I'm wondering if you could explain the nutritional differences between feeding whole oats and crushed oats. I am currently feeding crushed oats and sweet feed to my two-month-old colt and two mares (nine & four), but am wondering if the whole oats might be more nutritional for them. Which is easier for very young or old horses to chew and digest?
There's more oat and less husk in clipped oats (the ends have been cut off) than in whole oats. Crushed oats are easier for young and old horses to chew and digest, but again, if you're dealing with very old horses (which you aren't - but in another ten years, you will be) or very young horses (which you are), it's best to use a feed that's designed to meet all of their specific nutritional needs. Your vet can help you identify an appropriate product.
The quality of oats can vary widely - as much as the quality of hay - so if you're feeding whole grains, it's important to monitor their quality. Look for heavy, clean, plump oats that smell good and are not dusty - and stay away from lightweight, dusty and/or musty oats.
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