Winter Feeding of Omega Rich Fatty Acids
In the winter months horses will often need extra energy to maintain their body temperature without decreasing their weight. It has been estimated that the average horse needs about 25% more energy during the coldest winter months. For each degree Fahrenheit the air is below the horse’s lower critical temperature (LCT) their caloric needs will typically increase by 1%. The Lower Critical Temperature is the temperature below which the horse will start to use more energy for maintaining body warmth than normal.
Fats are more Calorie Dense than Carbohydrates
They make a great choice to maintain weight on horses through the winter. It is generally regarded as a safer way to add calories to a ration then using starch options due to the risk of hind gut disturbances. If you feed too much starch at one time it can create havoc on the hind gut.
One of the easiest ways to add fat to the diet is to add oil to your horses existing ration. Winter grasses provide more omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acids and the O3 Animal Health brand oils closely mimic these grasses. Oil is very energy dense, having around three times the number of calories as carbohydrate. It is also easily digested and absorbed. It is a great energy source due to its relatively slow breakdown and won’t make a horse “hot.”
As winter hay quality decreases and suffers nutrient losses; a fatty acid with added vitamin E can be beneficial. Vitamin E is depleted quickly with stored hay. Since vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, it needs adequate fat for absorption and transport. Added all-natural vitamin E to O3 Animal Health’s Omega brand oils helps the immune system and plays a big role in protecting the lipid membranes of cells and cell structures from damage caused by free radicals.
Their source of Vitamin E is D-Alpha Tocopherol. Recent studies have shown this form of Vitamin E was successful at maintaining needed blood levels of Vitamin E in the horse. All-natural Vitamin E is up to 6 times for bio available for the horse as well as being able to penetrate the critical blood/brain barrier.
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Source: Press Release by Catie Staszak / Catie Staszak Media For O3 Animal Health
Photo: © O3 Animal Health