In this article we look at the lessons learned from Dennis Kirkpatrick’s experiment and discuss the nutritional differences between beef and equine feed. Then we explore the dangers of feeding cattle feed to horses and discuss the importance of grazing time. Next, we look at the different rations used by horses and cows and how these rations compare. Finally, we look at the differences in grazing time between the two breeds.
Lessons learned from Dennis Kirkpatrick’s experiment
Dennis Kirkpatrick has been working with draft horses and cows his entire life. He has a team of draft horses that he trains, and his wife rides a barrel-racing horse. Mykal leads another horse. The two also raise saddle horses. The horses remain steady and calm despite the harsh conditions. “The horses are incredibly conscientious workers,” Kirkpatrick says.
Nutritional differences between beef and equine rations
Beef and dairy cows have distinct dietary needs. There are four periods during which beef cattle have the highest demand for nutrients. During period 1, dairy cows are at their maximum milk production, recovering from parturition and are expected to breed. During period 2, dairy cows are primarily forage animals and their needs are lower. For the dairy cow, the difference in nutritional needs is less pronounced.
Dangers of feeding cattle feed to horses
There are many potential dangers of feeding cattle feed to horses, including ionophores, a chemical compound found in some livestock diets. These compounds are used to alter the fermentation process of the rumen, causing a shift in VFA ratios and reducing acetic acid. Because of these chemicals’ toxic effects on horses, many feed mills do not produce feeds containing these compounds.
Grazing time for cows and horses may be mutually beneficial for both animals and for the environment. Cattle can eat forages that horses cannot and vice versa. They also graze at different levels. However, they are not as close to each other as horses. In addition, multi-species grazing can increase your income per acre. This method also requires more management and facilities than grazing horses only.
Nutritional value of hay
The nutritional value of hay for cows and horses is determined by several factors, including the crude protein and fiber content of the hay. Crude protein is a measure of the amount of protein in a feed, and ranges from six to eight percent for native grass hay to 20 percent or more for legume hay. Another important factor is NDF, or Neutral Detergent Fiber. The higher the NDF, the less digestible the hay is for the cow or horse.
Trace minerals in equine rations
Trace minerals may be needed by horses for a variety of reasons. A diet lacking in certain minerals can result in an animal that doesn’t drink enough water or eat as much as it should. In addition, a lack of salt may result in a horse that licks sweaty tack. Ultimately, this can lead to dehydration. So, it’s important to provide sufficient amounts of salt in a horse’s diet.
Predation by horses on cattle
Equine studies are essential for understanding the behaviour of predatory species. We have previously demonstrated that horses can detect cows grazing by vocalisation alone, a sign that may indicate the presence of a predator. We now apply this same principle to assess the behaviour of equines while feeding cows. In this study, we used a field trial where horses were let out in familiar square grassy paddocks for 0.5 hours. Video-recordings were taken every minute for each trial. During the pre-playback phase, we simulated predator vocalisation for 5 min, while the subsequent five-minute period was recorded as a post-playback phase.