We often talk with new clients about the best way to approach the introduction of new supplements.
There are a couple of reasons we recommend introducing anything new gradually;
To avoid rejection because of the taste or smell
To minimise gut upsets due to the rapid introduction of something new to the diet
Today, we are focusing on minimising rejection because of taste or smell with these six easy steps.
Ensure the carrier/hard feed is well liked and substantial enough in bulk to dilute any new unfamiliar smells/tastes. Bulking it up with extra lucern chaff in the beginning can help. Choose Low sugar/starch feeds for laminitic prone horses.
Add more palatable carriers in the beginning while the horse is getting used to the new supplement. Feeds like copra or a premix can help initially.
Make sure the feed bin is open and has low sides, often it's the smell of a new ingredient that will put a horse off, ensure there is good airflow to avoid concentrating the smell.
Start slowly. Any new feed or supplement should be introduced over several weeks. If you suspect your horse may be fussy then start with the smallest sprinkle.
Don't offer other feeds or hay until the hard feed is eaten, separate from other feeds to avoid the horse choosing the preferred more palatable option.
Use a taste tempter or cover up ingredient. Stevia powder (from the artificial sweetener section at the supermarket) is a good one as it is very sweet but also won't cause an insulin rise in susceptible horses, so its good for Laminitics. Apple cider vinegar has a strong smell and can hide other smells. Copra or premix feed could also help.
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