Explaining Extruded Feed

Have you seen the term “extruded” on a feed tag lately, and wondered what that was all about? Let’s break it down. Extruded horse feed undergoes a specialized processing method known as extrusion. This involves subjecting the feed ingredients to high temperature and pressure, followed by rapid depressurization. This process causes the feed to expand and form a nugget-like shape. Extrusion is a very advanced form of processing that offers a safe way for horses to get the nutritional and digestive benefits they need.

The key distinction of extruded feed lies in its altered starch structure, making the nutrients more readily digestible for horses. As a result, horses with dental issues or compromised digestive systems can benefit from extruded feed, as it eases the burden of chewing and facilitates enhanced nutrient absorption.

Extruded feeds are great for seniors or horses with digestion and metabolic concerns. pimmimemom/adobe.stock.com

Benefits of Extruded Feed

You might notice that the nuggets of extruded feed are larger than pellets of other feeds. This is beneficial for horses that need to slow down while eating. The larger pieces require them to chew thoroughly. The extrusion process encourages horses to consume their feed more slowly, promoting thorough chewing and increased saliva production. This also aids in buffering stomach acidity and reducing the risk of choke.

The extrusion process helps break down, or “pre-digest” the starch which can help horses digest this feed more effectively and efficiently. This process also makes other nutrients more easily absorbed by horses, making this feed a good choice for hard keepers or seniors.

You might find that you need to feed less of an extruded feed due to it’s uniformity of ingredients and rapid absorption of nutrients. However, since the nuggets are light and airy (and easy to chew), be sure that you are feeding by weight and not volume. It would be easy to underfeed an extruded feed without following the weight guidelines from the manufacturer.

Good For Seniors

Senior horses aren’t the only ones that can benefit from extruded feed. However, this is a good option for those golden oldies. Seniors with poor dental health might be able to chew this feed easier, due to the light and airy nature of the nugget. The porous texture will rapidly break down in the mouth when mixed with saliva, and be easier to chew.

When aging, digestion efficiency can decrease and seniors can often lose weight when they become unable to digest nutrients properly. These feeds are designed to break down rapidly and be easily digestible, even “pre-digesting” starches to ensure that digestion happens in the foregut. An extruded feed can be a great choice for owners that are concerned about their horse’s ability to properly digest nutrients. Additionally, the enhanced digestibility of nutrients in extruded feed can be advantageous for horses with specific dietary requirements or those prone to metabolic issues

If your senior has a bad habit of eating his food as fast as possible, or choking, take a look at extruded feeds. The larger nugget requires the horse to slow down when eating, but breaks apart quickly in the mouth and is easily chewed. On the flip side, if you have an easy keeper that puts weight on quickly, extruded feeds can allow him to have the satisfaction of chewing and eating slowly, without overfeeding.

[How to Know When to Switch to Senior Feed]

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