February 19th, 2014 Membership Meeting

President Brent Wilson called to order the February 19 meeting at the Red Mile, recognizing past Farm Manager(s) of the Year in attendance, Mike Owens, and current Farm Manager of the year, Alfred Nuckols.

Announcements:

  • Treasurer’s Summary:  In 2013, the KTFMC donated $67,000 to various equine charities (full list in the 2014 Directory).  The club currently has about $400 in the savings account, $20,000 in the checking account, and $17,200 in outstanding dues for 2014.  The directory advertising invoices have gone out to participating businesses.
  • The colostrum banks are in desperate need of donations.  Please milk your mares and donate!

Brent introduced the 2014 Spring KEMI class as well as the 2014 Darley Flying Start and Darley Internship students.

He then introduced Dr. Lew from McCauley Brothers Feed Company.  Dr. Lew spoke to the club about seasonal nutrition needs for breeding farms.

Challenges for farms this time of year include the following:

-colicky mares

-orphan foals

-equine proliferative enteropathy

-wood chewing

-insulin resistance

-compensatory growth

Colicky Mares

In order to prevent this issue, Dr. Lew stressed the importance of keeping the gut full, keeping the gut moving at a normal rate, and modulating any changes to the diet.  To do these things, he recommended providing good quality hay at all times, ensuring normal water consumption (monitor temperature, watch for electric shock in heated tanks/waterers), normal salt consumption, and avoiding overfeeding your mares.  The average broodmare should be fed .5% of their body weight in normal conditions, and 1% in moderate winter conditions and even more (spread over multiple feedings) in severe conditions.

Orphan Foals

For foals orphaned at less than a month old, Dr. Lew suggested using a milk replacer (goats’ milk, powder, etc) or placing the foal on a nurse mare.  Foals older than three months can eat a feed balanced for weanlings.  However, foals orphaned in between those ages should be fed a mix of milk replacer and a mix of weanling or specialized feed.

Lawsonia(Equine Proliferative Eteropathy)

Lawsonia mainly affects weanling foals and is caused by the intracellular organism lawsoniaintracellularis.  The lining of the small intestine is damaged, particularly the ileum, which is a major site of protein digestion.  Cells that line the ileum start to slough off, resulting in a horse that is lethargic and loses weight/body condition rapidly. For horses affected by Lawsonia, a feed with a high level of top quality protein(18%) is a must in order to help these foals catch up to normal foals.  Butyrate will also help in the recovery of the enterocytes, helping with protein absorption.  Feeding a weanling affected with lawsonia is much like feeding a 2 month old orphan foal.  Dr. Lew then stressed the importance of making sure the high protein feed is balanced with the appropriate amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Wood Chewing

With the first flush of grass in spring, these new blades are low in fiber content.  This may induce some horses to start chewing on the fence boards in an attempt to consume fiber.  Providing palatable hay and feeding a fibrous feed (would include beet pulp, wheat bran, and/or soybean hulls).

Insulin Resistance

This issue is more prevalent in equine nutrition news today due to either a higher prevalence or better diagnoses.   Insulin resistance is a result of impaired influx of glucose into cells.  With the insulin receptors damaged, glucose levels rise in the blood, and the liver and muscles are deprived of glycogen.  This results in unbalanced leanness and fat deposits throughout the body.  Dr. Lew provided several possible solutions, including avoiding sugars and starches in the feed or providing calories via digestible fibers like beet pulp.  The lush pastures in spring time are a big culprit of this problem, as new grass contains twice the sugar content as hay.  Using a muzzle or turning susceptible horses out in a dry lot can help farms combat the green grass.  Insulin resistance tends to be more prevalent in older horses.

Compensatory Growth

The growth of a foal to an adult should follow a continuous curve.  Problems arise when this process is stunted and then a horse starts to “catch up”.  Sudden changes in body weight are tough on a young horse’s skeleton.  Physitis is the cartilage response to the stress of increased body weight in the growing horse.  It is important for breeding farms to keep the growth of young horses as steady as possible, which can be especially tough in the winter time.  When physistis is caught early, we can try and slow the growth process by feeding less and reducing access to lush grass.  Weighing horses monthly is a great tool to quantify and monitor the growth of young horses.

Dr. Lew concluded his talk and the KTFMC will donate a $100 honorarium to Central Kentucky Riding for Hope.

Brent Wilson adjourned the meeting.

Submitted Respectfully,
Kristen Goncharoff
KTFMC Secretary