3 High-Protein Foods To Add to Your Horse’s Diet

The animals in our lives, whether in our houses or barns, are part of our families. We want to take care of these family members the same way we would care for our human family members, and that includes making sure they eat a balanced diet. Most horse feeds have a fair amount of protein, but you need to add protein to your horse’s diet if they’re extremely active, such as working or show horses. Keep reading to learn about three high-protein foods you can consider adding.

Legume Hays

While many grasses and hays your horse grazes on throughout the day contain protein, legume hays have a 20 percent higher protein content. Alfalfa and clover are two legume hays you can grow in your pasture for easy, high-protein grazing. If you don’t want to change your pasture, you can mix one or both hays into the feed you’re already using to supplement grazing. Foraging is better for your horses since it helps maintain their digestive systems. But making sure they have enough protein in their diets is also important, so add it however you think is best.

Soybean Meal

Soybeans are a type of legume, but we consider them a different protein source. They grow differently than legume hays, which means it’s more difficult for your horse to forage for them. It’s safer for your horse to feed on soybean meal than for you to grow soybeans for them to forage. Luckily, soybean meal is still high in protein. You can add it to your horse’s regular feed if it doesn’t have soybean meal or look for a new feed that contains extra soybean meal.

Flaxseed Grains

Flaxseed is a grain that many people are adding to their diets since it’s full of healthy fats and fiber. We can add it to our horses’ diets for these benefits, as well as the high protein content. Before humans or horses eat flaxseed grains or seeds, it’s best to grind them up. The grinding helps prevent the fatty acids from degrading as quickly, which reduces rancidity. In addition to providing extra protein, these grains have positive side effects, such as improving coat health and calming temperament. However, high-protein diets also have hidden side effects, such as increased ammonia production, which can negatively affect horses’ bodies. Make sure to feed your horse a balanced diet to moderate ammonia production.

There are many ways to add protein to your horse’s diet, including with these three high-protein foods. Consult with a veterinary professional if you’re concerned that your horse isn’t getting enough protein despite these additions or is experiencing negative side effects from high protein.

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