How Long Can I Store Horse Feed?

Your feed store is having a big sale, but here are some tips before you stock up.

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How Long Can I Store Horse Feed?
Store grain in secure containers and avoid leaving bags open or unsealed to prevent vermin from coming in contact with horses' feed. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

Q: My local feed store is having a major sale on the brand of feed I use, and I’d like to stock up. But how long can I store bagged feed? —Laura, via e-mail

A: The cost of feeding horses is often one of the largest expenses associated with horse ownership, so a sale is always appreciated and tempting! You’re right, though, to be cautious, because sack feed does not last forever and the nutrient content deteriorates over time. This is particularly true of vitamins and fat, both of which are sensitive to heat and oxidation.

How long stored feed will last depends on the type of feed that you buy. For example, whole oats could last a year or more versus a high-fat textured feed that might start to deteriorate in a month. Most feed companies recommend using all feed within three months of production, with textured feeds deteriorating more quickly than pellets. Production dates are often stamped on the bag seam and might appear as easily understandable dates or more unique date codes. For example 1002017 would be the 100th day of 2017, or April 10

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Written by:

Clair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Clarity Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. She works as a consultant with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses and provides services to select companies. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club.

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