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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

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 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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wheat bran

What are the adverse effects of feeding wheat bran to warmblood sport horses?

What are the adverse effects of leaving a wheat bran mash combined with mixed grains in 85 - 95 degree temperatures for several hours before feeding to horses on a daily basis?

Thanks for your help, Anne

Where are you from? california

Re: wheat bran

Hi Anne,

Wheat bran is an excellent source of phosphorus. However, that can be a real problem if it is not balanced with calcium. Typically, if a horse is eating an alfalfa-based diet, he/she can handle the extra phosphorus in wheat bran, since alfalfa is very high in calcium. But it’s important to keep in mind that wheat bran contains more than 10 times as much phosphorus as calcium. Therefore, if you feed wheat bran every day, you need to correct any potential mineral imbalance. And, the high phytic acid level in wheat bran can cause secondary deficiencies of copper, zince and manganese, by binding these minerals and making them unabsorbable.

So, the bottom line is, if minerals are out of balance due to the high phosphorus content in wheat bran, your horse can lose stamina and suffer from poor hoof quality. This is certainly a problem for a sport horse (as it would be for any horse, for that matter).

If you want to feed wheat bran, do so in moderation, and evaluate your overall mineral consumption from all feed sources to make certain that they are in balance. It’s important to introduce it gradually, and not offer a once-in-a-while bran mash, because that can significantly upset the horse’s natural bacterial flora.

About the preparation, I would recommend that you limit the amount of time that you leave a wet mixture of food in warm weather, to no more than 1 ½ hours. The bacterial growth is a concern and could potentially upset your horse’s natural intestinal bacteria, leading to the potential for colic and/ or founder.

I hope this is helpful. Thank you for writing.

All the best,
Dr. Getty