Equine Diet and Fat


Fat is an energy powerhouse in the equine diet that packs twice the caloric punch of carbohydrates or protein and is the body’s most abundant energy source. Horses can consume and use fat from the diet, or they can store fat in their bodies for later use.

What is fat?

Fat belongs to a broad group of compounds called lipids, which are either glycerol-based (phospholipids and triglycerides) or non-glycerol based (cholesterol or sterols). Dietary fats are usually triglycerides, meaning they contain three long-chain fatty acids and one glycerol group.

Volatile fatty acids are short-chain fatty acids derived from triglycerides that the horse’s body can use for energy. They’re either liberated from dietary fat or are a byproduct of microbial fermentation in the hindgut.

Why is fat important in the horse’s diet?

Fat is required for the horse’s body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and dietary fat supplies the horse with essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and -6, which the horse’s body can’t produce. Fat also helps horses gain weight and is slow to digest, making the release of energy steadier over time.

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Sustainable soil and integrated beef systems

cows grazing herefords UNL_0Forward thinking is important in beef production.

The focus in beef production is how to raise the best, most marketable, most tender, best-tasting beef and, in some cases, simply another beef cow or bull. At the end of the day, the word “production” needs to be replaced with the word “business.”

Good business concepts help with the dollars, but production methods still seem to take up a lot of the discussion. Among producers, beeves are being discussed and the outcome will be the best final product.

That is, until producers step from their pastures into the bigger picture. For some, beef production is fine in its present form with no need for alternative production models. Yet many producers are seeking production models that will stand the test of time.

Sustainability, to support, to withstand or to bear the forces applied, is critical within the developing models of beef production. Defining sustainability, however, seems to cycle in a pattern similar to the beef cattle cycle. Producers have work to be done, data to be collected and knowledge to grow when the beef industry speaks of sustainability.

Where is beef going to go? Perhaps a look at agriculture in general would be good.

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A Healthier Way to Feed Your Cat


Interesting concept and idea

If you have a house cat, you probably end up dealing with cat vomit on a regular basis, says Dr. Liz Bales, a Philadelphia veterinarian and the owner of a one-eyed hairless cat named Carlos. But, she maintains, it doesn’t need to be that way.

One culprit is what is known as scarf-and-barf syndrome, in which the cat overindulges at mealtimes to a calamitous degree. Other common cat behaviors she has observed are the relentless stalking of food bowls in hopes of a refill, the nocturnal demands for food while owners are trying to sleep and a contentious relationship with the litter box that results in a hit-or-miss pattern of use.

As Dr. Bales views it, an underlying issue behind all of these problems is that living indoors suppresses cats’ natural hunting instincts. This dynamic has increasingly come to light at the professional conferences she has attended in her 16 years as a veterinarian. She has also discussed it with animal behaviorists and animal nutritionists.

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Cattle Farms – Your July To-Do List

July can be a good month to review matters on a beef farm and make some decisions for the year ahead. For spring calving herds with a stock bull the bull should be removed in order to bring the breeding season to an end. This will help to prevent a long calving spread and maintain a compact calving season next year. Cows should be scanned and that not in calf should be sold.

Spring born bulls should be castrated if necessary using veterinary assistance if required. Now is the time to introduce forward grazing of weanlings in order to give them the highest quality grass available on the farm. Weanlings should also be dosed for stomach worms and hoose at this time of year. Dry cows that calved in the autumn should be monitored and treated for summer mastitis.

On the grassland front priority should be given to maintaining good quality swards. Swards should be well grazed out to around 4 cm with an 18-21 day rotation, ideally with each paddock being grazed for 3 days. If grass is getting ahead of the stock any surplus grass can be removed by making silage bales. These leafy type swards make good quality silage if made in good conditions.

This time of year can provide a good opportunity to reseed fields that are performing poorly as pressure for grass is decreasing as more paddocks come into the grazing system following silage harvesting. It is worthwhile to reassess the demand for silage next winter – the rule of thumb is that a spring calving suckler cow will require 8 bales per winter housing period though this may need to be increased considering the long wet winters occurring in recent years. read more…

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Gastric Ulcers in Horses

I great article in Causes, Prevention and Treatment.

horseGastric ulcers in horses are far more common than many people realize. The condition is very often found in horses kept in stalls, frequently trailered, or undergoing intensive training. The associated anxiety, in addition to artificial and controlled feeding routines alien to a horse’s natural grazing patterns, may put the animal under varying levels of stress. ….

Researchers have found that exercise increases gastric acid production and decreases blood flow to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. During exercise, the fluid in the lower segment of the stomach, where gastric acid is secreted, splashes and exposes the more vulnerable upper segment of the stomach to an acidic pH.

With an increase in exercise, training, and a demanding competition schedule, riders may sometimes change feeding routines, perhaps switching to more fasting and offering less roughage. That can put a horse on a path to developing an ulcer. In addition, the stress of trailering, competing, and adjusting to strange surroundings can add to the risk of ulcer development.

But to better understand gastric ulcers it is first necessary to understand the workings of the horse’s stomach. read more…

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Way too cool …cat skateboarding

Boomer is a Bengal cat who lives in Australia with an owner who is apparently pretty good with a GoPro. He has time for a lot of things, like skimboarding, relaxing by the ocean with his best friend, Didga, and enjoying his local swing set. One thing he doesn’t have time for is random dogs, and therefore he skateboards right past them without a glance.

This isn’t to say that Boomer never has time for dogs. He likes them fine when they’re serving as necessary props for his gymnastics routines. read more…

does your cat’s sleep position saying something?

Splash position – most relaxed a kitty can ever be.

> The Splash. Flat out on its back, all four paws in the air, this is the most relaxed a kitty can ever be. It signals pure contentment.

In this position, our pets are exposing a vulnerable tummy and throat without a care in the world. Clearly, they aren’t concerned about anything more dangerous than a casual stroke of the belly fur.

We see this after a particularly good lunch, like the boiled liver presented on Caturdays. We also saw it two days ago when Guido quietly hit me up for treats and then sneakily got second rations from the other human – after he’d been out for breakfast across the street!

> The Donut. All paws are pooled into a neat stack and the nose is perched on top, turning your pet into a donut shape.

This is one of Guido’s favourite positions, especially when he’s picked a corner in the big armchair or a box to snooze in.

What’s interesting is the way he places his head. When he’s indoors, his face is usually turned up (reverse donut) so that his neck fur is available for finger rubs. But when he’s outdoors, he looks out (classic donut), back against the wall, which makes it a secure position.

> The Face-palm. The body is comfortably supported by a cushion and the face is flat in the material. In addition, the paws come up, providing more shielding.

This prone position is something I’ve never seen among the kitchen cats or any feral kitty. In fact, it’s pretty rare among the house cats I’ve lived with or pet-sat for.

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