The best ways to promote healthy weight gain in horses are:
After addressing worms, teeth and health, the most important feeding step when you want a horse to gain weight is to provide as much pasture or grass/meadow hay as the horse can eat. You can do this by either giving your horse 24 hour access to pasture or by feeding just enough hay that a little is left over each day.
Poor-quality feed and forage will also have lower levels of nutrients, which can easily result in deficiencies, especially if the horse is a picky eater. … A deficiency in just one nutrient or amino acid can be enough to cause a horse to lose weight or prevent a horse from gaining weight.
Here are 10 more tips to gain weight:
The best feed for an underweight horse is good quality hay or pasture grass. 1 Give him free choice hay unless there is some medical reason (such as metabolic syndrome, founder (also known as laminitis) or Cushing’s disease) not to.
Feed for a weight gain of 0.5 to 0.75 pounds daily. Three to four pounds of an additional grain product can meet this gain if the horse’s body weight is stable. Use the table below as a guideline. Horses take about three weeks to adapt to a high fat diet.
Oats have been traditionally considered a low starch choice in grains; however, this grain is really only low starch when compared with corn. Oats typically contain between 32 and 43 percent starch. … A diet of oats alone would not be sufficient for any horse, and as a weight gain supplement oats are definitely lacking.
Beet pulp can be used to help underweight horses gain weight, as it provides approximately 1,000 kcals per pound (one quart of dry beet pulp shreds weighs approximately 0.5-0.6 pounds).
An often-palatable fat source is corn oil added to your horse’s grain. You can begin with one to two ounces of corn oil per meal to see if your horse will eat his feed with the added oil, and if he finds it tasty, you can work up to two cups per day.
The too skinny horse may look ewe necked, the withers may appear very pronounced and the spine may be easily felt beneath the skin. The ribs and hip bones may be sharply visible and easily felt and the haunches appear sunken. Horses become too thin for a number of reasons including lack of food, stress or illness.
Stull says the best approach for initial refeeding consists of frequent small amounts of high-quality alfalfa. The amount should be increased slowly at each meal, and the number of feedings decreased over 10 days. After 10 days to two weeks, horses can be fed as much as they will eat.
How to Gain Weight