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Feeding corn - Horses [Skip to Content]
Illinois Livestock Trail by UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION


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Illinois Livestock Trail

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QUESTION
Have trainer recommending that we switch pelleted grain with 2% corn over to feeding nothing but corn. Would this be a wise choice? Or should we mix are current grain with oats?


ANSWER

This is a tough question to answer given the limited information. The reason for feeding any grain is mainly to supplement energy in the diet, as well as to serve as a carrier for supplemental vitamins and minerals. Plain grains such as corn and oats may be adequate, as long as the hay quality is good, or the horse is grazing good quality pasture and there is free-choice access to a salt/vitamin/mineral supplement designed for horses.

Corn has the greatest amount of energy of any of the cereal grains, and can be used very successfully in horse diets to encourage weight gains and maintenance of body weight in performance horses. However, it is also a grain that is prone to toxicity problems due to certain molds and their resulting mycotoxins. If you are using straight corn as an energy supplement, undiluted with "safer" grains such as oats, then you must be sure that the corn is very high quality and uncontaminated with "screenings", the fine particles of broken kernel ends and starchy residue that is most prone to the mold contamination. If you have any doubts about the quality of the corn, then mixing it with a grain less prone to mold contamination would be a reasonable precaution.







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