Pelleted vs. Extruded Feeds: Digestibility and Metabolic Response in Horses

Over time, horse feeds manufactured to meet equine energy and nutrient needs have evolved from mixes of whole grains to textured, pelleted, and extruded types. But does that change how feeds affect horses?
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Pelleted vs. Extruded Feeds: Digestibility and Metabolic Responses in Horses
While identical feeds processed using extrusion or pelleting had no differences in digestibility, a 'better understanding of how horses respond metabolically to meal feeding can help us design diets for horses with special dietary needs,' Ely concluded. | Photo: Courtesy Kristine Ely

Over time, horse feeds manufactured to meet equine energy and nutrient needs have evolved from mixes of whole grains to textured, pelleted, and extruded types. The extrusion process is designed to improve digestibility; however, research into whether it does has mainly been conducted in other species.

So Kristine Ely, a graduate student at the Virginia Tech Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center, in Middleburg, Virginia, looked at feed processing method’s effect on digestibility and metabolic response in horses. She presented her findings at the 2019 Equine Science Society symposium, held June 3-6 in Asheville, North Carolina

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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