We are most likely all familiar with the saying “We Are What We Eat”. How I hate to think that as I enjoy a favorite dessert. Oh well, I am not going to lecture you on your eating habits today but rather bring your attention to what you are feeding your horses and livestock.
Often I am surprised that many do not read the ingredients in the feeds they are feeding. What would you think if you found hydrogenated poultry feathers or feather meal listed? What is feather meal?
As defined on Wikipedia ……….
Feather meal is a byproduct of processing poultry; it is made from poultry feathers by partially hydrolyzing them under elevated heat and pressure, and then grinding and drying. Although total nitrogen levels are fairly high (up to 12%), the bioavailability of this nitrogen may be low. Feather meal is used in formulated animal feed and in organic fertilizer.
Worldwide, more than 25 billion chickens are used for human consumption. Feather meal is made through a process called rendering. Steam pressure cookers with temperatures over 140°C are used to “cook” and sterilize the feathers. This partially hydrolyzes the proteins, which denatures them. It is then dried, cooled and ground into a powder for use as a nitrogen source for animal feed (mostly ruminants) or as an organic soil amendment.
Containing up to 12% nitrogen, it is a source of slow-release, organic, high-nitrogen fertilizer for organic gardens. It is not water soluble and does not make a good liquid fertilizer. It can be used to:
• Increase green leaf growth
• Activate compost decomposition
• Improve soil structure
When adding it to a garden as a nitrogen source, it must be blended into the soil to start the decomposition to make the nitrogenous compounds available to the plants. As an organic garden fertilizer, it is not synthetic or petroleum-based.
Sounds OK for my organic garden but do I want to feed that to my horse and livestock. Just doesn’t sound right to me.
So instead of doing the same old, same old – Read the Ingredients list on your feed, ask questions and get educated. Your horse and livestock are also “What They Eat”.
We are hearing a lot about Probiotics and Prebiotics.
What are these?
Probiotics commonly refers to both the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and the supplements used to increase their population. When Probiotics are strong and healthy, they breakdown foods and their population flourishes – leaving very little room and food for the pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms).
Prebiotics are feed for the Probiotics. They help keep the Probiotics healthy.
It helps if we have better understanding of a horse’s digestive tract. Their digestive tract is classified into 2 parts. 1. The Foregut (front – stomach and small intestine) is designed for prepping and digesting small and steady supply of forages. 2. The Hindgut (back – cecum and large and small colon) is designed for completing digestion of the fibrous materials.
The horse’s digestive track is designed for foraging on small amounts of roughage throughout the day. Horses being a flight animal can then run at a moment’s notice without being bogged down by big feed loads.
It is not always that our horses can graze on endless pastures all day. Feeding your horse large amounts once or twice a day can undermine your horse’s digestive process. If not enough forage is going through the small intestine, it can cause kinks and colic tie-ups. If too much unassimilated starch/sugars enter the cecum, you get a population bloom of sugar-eating microbes. The microbes that are designed to eat the high-fiber forage suffer. Elevated levels of starch and sugar reaching the cecum, force a shift in the microbial population, lowering pH and often allowing pathogenic microbes to gain a foothold. This can lead to digestive colic and other horse health problems.
That is why we need healthy Probiotics! They break down forages by converting sugars and carbohydrates into beneficial by-products of fatty acids and nutrilites where they will then be absorbed into the blood and delivered to cells as nutrients.
As you get ready for the winter season be sure you are spending your feed and supplements dollars wisely. For more information on our recommended feed supplements for horses and livestock visit www.cameofencing.com/sweetpro