Poor doers

Posted in Feeding

Does your fave pony struggle to maintain his weight no matter how much you feed him? Here’s how you can help him out...

Feeding a poor doer

1. Get his teeth checked

Ponies need their teeth checking every six to 12 months by a vet or qualified equine dental technician. If your pony’s older or has any problems with his teeth he’ll struggle to eat and might not get enough food. 

2. Choose a conditioning feed

The back of your feed bag will tell you what nutrients are inside – look for a feed with a high level of digestible energy (around 12.5MJ/kg or more). Feeds high in fat (look for ingredients such as oil and linseed) are good, too, because they contain lots of calories without making your fave pony fizzy.

3. Ask for advice

A qualified nutritionist can help you work out a diet plan. There’s loads to think about and they’ll have all the latest info on helping poor-doers!

4. Check for worms

Put simply, worms live inside your pony, damaging his digestive system and stealing his food! Doing regular worm egg counts and worming when you need to will help keep on top of them.

5. Make sure the right amount is going in

An underweight pony needs to consume 2.5% of his bodyweight each day. So if he weighs 400kg, that’s 10kg of food a day – this includes grass, hay and bucket feed. Around three-quarters of this should come from forage such as grass or hay.

6. Check your portion sizes

Although it might be tempting to give your fave pony a big dinner, you could be feeding him too much for him to digest at once! If you can, split his feeds into a few meals over the day, keeping them under 1.3kg.

7. Keep him warm

If your pony gets cold, he’ll use a lot of valuable energy trying to warm up. Help him save energy by making sure he’s got access to a shelter and rugging him if it’s chilly. Fibre is like a central-heating system for him, so make sure he gets plenty of it, too.

8. Make sure he always has access to good quality forage
Ponies have evolved to be eating almost constantly! If there’s not much good grass in your pony’s field, think about putting out hay for him to munch on.

9. Help him de-stress

If your fave pony’s stressed, it can cause him to lose weight, especially if he’s spending a lot more time moving around because of it. Make his home a relaxing place and help him save energy.

10. Monitor his weight

If you spot your pony’s weightloss quickly, it’s much easier to get it back on. Use a weightape once a week to monitor any changes.

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