Whats in your bowl?
Whats in your bowl?
Making the switch from concentrate to forage based bowl feed

Horse owners have various reasons for switching from a concentrate to a forage based bowl feed. Whatever their personal reason may be, there is one important factor to keep in mind, especially if you own a hard keeper or your horse is in moderate to heavy work. This factor is calories. Concentrates tend to provide more calories per pound than forage based products.

Let's say an owner is feeding seven pounds per day of a concentrate, and then switches over to seven pounds of timothy pellets. Their horse will be receiving less calories per pound and gradually lose weight. This owner may feel their horse can't maintain weight on a forage based diet when in fact, they may have thrived on it if the missing calories were accounted for.

Examples: Forage Based

Digestible Energy
(Mcal per pound)
Timothy Pellets 0.9
Timothy Balanced Cubes 1
Alfalfa / Timothy Pellets 0.9
Alfalfa Pellets / Cubes 0.96
Chaffhaye 1.2
Teff Pellets 0.9
Beet Pulp 1.1
Speedi-Beet 1.34
Poulin Forage Extender 1
Triple Crown Safe Starch Forage 1
Oats 1.2

Examples: Concentrate Based

Digestible Energy
(Mcal per pound)
Triple Crown Senior 1.55
Triple Crown Senior Gold 1.35
Triple Crown Low Starch 1.19
Triple Crown Perform Gold 1.8
Poulin Fibermax 1.5
Nutrena ProForce Fiber 1.4
Tribute Wholesome Blend Performance 1.39
Purina Elite 1.34

Ideally additional calories are made up by increasing the amount of hay fed per day. However, some horses can eat their fill of hay, and still need more calories.

When additional hay just doesn't cut it, a good guideline is to feed 1.25-1.5x more forage based product than concentrate. 

For example, if you are feeding five pounds of a concentrate per day, then you would feed 6.25-7.5 pounds of a forage product. An exception is if you are using a forage product that is more calorie dense such as beet pulp.