Equine Nutrition in Less-than-Ideal Conditions: Dealing with Disaster

As horse owners put together a disaster plan and cope with difficult situations, one of the first concerns should be minimizing changes in feed management.
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Plan your feed; feed your plan.

Horses thrive on routine, and nowhere is this more true than in feed management. After the ideal type and amount of grass, hay, and grain are determined for each individual horse, with attention to that animal’s age, body condition, use, and metabolism, it’s best to stick to that regimen to maintain health and avoid digestive upsets. Clean water should always be available.

Suppose, however, that unexpected events– floods, fire, winter storms–play havoc with horse management. As horse owners put together a disaster plan and cope with difficult situations, one of the first concerns should be minimizing changes in feed management.

Water, Water Everywhere

When hurricanes battered the Gulf Coast of the United States in late August of 2005, Kentucky Equine Research (KER) Team Member Quality Feeds in Covington, La., was right in the center of the disaster. From its location directly north of New Orleans, Quality Feeds was ideally situated to provide feed to horse owners whose supplies of hay and grain had been ruined or washed away. But there was a problem: electric power had been disrupted over a wide area, and the mill was unable to run for several weeks

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