taller ponies up to 56 inches will average 700 to 900 pounds.

Weanling horse foals will weigh from 400 to 600 pounds when 7 months old. Pony foals will weigh from 200 to 300 pounds when 7 months old.

Well-fed foals will reach about 50 to 60 percent of their mature weight during the first year and about 75 percent at the end of the second year. Horses reach maturity between four and five years of age.

Formulating Horse Rations

Water, protein, minerals, vitamins, and energy are essential nutrients in a horse ration. Observe the following points when formulating the ration.

Water

The average mature light horse may drink about 10 to 12 gallons of water daily varying with the amount of work, the type of feed, and the weather. Horses should be watered regularly and frequently. After heavy exertion, very warm or very thirsty horses should be watered lightly until they are properly cooled. In very cold weather, water should be heated to 40 or 500 F.

Protein for Horses

Horses need protein for muscle growth, for lactation, and for reproduction. Protein needs are expressed as percent crude protein (C.P.) or more precisely as percent digestible protein (D.P.) of the ration. Horsemen usually add supplemental protein such as linseed meal, soybean meal, or other purchased protein to grass hay and grain rations. Legume hays such as alfalfa and red clover are also good protein sources. The average ration should contain approximately 12 percent crude protein.

Two good common oilmeal protein supplements that can be added to grass hay and grains are linseed meal (36 percent C.P.), and soybean meal (44 percent C.P. with hulls; 50 percent C.P. without hulls). Soybean meal is more palatable and of higher quality for foals and young horses.

Other purchased protein supplements without urea can be used. In some cases peanut meal, cottonseed meal, and safflower meal are good substitutes if they are economical. Protein needs of various types of horses are summarized in Table 1.
 

Table 1. - Summary of Protien Needs for Horses
Type of Horse
Percent 
crude protein 
(C.P.)
Percent 
Digestable Protein 
(D.P.)
Lb. oilmeal 
or protein 
equivalent 
to add to grass 
hay or grain 
rations dailya
MAture idle
10
7.5
.5
Dry mare in early pregnancy
11
8.5
.75
Yearling or 2-year old
12
9.0
1.0
Mare in last quarter of gestation
12
9.0
1.0
Lactating mare
14b
10.0
1.5
Stallion in heavy service
14c
10.0
2.0
Foal under 6 months
14+d
10.0+
...

aFour pounds of quality legume hays (alfalfa or clover) furnish approximately the same amount of digestible protein as 1 pound of soybean, linseed, or cottonseed meal.
b The highest amount of protein is needed during early lactation. Later the amount can be reduced.
cThe amount of protein needed depends on how heavy is the breeding service. The minimum is 14 percent.
dA very young foal may need up to 20 percent protein. At 6 months, 14 percent is sufficient

Minerals

Common farm feeds provide minerals, but most horses need extra calcium, phosphorus, salt, and possibly some trace minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, manganese, iodine, and selenium. The daily salt requirement is about 2 to 3 ounces. Routinely providing free-choice salt that is trace-mineralized for horses will satisfy both salt and trace mineral requirements with the possible exception of those for selenium. Not all trace mineral salt formulations contain selenium; check the feed label when in doubt.

Salt can be provided in a free-choice block.

The calcium requirement varies from as little as 0.3 percent dietary calcium for fully mature horses to as much as 0.85 percent in ,vealiling foals. The phosphorus requirement may range from 0.2 percent dietary phosphorus for fully mature horses to 0.6 percent in weanling foals.

The calcium and phosphorus needs of mares in early lactation are approximately double those of mature horses that are not providing milk for foals. A calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 1:1:1 should be provided for young horses. Older horses can usually tolerate a higher ratio, possibly one as high as 6:1. There should not be more phosphorus than calcium in a horse's diet.

A good way to furnish supplemental minerals is to offer a freechoice mixture of equal parts of dicalcium phosphate and trace-mineralized salt in a box protected from the weather. In formulating complete mixed hay and grain rations, about I percent dicalcium phosphate and 0.5 percent trace-mineralized salt should be added.

Vitamins

Special attention should be given to a horse's needs for vitamins. Generally, green grasses and hays furnish carotene that the horse converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important in maintaining the skin and epithelial linings of the digestive, respiratory, urinary, and reproductive tracts. Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin because the sun's rays convert substances in the animal's skin and substances in sun-cured forages into vitamin D. Vitamin D is especially important in the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus for normal bone growth and maintenance. An average pleasure horse needs about 20,000 to 30,000 International Units (I.U.) of vitamin A and about 3,000 I.U. of vitamin D daily.

Vitamin E is often associated with improved reproduction and muscle maintenance. Green feeds, wheat bran, and wheat germ oil are usually rich in vitamin E. Under conditions of barn confinement, drouthy pastures, or feeding poor-quality forage, horses may not receive adequate amounts of vitamins A, D, and E. In such cases, economical supplements of these vitamins can be mixed in the feed, injected intramuscularly, or furnished in stabilized mineral blocks. Vitamin K, necessary for blood clotting, is synthesized sufficiently in the body.

The necessary 13 vitamins are synthesized in the horse's cecum. Small supplemental amounts may be beneficial under stress conditions of fast growth, intense training, heavy racing, or breeding. Spent brewers' yeast may be an economical supplemental source of B vita mins. An economical premix of vitamins, as listed below, can be added to grain mixtures if desired at the rate of 0.5 percent (10 pounds) per ton of the grain mixture. Some horsemen prefer to add a small amount daily over the grain.
 
 

Vitamin
Ammount per lb
of premix
A
1,000,000 I.U.
B1 (Thiamine)
1,000 mg.
B2 (Riboflavin)
1,000 mg.
B6 (Pyridoxine)
300 mg.
B12
1,500 mg.
C
10,000 I.U.
D
100,000 I.U.
E
10,000 I.U.
Choline Chloride
25,000 mg.
Folic Acid
300 mg.
Niacin
2,000 mg.
Pantothenic Acid
1,500 mg.

Energy Needs

The basic ration for a horse is hay plus grain. The amount of grain a horse needs depends on the growth or performance expected. The amount of total ration is based on a consumption of 2-1/4 pounds of airdry fed per cwt. Thus a 1,000-pound horse would receive a total daily ration of 22-1/2 pounds. The energy need is often expressed as total digestible nutrients (T.D.N.). Generally grains provide more energy than hays because they analyze higher in T.D.N. and lower in crude fiber (C.F.). Table 2 gives grain requirements for several types of horses.
 
 

Table 2. - Amount of Grain To Be Included in a Horse's Ration Per Cwt. of the Horse's Weight
Grain per cwt., lb.
Work expected from the horse
Grain or growth
Breeding stock
None
Idle mature horse
Maintenance
....
.50
Light (0 to 3 hours per day)
Light
....
1.00
Moderate (3 to 6 hours per day)
Average
Mere in drylot nursing foal
1.25
Heavy (More than 6 hours per day)
Faster growth or fattening
Stallion in heavy service

The table suggests that an idle mature horse weighing 1,000 pounds should receive 22-1/2 pounds of hay with no grain while a similar horse doing heavy work or a stallion in heavy service should receive about 10 pounds of hay and 12.5 pounds of grain daily.

It is usually sound economically to feed and grow weanlings well the first and second years because young horses are more efficient and generally need less feed per pound of weight increase. Some horses can be safely fed more than 1-1/4 pounds of grain per hundredweight. However, when fed heavily, care should be taken to see that horses get plenty of exercise and do not become swollen or puffy in their legs.

Grains for Horses

Oats have been the preferred grain for horses because they contain 12 percent crude protein and are more safely fed than other grains because of their fiber or bulk. However, the price of oats often becomes prohibitive. Sometimes they are crimped or crushed for cleaning and palatibility. Horses like variety, so mixed grains are often fed. Other grains can be substituted for oats, but shelled corn, milo, wheat, and rye are low in fiber or bulk and much more dense than oat in volumeto-volume comparison.

Occasionally these grains can cause impaction or colic if they are fed alone or if they are eaten too fast by greedy horses. It may be safer to mix shelled corn, milo, wheat, or rye with oats or place some baseball-sized stones in the grain box to slow ravenous eating Whenever one of these more dense grains is substituted for oats, it should be substituted on a weight basis rather than a volume basis.

Barley is similar to oats, but is harder and should be rolled or crushed

Shelled corn is high in energy and contains little fiber. It is better utilized by the horse when it is coarse-cracked before feeding. Corn is generally more economical than oats and is nearly twice as high in energy on a volume basis.

Ear corn or ground ear corn can be fed and it will minimize gulping the grain.

Milo needs to be crushed or cracked; otherwise it may be voided as whole grain in the manure.

Wheat is often expensive and needs cracking or crushing. Wheat and rye have a tendency to gum when chewed and should not make up over 50 percent of the grain mix

Rye is not very palatable and, like wheat, needs cracking or crushing.

Wheat bran is good as bulk. One pound a day is enough for a mature horse. A warm, soaked mash of 3 to 4 pounds of wheat bran alone or mixed with oats is an excellent idle-day feed. High levels of bran should not be fed routinely to young, growing horses because wheat bran is relatively low in calcium but very high in phosphorus.

Roughage

Hay is used in the ration for bulk and energy, and can be fed loose, pelleted or chopped.

While growth, work, and reproduction require that some of the ration consists of grain, nonlactating broodmares and idle mature horses can get along satisfactorily on hay alone. On the other hand, working horses can easily be fed too much roughage, resulting in labored breathing and lack of stamina.

Grass hays usually contain about 5 to 10 percent crude protein. However, this figure can be higher if grass hays are harvested in early bloom.

Bromegrass is a perennial, palatable forage.

Orchard grass is a perennial, palatable forage often seeded with bromegrass.

Timothy is highly regarded but, in Illinois, it is a less-productive hay.

Prairie hay is a mixture of grasses of western or south-western origin.

Legume hays usually contain about 15 percent crude protein or more when they are cut at the one-third bloom stage. Very green legume hays may be a little laxative and may cause more frequent urination, however no real harm will ensue.

Alfalfa, a perennial, is hardy and productive.

Red clover, a biennial, will need reseeding after two years. Occasionally, second-cutting red clover may cause slobbering.

Lespedeza is commonly grown in southern Illinois.

Mixed hays include grass and legumes. They offer variety and more protein than straight grass hay.

Straws are used primarily for bedding but clean oat and wheat straw can be used as a filler roughage. Oat straw is more palatable.

Feeding Costs

The cost of feeding a horse varies with the season and the availability of feed. Some approximate on-farm costs of feedstuffs and supplements are given below. These costs will be higher in urban areas because of additional expenses for transportation and handling.

Hay costs $50 to $140 per ton, or 2-1/2 cents to 7 cents per pound.

Oats cost $1.50 to $2 per bushel, or 4-1/2 to 6 cents per pound.

Shelled corn costs about $2 to $3 per bushel, or 3-1/2 to 5-1/2 cents per pound.

Soybean meal (42 to 50 percent crude protein) costs about $150 per ton, or 7-1/2 cents per pound.

Linseed meal (36 percent crude protein) costs about $150 per ton, or 7-1/2 cents per pound.

Complete pelleted feed costs $220 to $250 per ton, or 11 to 12-1/2 cents per pound.

Dicalclion phosphate costs about $15 per 100 pounds, or 15 cents pound.

Trace-mineralized salt costs about $8 per 100 pounds, or 8 cents per pound.

Three examples of the cost of feeding a horse are given below. These figures assume that a horse consumes about 2 pounds of feed 100 pounds of body weight per day.

Example A: Horse weighing 1,000 pounds fed only mixed grasslegume hay.

1,100 pounds X 2 pounds per hundredweight = 22 pounds hay daily
22 pounds X 365 days 8,030 pounds hay annually
8,030 pounds X 5 cents = $401.50 annual cost

Example B: Horse weighing 1,100 pounds and working about 3 to 6 hours per day fed grain, hay, and meal.

11 pounds grain X 5-1/2 cents per pound = 60-1/2 cents
13 pounds grass hay X 4 cents per pound = 52 cents
1 pound soybean or linseed meal X 7-1/2 cents = 7-1/2 cents
Total daily cost = $1.20
Total annual cost: $1.20 X 365 days =: $438

Example C: Horse weighing 1,000 pounds fed a complete pelleted ration.

1,100 pounds X 2 pounds per hundredweight = 22 pounds daily
22 pounds pellets X 12-1/2 cents per pound = $2.75
Total annual cost: $2.75 X 365 days = $1,003.75

Pastures

Good pastures are an excellent source of nutrients. Pastures can supply the complete ration, but usually working horses and lactating mares are fed additional grain. Foals on pasture are often creep-fed as well.

The pasture season in central Illinois begins about the first week in May and lasts until about the middle of October. It begins about a week earlier for each 100 miles south of central Illinois and a week later for each 100 miles north of central Illinois.

Both temporary (one-season) and permanent pastures are used to provide feed for horses. An example of a temporary pasture schedule is given below.
 

Season Forage Seeding time Grazing time
Spring Oats and barley Late March and April May and June
Summer Pearl millet Late April and May June until frost
Fall Wheat and rye Late August and September October and November; April

Some horsemen use sudangrass during the summer, but an occasional case of urinary cystitis infection has been recorded from sudangrass grazing. Sudangrass is not safe for grazing immediately after frost or when severely stunted by drouth. Cured sudangrass can be used as hay.

Mixtures of legume and grasses in permanent pasture provide variety and more forage. Bromegrass or orchardgrass with alfalfa are suitable in most of Illinois. Fescue with lespedeza is often used in southern Illinois, however deficient milk production and foaling problems have been reported in some mares grazing in fescue pastures.

Establishment of a permanent pasture involves a considerable investment in money and labor. Good management is also required. The following suggestions will help you establish and maintain a good permanent pasture.

Permanent and rotation pasture mixtures per acre for central and northern Illinois:
 
Alfalfa  8 lb.  Alfalfa  8 lb.
 Bromegrass  12 lb.   Bromegrass  6 lb. 
= 20 lb. Orchardgrass  6 lb.
 = 20 lb.

 
 
 

These mixtures are very productive for both pasture and hay. The inclusion of orchardgrass with bromegrass will furnish more grazing in midsummer when bromegrass may be semidormant. Seed mixtures in late March or early April or in early fall, preferably before August 25.

Permanent pasture mixture per acre for southern Illinois where bromegrass and orchardgrass may not be as productive:

Kentucky fescue (low endophyte) 14 lb.
Alfalfa or lespedeza 8 lb.
 =22 lb.

Examples of Daily Rations

Some examples of daily rations for several types of horses are given below. Modifications can be made in these rations depending on the availability and cost of feeds.

Example A: Idle mature horse or pony
Nutrient requirements.
 

 
Weight, lb
Daily Ration, lb.
Daily T.D.N., lb
Daily D.P., lb
Horse
1,200
20 to 24
9.6
.8
Pony
800
16 to 18
6.4
.6

Ration 1:
Horse: 20 to 24 pounds mixed hay (1/3 alfalfa and 2/3 grass).
Pony: 16 pounds mixed hay.

Ration 2:
Horse: 20 to 24 pounds grass hay and 1/2 pound linseed meal or soybean meal.
Pony: 14 to 16 pounds grass hay and 1/4 pound oilmeal.

Daily Rations can be given at an outdoor feeder.

Example B. Mature horse or pony doing moderate work
Nutrient requirements
 

 
Weight, lb
Daily Ration, lb.
Daily T.D.N., lb
Daily D.P., lb
Horse
1,200
20 to 24
914.0
1.3
Pony
800
16 to 18
11.0
.92

Ration 1:
Horse: 15 pounds mixed hay (1/3 alfalfa and 2/3 grass) and 9 pounds oats.
Pony: 10 pounds mixed hay and 6 pounds oats.

Ration 2:
Horse: 15 pounds mixed bay (1/3 red clover and 2/3 grass), 6 pounds oats, and 3 pounds cracked corn.
Pony: 10 pounds mixed hay, 4 pounds oats, and 2 pounds cracked corn.

Ration 3:
Horse: 15 pounds grass hay, 6 pounds oats, 3 pounds cracked corn, and 1/2 pound linseed meal or soybean meal.
Pony: 10 pounds grass hay, 4 pounds oats, 2 pounds cracked corn, and 1/4 pound linseed meal or soybean meal.

Example C: Mare nursing foal
Nutrient requirements.
 

Weight, lb.
Daily ration, lb
Daily T.D.N., lb.
Daily D.P., lb.
Mare
1,100
20 to 22
18
1.9

Ration 1:
Pasture and 6 pounds grain. The grain might consist of 4 pounds oats, 1 pound cracked corn, and 1 pound bran.

Ration 2:
11 pounds mixed hay (1/3 alfalfa and 2/3 grass), 7 pounds oats, 3 pounds cracked corn, and 1 pound linseed meal or soybean meal.

Ration 3:
11 pounds grass hay, 7 pounds oats, 3 pounds cracked corn, and I -1/2 pounds linseed meal or soybean meal. Foals can be offered grain in a creep feeder.

Foals can be offered grain in a creep feeder

Example D: Weaning 6 months to 1 year old
Nutrient reauirements:
 

Weight, lb.
Daily ration, lb
Daily T.D.N., lb.
Daily D.P., lb.
Weanling
600
12 to 14
10 to 11
1.3

Ration 1:
8 pounds mixed hay (1/3 alfalfa and 2/3 grass), 6 pounds oats, and 1/2 pound linseed meal.

Ration 2:
8 pounds grass hay, 3 pounds oats, 3 pounds cracked corn, and 1 pound soybean meal or linseed meal.

Example E: Yearling to 2-year-old horses
Nutrient requirements:
 

Weight, lb.
Daily ration, lb
Daily T.D.N., lb.
Daily D.P., lb.
Yearling to 2-year-old
900
18 to 20
12
1.5

Ration 1:
11 pounds mixed hay (1/3 red clover and 2/3 grass), 6 pounds oats, 3 pounds cracked corn, and 1/2 pound linseed meal or soybean meal.

Ration 2:
11 pounds grass hay, 6 pounds oats, 3 pounds cracked corn, and I pound linseed meal or soybean meal.

Example F: Breeding stallion in moderate service
Nutrient requirements:
 

Weight, lb.
Daily ration, lb
Daily T.D.N., lb.
Daily D.P., lb.
Stallion
1,300
22 to 26
16
2.5

Ration 1:
12 pounds mixed hay (1/3 alfalfa and 2/3 grass), 8 pounds oats, 4 pounds cracked corn, 1 pound wheat bran, and 1 pound linseed meal.

Ration 2:
12 pounds grass hay, 8 pounds oats, 4 pounds cracked corn, 1 pound wheat bran, and 1-1/2 pounds linseed meal or soybean meal.

Example G: Creep rations for a nursing foal

A creep ration is commonly fed free choice where only foals can eat it.

Ration 1:
5 parts crimped oats, 3 parts cracked corn, and 1 part linseed pellets.

Ration 2:
8 parts crimped oats and 1 part linseed pellets.

Ration 3:
This is a formula for a highly palatable creep ration. It analyzes approximately 18 percent C.P. (13.5 percent D.P.), 70 percent T.D.N., and 8 percent C.F.
 
 

Ingredient
Percent
Crimped oats
40
Cracked Corn
30
Soybean meal (50-percent)
20
Dehydrated alfalfa
4
Dried Molasses
4
Dicalcium phosphate
1
Trace-mineralized salt
.5
Vitamin mixa
.5
Aurofacb
+
aTo furnish 5,000 I.U. of vitamin A per pound of ration plus B vitamins
bTo furnish 40 mg. of antibiotic per pound of ration.

Many horses are housed in boxstalls and fed from individual mangers.

Example H: Complete pelleted ration

This formula analyzes approximately 14 percent C.P. (9.8 percent D.P.), 58 percent T.D.N., and 24 percent C.F.
 
 

Ingredient
Percent
Alfalfa hay (chopped)
62
Oats
15
Cracked Corn
15
Dried Molasses
4
Soybean meal (50 percent C.P.)
2
Dicalcium phosphate
1
Trace-mineralozed salt
.5
Vitamin premixa
.5
aTo furnish 2,000 I.U. of vitamin A per pound of ration.

Ration Calculations

A knowledge of the composition of a ration along with feed analyses (Table 3) makes it possible to calculate the percent protein and percent energy of a ration. Research shows that the maintenance requirement of a horse is about 0.8 pound of T.D.N. per cwt. and that a pound of gain above maintenance requires about 3.63 pounds of T.D.N. per cwt.

The percent of crude protein (C.P.) and digestible protein (D.P.) in a typical ration for an 800-pound yearling can be calculated as in the following example. The C. P. figures are taken from Table 3.
 
 

Daily Ration of:
lb.
X
C.P.
=
lb.C.P.
Oats
6
 
.12
 
.72
Corn
2
 
.08
 
.16
Alfalfa
5
 
.15
 
.75
Bromegrass
5
 
.05
 
.25
Soybean meal
.75
 
.50
 
.375
Totals
18.75
     
2.255

Dividing the total C.P. in pounds by the total amount of the ration (2.255/18.75) gives a C.P. content of 12 percent. The average digestion coefficient for crude protein of grain is about 75 percent and about 65 percent for the crude protein of roughages. Taking an average of 70 percent and multiplying the C.P. figure by this amount (12 X .70), a result of 8.4 percent for the digestible protein (D.P.) in the ration is obtained.

The percent T.D.N. in the ration can be calculated in a similar manner. The figures for percent T.D.N. in various feeds in the following example are taken from Table 3.
 
 

Daily Ration of:
lb.
X
T.D.N.
=
lb.T.D.N.
Oats
6
 
.72
 
4.32
Corn
2
 
.80
 
1.60
Alfalfa
5
 
.50
 
2.50
Bromegrass
5
 
.50
 
2.50
Soybean meal
.75
 
.80
 
.60
Totals
18.75
     
11.52

Dividing the total T.D.N. in pounds by the total amount of the ration (11.52/18.75) gives a T.D.N. content of 61.4 percent.
 
 

Table 3. - Average Analyses of Some Horese Feeds on an Air-Dry Basis
Feed
Total Digestable
Nutriants
(T.D.N.)
Crude
Protein
(C.P.)
Digestible
Protein
(D.P.)
Crude
Fiber
(C.F.)
percent
percent
percent
percent
Grains
Oats
72
12
9.4
12
Shelled Corn
80
8 to 9
7
3
Brly
79
12
9
6
Milo
79
9
7
3
Ground Ear Corn
75
7.5
6
9
Wheat
82
12
10
3
Wheat Bran
70
17
13
9
Prorein oil meals
Linseed meal
75
36
31
9
Soybean meal with hulls
79
44
36
5
Soybean meal without hulls
80
50
42
0
Cottenseed meal
80
44
35
9
Peanut meal
80
50
43
5
Grass hays
Bromegrass
45 to 50
5 to 6
3 to 3.5
33
Orchard grass
45 to 50
5 to 6
3 to 3.5
33
Timothy
45 to 50
5 to 6
3 to 3.5
33
Prairie hay (western)
45 to 50
5 to 6
3 to 3.5
33
Legume hays
Alfalfa
50 to 55
15
10
33
Red clover
50 to 55
13 to 15
9
33
Mixed hays
1/3 alfalfa and 2/3 grass
50
8 to 9
5
33
Straw  
Oats
40
4
1
40
Wheat
40
3 to 4
.5 to .75
40

The 800-pound yearling used in the examples requires 6.4 pounds T.D.N. for maintenance (800 lb. X 0.8 lb. per cwt.). Subtracting 6.4 pounds from 11.52 (the T.D.N. in the ration) leaves 5.12 pounds T.D.N. available after maintenance. Dividing 5.12 pounds by 3.63 pounds (the amount of T.D.N. required for I pound of gain) gives a daily gain of 1.4 pounds for an 800-pound yearling fed the ration used in the above examples.

Some Feeding Questions and Answers