Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reader Question - Carrots or Apples?

I received a reader question, from Shirley, asking which was better for Horses,..carrots or apples?

Actually, both carrots and apples are good feed supplements. Carrots are a little bit higher in energy, producing around 1.7 Mcal of Digestive Energy (per pound) compared to 1.3 Mcal for Apples (per pound), according to Lon Lewis' "Equine Clinical Nutrition - Feeding and Care".

I feed both as supplements from time to time and neither are a mainstay of my feeding routine. Carrots, around 10% protein are twice as high as Apples, and have a higher percentage of calcium and phosphorus at .4% and .35% respectively, compared to Apples at .1% and .15% respectively. Again according to Lon Lewis' "Equine Clinical Nutrition - Feeding and Care".

So all in all, Carrots provide more nutrition for Horses than Apples. I reckon you could substitute one pound of carrots for one pound of hay every day but this is hard to keep up with. Carrots, are cheaper than Apples in most places, and are at least 4 times more expensive per pound than Alfalfa.

I am much more likely to feed Apples as a supplement in the hot months, than Carrots, as the Apples contain more moisture. Sometimes when I'm riding all day on a hot day, I put a couple of Apples in my Saddle Bags so I can give something to my Horse that has some moisture.

I also feed watermelon and watermelon rinds on occasion. I think most of my Horses prefer Watermelon over Carrots and Apples, and in fact, my Mustang won't eat Apples at all. Hope this answered your question, Shirley. Safe Journey.

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