When comparing the amount of protein supplied by different products we often just discuss protein concentrations as a percentage. We should also be taking into consideration the feeding rate of the products we are comparing. Some people become very concerned by products that they perceive to contain high amounts of protein for example, supplements or feeds that contain 25% protein that are meant to be fed at a rate of 1lb per day. Some simple calculations can help determine how much actual protein is being gained from a product if we take into account protein percentage and amount of the product being fed.
For example: a product that contains 25% protein but is designed to be fed at 1lb per day– now let’s put this in perspective.
25% of 1lb (16oz) = 4oz (113 g) of protein
If we were to choose a “lower protein feed” such as a typical 12% concentrate with a feeding rate of 4lb and do the same calculation – we get about double the amount of actual protein:
12 % of 4lbs = 8oz (227 g) of protein
Forage is typically where most of the horses protein actually comes from – but its protein content is often overlooked. Average grass hay contains approximately 8% protein and we would usually feed about 15lb per day.
8% of 15lb = 19.2oz (544 g) of protein
If one is looking to increase the protein content of the diet for a broodmare or growing horse alfalfa is generally a good option. Average alfalfa contains on average 17% protein; the addition of 5lbs of alfalfa can really boost the quantity and quality of protein provided.
17% of 5lbs = 14oz (397 g) of protein
Take home message – remember to consider the amount of a particular product that is being fed and NOT just the protein percentage.
Protein Required per Day
|Horse (1000 lbs)||Protein (g)|
|Very Heavy Exercise||907|
Contact your Poulin Grain Feed Specialist to test your hay quality and build a diet for your horse.
www.PoulinGrain.com | 800.334.6731