Weigh it, Don’t just scoop it . . . by Dr. Getty
Scoops Measure Volume, Not Weight
The directions on most feed bags offer guidelines in terms of the number of pounds (or kg) you should feed. If you use a scoop to measure your horse’s feed, how many pounds are you actually feeding? Are you assuming that a 2-quart scoop, for example, offers 2 pounds (0.9 kg) of feed? This can be a dangerous assumption.
Scoops provide volume ““ quarts or liters; they tell you nothing about weight. Even those scoops that offer weight measurements on the outside are estimates at best, because it depends on what you put in the scoop that determines the weight. One quart of marbles is going to weigh more than one quart of cotton balls. By the same analogy, one quart of oats is going to weigh more than one quart of shredded beet pulp.
Knowing how much you are feeding is important for several reasons. First, your horse can potentially become obese from too many calories. Second, the stomach is relatively small compared to the rest of the gastrointestinal tract; meal size should best be limited to no more than 4 lbs (1.8 kg) for an 1100 lb (500 kg) horse. And finally, following the manufacturer’s directions in the best way to ensure that your horse is getting all of the vitamins and minerals listed on the label; otherwise additional supplementation will be important.
A scale is a must-have piece of equipment for any barn. Weigh your feed and mark your scoop so you do not have to weigh it each time you feed. If you change feeds, be sure to weigh it; do not rely on the previous measurement.
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