Journal of equine veterinary science2020; 94; 103239; doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2020.103239

Dry Matter Intake, Body Weight, and Body Condition Scores of Blanketed and Nonblanketed Horses in the Upper Midwest.

Abstract: Thermoregulation is an energy-expensive process, which can be mitigated by blanketing horses in cold climates, potentially preventing weight loss or leading to decreased feed intake. The objective of this study was to evaluate feed intake, body weight (BW), and body condition scores (BCSs) in blanketed and nonblanketed horses. In October 2019, 16 mature adult horses were blocked by breed and BCS and randomly assigned to a blanketed (n = 8) or nonblanketed (n = 8) treatment; blankets were placed. Data were collected in December 2019 and January 2020 in River Falls, Wisconsin. During the study, horses were housed in dry lots and fed grass-legume mixed round bales. At the start of each trial period, BW and BCSs of horses were taken, hay cores were taken for nutritive analysis, and hay bales were weighed. Hay waste was collected daily, and when hay could no longer be consumed ad libitum, the remaining hay was removed from both pens (orts) and new bales were fed. Hay waste and orts were dried and daily dry matter intake was estimated as the difference between hay provided minus hay waste and orts during the trial period divided by the total BW of the pen. The average bale weight, forage nutritive value, BW, and BCS did not differ across treatment groups (P ≥ .05). However, the daily dry matter intake differed (P ≤ .05) at 2.31% BW for blanketed horses and 2.51% BW for nonblanketed horses. These results suggest blanketed horses conserve energy leading to decreased feed intake.
Publication Date: 2020-08-29 PubMed ID: 33077081DOI: 10.1016/j.jevs.2020.103239Google Scholar: Lookup
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  • Journal Article
  • Research Support
  • Non-U.S. Gov't

Summary

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The research study explores how blanketing horses in cold climates affects their food intake, body weight, and body condition scores, revealing that blanketed horses may consume less feed due to energy conservation.

Study Overview

  • The research was undertaken in October 2019, with the objective of evaluating how blanketing impacts feed intake, body weight, and body condition scores (BCS) in horses.
  • A set of 16 mature horses were divided into two randomly assigned groups: one group was blanketed and the other wasn’t, ensuring that breed and BCSs were evenly distributed between both groups.
  • The data were collected in the months of December 2019 and January 2020 in River Falls, Wisconsin. During these months, horses were housed in dry lots and were fed grass-legume mixtures in round bales.

Methodology

  • The body weight (BW) and body condition scores (BCSs) of horses were taken at the onset of the trial. Additionally, the hay bales were weighed and a nutritive analysis was performed.
  • Hay wastes collected daily and remaining hay was removed from both pens once they could no longer consume it in an unrestricted manner. Fresh bales were then supplied.
  • The amount of daily dry matter intake was estimated by deducting the hay waste and remaining hay from the provided hay during the trial period and then dividing the result by the total body weight of the pen.

Study Findings

  • The research showed that while the average bale weight, forage nutritive value, body weight, and body condition scores remained consistent across both groups, the daily dry matter intake differed between the blanketed and nonblanketed horses.
  • The blanketed horses demonstrated a daily dry matter intake at 2.31% of their body weight while the nonblanketed horses recorded an intake of 2.51% of their body weight. This difference was statistically significant.
  • The findings suggest that by blanketing the horses, they were better able to conserve energy, leading to a decrease in their feed intake.

Cite This Article

APA
DeBoer M, Konop A, Fisher B, Martinson K. (2020). Dry Matter Intake, Body Weight, and Body Condition Scores of Blanketed and Nonblanketed Horses in the Upper Midwest. J Equine Vet Sci, 94, 103239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2020.103239

Publication

ISSN: 0737-0806
NlmUniqueID: 8216840
Country: United States
Language: English
Volume: 94
Pages: 103239
PII: S0737-0806(20)30330-0

Researcher Affiliations

DeBoer, Michelle
  • Department of Animal and Food Science, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, WI. Electronic address: michelle.deboer@uwrf.edu.
Konop, Alexandra
  • Department of Animal and Food Science, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, WI.
Fisher, Bailey
  • Department of Animal and Food Science, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, WI.
Martinson, Krishona
  • Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN.

MeSH Terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Eating
  • Horses
  • Plant Breeding
  • Wisconsin

Citations

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