Horses have evolved to eat a diet high in fibre and in the wild they would spend many hours of the day grazing which is why they are know as ‘trickle feeders’. Within the horse’s hindgut there a millions of micro-organisms which break down the digestible fibre, and release energy which the horse can then use. If the delicate balance of these micro organisms is upset, either from not feeding enough fibre or feeding too much concentrate, it can result in health and performance problems in the horse. Fibre from forage should make up 80% of the horse’s overall diet.
Chaff is dried and chopped forage. There are many different types of chaff available such as chopped straw, grass, alfalfa, hay, or a combination of these. Chaff helps to provide the important fibre requirement in a horse’s diet, alongside hay or haylage. Chaff is commonly used to bulk out concentrate and to reduce bolting of feeds. Chaff also helps to satisfy the horses need to trickle feed and encourages longer chewing time. This in turn increases saliva production, and the alkaline saliva together with the presence of fibre in the stomach helps to buffer and neutralise stomach acid.
Predominantly, horses and ponies with laminitis or cushings require a low calorie, low sugar and starch diet. We have a number of products within our range which are specifically suited to those with laminitis or cushings. These are Mollichaff Hoofkind, Mollichaff Donkey and Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil.
Horses and ponies with ulcers should ideally be kept as natural as possible. This includes maximum time spent grazing, and ad-lib access to forage if and when stabled. Any bucket feed should be high in fibre and as low in starch as possible to help buffer the stomach acid. Alfalfa is a great natural acidity buffer so any feed that contains alfalfa is ideal. The most suitable products within our range are Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil, Mollichaff Hoofkind, Mollichaff Calmer and Mollichaff Donkey (add links). The latter 3 are complete fibre feeds containing broad spectrum vitamins and minerals so when fed at the correct levels no addition of concentrate feed is required.
Donkeys, like horses, have evolved to eat a high fibre diet. In the wild they would likely only have access to arid scrub land where they would browse fibrous plant material in small amounts throughout the day. They are very efficient at getting the most out of what they eat so anything other than fibre often provides too many calories causing them to quickly put on weight. Fibre is also important for Donkeys to maintain a healthy gut function.