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Optimum Basic Feed

The need for basic feed

Plant-based structural substances (raw fiber), the main component of basic or roughage feed, are known as the "engine of digestion" because they are indispensable for the digestive processes of horses.
Providing roughage or basic feed promotes dental abrasion as well as slower feeding and increased chewing. The resulting boost in salivation has positive effects on all digestive processes. As herbivores, horses also depend on basic roughage feed to cover their energy requirements.
Plant-based structural substances contained in such feed are digested in the horse´s large intestine with the aid of  microorganisms. The volatile fatty acids that result are a source of energy.
If the horse does not have enough basic feed, the microorganisms in the large intestine do not receive sufficient nutrients. The resulting intestinal problems have a detrimental impact on the entire organism of the horse.

The required amount of basic feed

In order to ensure that a horse receives sufficient basic feed, the amount is calculated on the basis of body weight. A minimum amout of about 1 to 1.5 kg per 100 kg of the horse´s ideal weight is a common measure. This means that a large horse weighting about 600 kg would need approximately 6 to 9 kg of hay or PRE ALPIN per day.
If the horse is fed silage, the amount required per day is even greater because silage contains more water than hay or PRE ALPIN.

Good grazing grasses and the method of preservation are key

The quality of basic feed depends to a large extent on the starting products used. The nutritional and structural value of basic feed is influenced by the availability of well-maintained, correctly fertilized grasslands and the choice of the right time for cutting. Of course, local conditions such as the type of earth and climate also influence the way the plants grow. The goal of cultivation should always be to achieve a diverse composition of many species of valuable grazing herbs and grasses. The spread of poisonous plants can be prevented through careful maintenance - regular checks of the fields provide additional security.
At our latitudes, fresh green fodder is not always available, and many horses are kept in the stable year-round. This is why it is necessary to preserve green fooder.
Green fodder naturally starts decomposing from the moment it is harvested. The goal of preserveration is to deactivate decomposing enzymes contained in the plant and to prevent microbial decomposition. The feed value of preserved basic feed depends on the feed value of the starting product and - significantly - on the manner of preservation. Here, the ingredients may change to a greater or lesser degree. The loss of energy and nutritional value is especially high in the case of floor-dried hay, reaching up to 25 - 50 percent ot the original dry matter depending on the duration of drying. Generating silage leads to some what lower energy and nutritional losses when good manufacturing processes are used.
Losses are minimal in the case of drying by warm air; they vary between 3 - 5 percent of the origninal dry matter.

Critical substances in basic feed

The qualitative composition of basic feed has a direct impact on your horse´s health. If the basic feed bears a high load of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi as well as their toxins, digestive and metabolic troubles may result. In addition, particles emitted  into the air from the roughage feed may cause allergies and damage the breathing organs.
Above all, it is mistakes in the preserving process and subsequent storage that have a significant influence on the hygienic status of basic feed. Hay is fit for storage from about 14 percent residual moisture content. The dry matter content of hay should therefore be at least 86 percent after the fermentation phase has been completed becauce only then can germ dormacy be ensured. If the hay is to be given as fodder earlier, i.e. during the fermentation phase, then the horse will be subjected to a greater load of bacteria, mites and mildew. This can easily lead to digestive problems, colic  and respiratory tract illnesses. In the case of mares in foal, mildew can also cause miscarriages. Incompletely dried or badly stored hay is most likely to spoil or to develop strong mildew, especially with aspergilla and penicillin. In general, one may assume that hay  cut at late stage and with a longer growth duration is subject to higher germ loads, especially regarding mildew and yeasts. Rain during the harvest and the corresponding greater amount of time needed for drying increases the occurrence of bacteria and yeasts further.

During the production and storage of silage, many mistakes can be made that lead to a significant worsening of feed quality. Ensuring optimum silage quality is of essential importance for feeding because horses - in contrast to other ruminants - are not able to metabolize certain toxins.

Consequently, giving them low-quality silage (that contains butyric acid or is putrid, moldy, heavily contaminated or frozen) can lead to severe digestive problems and metabolic illnesses. Research has shown that the dry mass content of the green fodder to be ensilaged has the greatest influence on the quality of fermentation. When producing haylage from last-harvested, bulky material,  sufficient preservation is more difficult to achieve. Owing to the lower water content, a sufficient pH drop cannot occur and it is difficult to achieve the required degree of compression. Misfermentation may easily occur. In other words, the perfect moment of harvest has to obey not just the dictates of the required nutritional and energy content, but also has to take into account sufficient compression and hermetic sealing and therefore an optimum ensilaging process.

One also has to take care not to include any vegetable matter contaminated with soil or cadavers, or both, into the silage. Otherwise, there may be a strong multiplication of the clostridium botulinum bacterium, leading to an outbreak of botulism in the horse herd. Exercising the greatest care when making silage is therefore essential for achieving a sufficiently good quality.

Independent of the sensorial quality of the silage fed to horses, there are reports from time to time about an increased production of fecal water up to diarrhea. This condition, which bears similarities to an allergic reaction, improves when good hay, PRE ALPIN or grass are fed, and becomes worse when silage is given again. This is sometimes explained as resulting from the increased presence of histamine in silage and the sensitivity of some horses to it. There are also reports about laxative effects of silage.

The process by which the green fodder is artificially dried to a low water content of below 12 percent using warm air ensures - in contrast to conventional hay production - that mildew cannot develop. The further processing to cobs or briquettes and the resulting reduction of surface area also leads to a certain boost to the hygiene of the product.


AGROBS feed consultation

Please fill in the form as completely as possible.


Information about the horse

Horse breed: ________

Age: __________

Gender: ___mare, ____gelding, _____stallion

Additional details for broodmares:

Pregnant in _________ monthLactating in ________ month
Height______ cmWeight______ kg (__weighed, __valued)

Current state: ___ correct ___too thin ___too fat


___easy work  ___mean work ___ hard work

Please describe the work of your horse:

 housing conditions:

___open stable

___horse box

___other: _________________________






Access to pasture:


___hours in summer

___hours in winter



 Feeding of horse


___hay ___kg/day

Quality of hay:

___green ___brownish

___soft structure ___medium structure ___hard structure

___aromatic smell ___bad smell ___dusty hay

Quantity of roughage:

___haylage ____ kg/day

___silage ____ kg/day

___straw ____ kg/day

___grass ____ hours/pasture/day


___ little ___moderate ___rich

___mostly young grass ___mostly lignified grass ___grazed meadow

Concentrated feed

___oats ___kg/day ___whole grain ___squashed ___oatmeal

___barley ___kg/day ___whole grain ___squashed ___milled ___flakes

___maize ___ kg/day ___ whole grain ___milled ___flakes

___premixed horse muesli; ___kg/day which muesli___________

___pellets ___kg/day; which pellets______________

___mash ___kg/day; which mash______________

___mineral feed ___kg/day; which mineral feed_______________

Other feedingstuffs:



Salt-lick-stone always available: ___yes ___no

Loose salt is supplemented ___ g/day

The horse gets ___ portions hay/day and ___ portions concentrated feed/day

What´s fed first? ___concentrated feed ___ roughage

Is the horse regularly dewormed? ___yes ___no

Last anthelmintic therapy?


 appearance of the horse

Please describe the appearance of the horse and any health problems as detailed as possible (coat, skin, hoofs, musculature, tensions, faeces, character (nervous, calm), teeth, etc.)



Animal health

(Mark with a cross where applicable)

___ Allergy

___ Cushing syndrome

___ increased susceptibility for infections

___ Skin diseases

___ Pulmonary disease

___ Liver disease

___ Predisposition to colic

___ Diarrhea

___ Fecal water

___ Flatulence

___ Laminitis

___ Arthrosis

___ PSSM

___ Scurf

___ Allergic summer eczema

___ Kidney problems

___ Heart problems

___ Tendon injuries

___ Equine metabolic syndrom

___ Susceptibility to lumbago

Further comments / questions:


 General data:

Customer number:




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