Barley sprouts have a good nutritional profile for equine. Protein levels in FEEDGROW® sprouts are generally around 20% – 24% as confirmed through our analysis done by Cornell University – hereto attached. Digestibility is high, as well as the moisture content. For high-performance horses, there are some that like to add a little sunflower seed for increased protein, but it’s generally not necessary.
Approximately 3% of the horse’s body weight is a good starting point. If you have a 500kg horse, that’s about 15kg. Remember that the barley sprouts are not intended to be a complete feed. You will still need some dry roughage (a minimum of 1%) in your horse’s diet.
Now you know you need roughage, but what is best
Research has proven that barley sprouts digest very quickly. As a result, hays that are high in fiber and slow to digest complement the sprouts. By slowing down the digestion the horse can retain more of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes in the sprouts. This means that grain hays and grass hays will actually work better in a barley sprout diet.
Surely you’re thinking this lush green grass is going to cause colic. The key thing here is that it’s not grass – yet. A sprout at 6 days is dramatically different from both dry grains and green grass.
Grains are not in a form that can be easily digested. As grains sprout hydrolytic enzymes break down compounds into simpler, more digestible forms. What you end up with is an increase in available vitamins and minerals. It’s a high protein, high energy, digestible (over 70%), wet feed. Horses maintain better hydration during training, events, or racing. The digestibility means there’s not an excess of non-structural carbohydrates (i.e., NSC, sugars) to move on and ferment in the cecum.
This fermenting could eventually increase acidity, kill good bacteria, and cause body-wide inflammation (particularly in the lamina of the feet = laminitis). Since the excess sugars are not present, fodder will not cause colic. If anything, it can actually help prevent it.
Fresh barley sprouts grown in a FEEDGROW® system offer nutritional advantages for horses. Horses are grazing animals. Adding fresh grass to horses helps them to better health and performance.
Advantages of feeding FEEDGROW® sprouts to horses:
- Better performance in racehorses
- Improved coat and general appearance
- Lower feed bills
- Less incidence of colic and gut ulcers
- Lower vet costs
- Gentler, calmer animals
- Faster recovery after exertion
- Prevention of ulcers, inflammation, and compaction.
- Shortens recovery time after strenuous work or exercise.
- The exceptional growth of year-old foals
- Stimulates appetite during dry seasons
- Higher milk production by mares
- Helps with the rehydration process after heavy perspiration due to strenuous work/exercise
- Produces important amino acids which in turn speeds up the breeding process of the horse.