C. F Langworthy.

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WeDster ranmy Liorary of Veterinary Medicine
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at
Tufts University
200 Westboro Road
North Grafton, MA 01536



I



TUFTS UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES




699 3 9090 013 414 061

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.



FARMERS' BULLETIN No. 170.



PRINCIPLES OF HORSE FEEDING



BY



C. F. LANGWORTHY, Ph. D.



i'BEPARED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE OFFICE OF EXPERIMENT STATIONS.
J^. C. TRUE, Director.




WASHINGTON:

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.

1903.



i*V <



.^



LETrER OE TRANSMITTAL



U. S. Department of Agriculture,

Office of Experiment Stations,

Washmgton, D. C, May 1, 1903.
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith an article on horse feed-
ing, prepared by C. F. Langworthy, of this Office, and recommend
that it be published as a Farmers' Bulletin. The bulletin discusses
the general principles of feeding, with especial reference to horses,
and summarizes the results of recent experimental work, particularly
that of American experiment stations, the material in its present form
being very largely an abridgment of a more technical publication by
the same author, issued as Bulletin No. 125 of the Office of Experi-
ment Stations, entitled "A Digest of Eecent Experiments on Horse
Feeding."

Respectfully, A. C. True,

Director.
Hon. James Wilson,

Secretary of Agriculture.

2
170



CONTENTS.

rage.

Introduction 5

Principles of nutrition 6

Composition of feeding stuffs 9

Comparative value of feeding stuffs 11

Cereal grains 11

Leguminous seeds 14

Oil cakes and other commercial by-products 14

Forage crops, fresh and cured 16

Roots and tubers 19

Molasses and other by-products of sugar making 20

Fruits, fresh and dried 21

Injurious feeding stuffs 21

Method of feeding 23

Cooked and raw feed 23

Dry and soaked feed 23

Ground and unground feed - 24

Cut and uncut coarse fodder 24

Fattening horses for market 25

Watering horses 25

Digestibility of feeding stuffs _ 27

Comparative digestibility by horses and ruminants 28

Rations actually fed and feeding standards 30

Method of calculating rations 36

Muscular work and its effect on food requirements 37

Measuring muscular work 37

Muscular work in its relation to the ration 38

Proportion of energy of food expended for internal and external muscular

work 40

Energy required to chew and digest food 40

' ' True nutritive value ' ' of feeding stuffs 41

Fixing rations on the basis of internal and external muscular work * 42

Summary 42

170

3



PRINCIPLES OF HORSE FEEDING.



INTRODUCTION.

The scientific study of different problems connected with the feeding
of farm animals has been followed for something over half a century.
Some of the very early work was with horses, but more generally it
was carried on with other domestic animals. Within the last few years
this phase of the problem has received much more attention, and feed-
ing tests, digestion experiments, and more complicated investigations
have accumulated in considerable numbers. The bulk of this work
has been carried on in France and German}^; a creditable amount,
however, has been done in this country, notabl}" by the agricultural
experiment stations, and the results of these experiments and obser-
vations have been published from time to time, and are very useful.
Mention must be made also of the work of practical feeders, which is
of great value.

In the present bulletin the attempt is made to bring together some
of the more important results and deductions which may be gathered
from the American and foreign experimental work, especially that of
recent years. It is not the purpose to provide practical feeders with
directions for feeding according to a particular formula; indeed this
is not necessar}', if it were possible, for practical feeders to a great
extent understand the needs of their horses and how to meet them.
The object is rather to summarize matter which seems interesting and
valuable, and whicli in many cases may give the reason for something
of which the wisdom has long been recognized in practice.

The problem of horse feeding is one which each feeder solves more
or less for himself, the opinion regarding what is and what is not sat-
isfactory feed varying more or less with the time and place. Opinions
may differ as to the value of this food or that, but it is evident that
the actual food requirements of a horse performing a given amount of
work can not vary as a result of a change of opinion on the feeder's
part. With horses, as with all animals, including man, the real prob-
lem is to suppl}^ sufficient nutritive material for building and repairing
the body and furnishing it with the energy necessary for performing
work, whether it be that which goes on inside the body (the beating
170 5



of the heart, respiratory movements, etc.), or the work which is per-
formed outside the body (hauling a load, etc.). The body temperature
must also be maintained at the expense of the fuel ingredients, but
whether material is burned in the body primarily for this purpose, or
whether the necessary heat is a resultant of the internal muscular work,
is not known with certainty.,

The problem of successfully feeding horses differs somewhat from
that encountered in feeding most domestic animals. Cattle, sheep,
and pigs are fed to induce gains in weight, i. e. , to fatten them, or in
the case of milch cows to produce gains in the form of a body secretion
(milk) rather than as fat in the body. In a similar way sheep are fed
for the production of wool, and poultry for the production of eggs.
Sometimes cattle are also fed as beasts of burden. Horses are fed
almost universally as beasts of burden, whether the work consists in
carrying a rider or drawing a load.

Mares with foal require food for the development of their young,
and after birth the colt needs it for the growth and development of
the body as well as for maintenance. Such demands for nutritive
material are common to all classes of animals. Sometimes horses are
fed to increase their weight; that is, to improve their condition. For
instance, animals are often fattened by horse dealers before they are
sold. However, generally speaking, the problem in horse feeding is
to supply sufficient nutritive material for the production of the work
required and at the same time to maintain the body weight. The
almost universal experience of practical horse feeders, and the results
of many carefully planned experiments, agree that there is no surer
test of the fitness of any given ration than that it enables the horse fed
to maintain a constant weight. If the animal loses weight it is evident
that the ration is insufficient, while if gains in weight are made and
the animal becomes fat it is evident that more feed is given than is
necessary. Provided the horse is in good condition, it is seldom desir-
able to induce any considerable gain in weight. Reference is not
made to the small daily fluctuations in weight, but to gains or losses
which extend over a considerable period. The most satisfactory ration
must necessarily bo made up of materials which are wholesome and are
relished by the horse. It should also be reasonable in cost. It must
be abundant enough to meet all body requirements, but not so abun
dant that the horse lays on an undesirable amount of flesh.

PRINCIPLES OF NUTRITION.

The foundation principles of nutrition are the same in the case of all
animals, including man. A brief discussion of the properties of food
and the general laws of nutrition follows.

The study of foods and feeding stuffs has shown tluit although they
differ so much in texture and appearance they are in reality made up

170



of a small number of chemical constituents, namely, protein, fat, car-
bohydrates, and ash, together with a larger or smaller amount of
water. The latter can be often seen, as in the juice of fresh plants.
In dry hay no water or juice is visible. A small amount is, however,
contained in minute particles in the plant tissues.

Protein is a name given to the total group of nitrogenous materials
present. The group is made up mainly of the true proteids and albu-
mens such as the gluten of wheat, and of nitrogenous materials such
as amids, which are believed to have a lower feeding value than the
albumens.

The group "fat" includes the true vegetable fats and oils, like the
oil in cotton seed or corn, as well as vegetable wax, some chlorophyl
(the green coloring matter in leaves, etc.), and other coloring matters;
in l)rief, all the materials which are extracted by ether in the usual
laboratory method of estimating fat. The name "ether extract" is
often and quite properly applied to this group.

The group "carbohydrates" includes starches, sugars, crude fiber,
cellulose, pentosans, and other bodies of a similar chemical structure.
This group is usually subdivided, according to the analytical methods
followed in estimating it, into "nitrogen-free extract" and "crude
fiber;" the former subdivision including principally sugar, starches,
and most of the pentosans, and the latter cellulose, lignin, and other
woody substances which very largel}^ make up the rigid structure of
plants.

The group "mineral matter" includes the inorganic bodies present
in the form of salts in the juices and tissue of the different feeding
stuffs, the principal chemical elements found being sodium, potassium,
calcium, chlorin, fluorin, phosphorus, and sulphur. The term "ash"
is often and very appropriately used for this group, since the mineral
matter represents the incombustible portion which remains when any
given feeding stuff is burned.

The functions of food are (1) to supply material to build and repair
the body, and (2) to yield energy. The chemical composition of a
feeding stuff serves as a basis for judging of its value for building and
repairing body tissue. Its value as a source of energy must, however,
be learned in another way. The most usual way of measuring energy
is in terms of heat, the calorie being taken as a unit. This is the
amount of heat which would raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of
water 1" C. , or 1 pound of water 4^ F. Instead of this the unit of
mechanical energj^, the foot-ton (the force which would lift 1 ton 1
foot), may be used, but it is not as convenient. One calorie corresponds
very nearly to 1.54 foot- tons.

The fuel value of any food is equal to its heat of combustion less
the energy of the excretory products derived from it, and ma}^ be
learned by taking into account the chemical composition of the food

170



8

or feeding stuff, the proportions of the nutrients actually digested and
oxidized in the bod}^, and the proportion of the whole latent energy of
each which becomes active and useful to the body for warmth and
work. However, the fuel value may be and often is calculated from
the composition of the food material supplied, on the assumption that
1 gram of protein furnishes 4.1 calories, 1 gram fat 9.3 calories, and 1
gram carbohydrates 4.1 calories, or 1 pound protein 1,860 calories, 1
pound fat 4,220 calories, and 1 pound carbohydrates 1,860 calories.

The relation between the quantities of nitrogenous and nitrogen-free
nutrients in the ration is called the nutritive or nutrient ratio. In cal-
culating this ratio 1 pound of fat is taken as equivalent to 2.25 pounds
of carboh3^drates — this being approximately the ratio of their fuel
values — so that the nutritive ratio is actually that of the protein to the
carbohydrates plus 2.25 times the fat.

All the organs and tissues of the body contain nitrogen. Protein is
the only nutrient which supplies this element, and is therefore essen-
tial for building and repairing body tissues. The other elements
required, namely, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, may be supplied
theoretically by protein, fat, or carbohydrates; but a well-balanced
diet or ration contains all the nutrients in proper proportion. Protein,
fat, and carbohydrates may be burned with the formation of carbon
dioxid and water, and therefore all may serve as sources of energ3^

The mineral matter in food is required for a number of different
purposes, a considerable amount being needed for the formation of
the skeleton. Some is also present in the organs and tissues. It can
not, however, be regarded as a source of energy, according to com-
monly accepted theories, since it can not be burned with the formation
of carbon dioxid and water. The water present in food is not a
nutrient in the sense that it serves for building tissue or yielding
energy, but it is essential, serving to carry the food in the digestive
processes, to dilute the blood, and for many other physiological pur-
poses. The oxygen of the air is required by all living animals for the
combustion, or oxidation, of the fuel constituents of food.

When foods are burned in the body, i. e., oxidized, they give up the
latent energy present in them. In determining the fuel value of pro-
tein, due allowance is made for the fact that combustion is not as com-
plete in the body as in a furnace.

The body is often likened to a machine, but it differs from one in a
number of important ways; for instance, it is itself built up of the
same materials which it utilizes as fuel, and further, if an excess of
fuel, i. e., food, is supplied, it may be stored as a reserve material for
future use, generally in the form of fat or glycogen, a sugar-like body.

The amount of work performed by a horse, for convenience in meas-
urement, may bo resolved into several factors, as follows: (1) The
energy expended in chewing, swallowing, and digesting food, keeping

170



9

up the beating of the heart, circulation of the blood, respiratory move-
ments, and other vital processes; (2) the energy which is expended in
moving the body, walking', trotting, etc., which is usually spoken of
as energy required for forward progression; and (3) the energy which
is expended in carrying a rider, as in the case of a saddle horse, or
drawing a load, as in the case of a draft animal or carriage horse.

The character of the road, whether level or up or down hill, is an
important factor in determining the amount of work. It is evident
that more energy is required to lift the body at each step and move it
forward when climbing an incline than when walking on a level. In
the same way, when a load is drawn uphill it must be raised as well as
drawn forward.

Work may be measured as foot-pounds or foot-tons, or by any other
convenient unit. A foot-j)ound is the amount of energy expended in
raising 1 pound 1 foot; a foot-ton, that expended in raising 1 ton 1
foot; a commonly used unit of force is the "ton power," equivalent
to 550 foot-pounds per second. Work may also be measured in terms
of heat, i, e., calories. This is especially convenient in discussing
problems of nutrition, since the heat of combustion is one of the factors
usually determined or calculated when foods are analyzed; and further-
more, the feeding standards which have been proposed for horses and
other farm animals show the requirements per day in terms of nutri-
ents and energy. One calorie corresponds, as stated above, very
nearly to 1.54 foot-tons.

COMPOSITION OF FEEDING STUFFS.

The feeding stuffs of most importance for horses are cereal grains,
such as oats and corn, either ground or unground; leguminous seeds,
as beans and peas; cakes, and other commercial by-products, as oil-
cake, gluten feed, and so on; fodder crops, green or cured; and differ-
ent roots, tubers, and green vegetables. In quite recent times cane
molasses, beet molasses, and other beet-sugar by-products have
assumed more or less importance in this connection. The composition
of a number of these different feeding stuffs ma}^ be seen by reference
to Table 1, which shows the average composition as determined by
anal3"sis, and when possible the digestible nutrients furnished by each
100 pounds of the feeding stuffs, the latter data having been calculated
])y the aid of figures obtained in digestion experiments with horses.
In a number of cases such calculations have not been made, for the
reason that experiments showing the digestibility of the feeding stuffs
have not been found, nor were results of experiments made with
similar feeding stuffs available. The comparatively large number of
feeding stuffs of which the digestibilit}^ has not been determined indi-
cates one of the lines of work which might be profitably followed.

170



10



Table 1. — Average composition of a number of feeding stuffs.



Percentage composition.



Digestible materials in
100 pounds.



Kind of food .
material.


Water.


Pro-
tein,


Fat.


Nitro-
gen-
free
ex-
tract.


Crude
fiber.


Asix.


Pro-
tein.


Fat.


Nitro-
gen-
free
ex-
tract.


Crude
fiber.


lbs. di-
gesti-
ble

nutri-
ents.


GREEK FODDEE.


Per ct.
79.3
66.2
76.1
73.0
76.6
62.2
77.3
73.0
69.9
61.6
65.1
70.8
74.8
71.8


Per ct,
1.8
2.1
.5
2.3
2.6
3.4
2.3
2.6
2.4
3.1
4.1
4.4
3.9
4.8
2.4
4.0

2.2

.8

4.2

2.7

4.5
6.0
2.5
1.9
3.8

4.8
9.3
7.4
6.0
7.9
8.1
5.9
7.8
7.5
7.0
7.5
7.4
11.6

10.1
12.3
12.8
15.7
14.3
16.6
3.4
3.0
4.0
5.2

2.1
1.1

10.3
10.5
10.5


Perct.

0.5

1.1

.5

.7

.6

1.4

.7

.9

.8

1.2

1.3

1.1

.9

1.0

.4

1.0

1.1

.3

1.2

1.5

1.6

1.4

.7

.5

1.1

1.6
2.5
2.7
1.8
1.9
2.6
2.5
3.9
2.1
2.7
1.7
2.5
3.1

2.6
i.o
2.9
2.9
2.2
2.9
1.3
1.2
2.3
1.3

.1
.4

5.0
5.0
5.4


Perct.
12.2
19.0
14.9
15.1

6.8
19.3
12.0
13.3
14.3
20.2
17.6
13.5
11.0
12.3

7.1
10.6

15.0
15.3
11.6
7.6

U.7
35.7
28.3
17.0
31.5

39.6
48.7
40.6
55.3
47.5
41.0
45.0
37.8
49.0
38.4
44.9
42.1
89.4

41.3
38.1
40.7
39.3
42.7
42.2
43.4
46.6
42.4
35.1

17.3
7.6

70.4
70.1
09.0


Per ct.
5.0
8.7
7.3
6.9
11.6
11.2
5.9
8.2
10.8
11.8
9.1
8.1
7.4
7.4
4.8
6.7

5.8
6.4
8.4
o.O

14.3
21.4
15.8
11.0
19.7

26.8
23.6
27.2
22.5
28.6
32.4
29;
23.0
27.7
25.0
30.5
27.2
22.5

27.6
24.8
25.6
24.1
25.0
20.1
38.1
38.9
37.0
43.0

.6
1.3

2.2
1.7
2.1


Per ct.
1.2
2.9

2!o
1.8
2.5
1.8
2.0
1.8
2.1
2.8
2.1
2.0
2.7
1.7
2.6

1.5
1.1
2.6
2.9

2.7
5.5
1.8
1.2
3.4

8.0
5.3
6.1
5.6
5.2
6.0
4.4
6.3
CO
6.9
0.9
5.5
6.8

5.5
0.2
8.3
8.3
7.4
7.5
4.2
3.2
5.1
5.5

1.0
1.0

1.5
1.4
1.5


Us.


Us.


Us.


Oiio-
Us. ries.


Ck)m leaves and busts
Cornstiilks stripped ..






























































Orchard grass


































Kentucky blue grass .
Red clover


....:








3.44
3.05
3.75




10.94
8.91
9.%


3.79
3.46
3.46


33,796


Alsike clovera

Alfalfa


28,681
31,936


oowpea


83.6
75 1












SILAGE.


74.4
76.1
72.0
79.3

42.2
30.0
50.9
68.4
40.5

19.2

10.6

16.0

8.8

8.9

9.9

13.2

21.2

7.7

20.0

8.5

15.3

16.6

12.9
15.3
9.7
9.7
8.4
10.7
9.6
7.1
9.2
9.9

78.9
88.6

10.6
11.3


1

!








Sorghum silage

Red -clover silage

Cowpea-vine silage...

HAT AOT) DRY COARSE
FODDER.

Com fodder, field




































Comleaves.fleldcured






























1






Kaflr-com stover, field


■"■ I i" ■■








I j








1








.








Redtop


4.51
4.62
1.25
4.45
4.28
4.00
4.28
4.23
6.62

5.77
0.85
7.13
8.74
10.67


0.39
.54

1.18
.81
.43
.56
.35
.52
.61

.54
.95
.83
.83
.42


26.93
23.25
21.29
21.43
27.78
21.77
25.51
23.87
22.34

23.42
24. 19
25.^4
24.96
29.98


11.35
12.86
12. a5

9.13
11.00
10.23
12.11
10.80

8.93

10.96
9.27
9.57
9.01
9.75


81,2^


Orchard grass b

Timothv


78,036
69, 873


Kentucky blue gra.<s<>.

Hungarian grass b

Meadow fescue b

Italian rye grass b

Mixed grasses 6

Rowen (mixed) b

Mixed grasses and


08,536
81,905
69, 415
79, 410
74, 554
73, 175

76, 957


Redclover

Alsi ke cloverc

White clover c

\italfa


78,984
82,630
82,942
95,520








.83
1.11


.85

.79

1.51


12.20
13.10
11.91


6.74
6.S9
6.55


40,544


Rve straw d


42,020




42,770






ROOTS AXD TCBEES.

Potatoes


i.a5

1.09

5.95
6.07

C.07


2.39
2.39
2.58


17.20
7.13

62.09
61.83
61.39


.05


35,526


Carrots


15,290


GRAINS AND OTHER
SEEDS.

Corn dent


136,636


Com, flint


136,376


Com, all varietiw


10.9


136,363



170



1 Digestibility calculated from values obtained with green alfalfa.
''Digestibility calculated from values obtained with meadow hay.
<• Digestibility calculated from valui- obtained with red-clover hay.
d Digestibility calculated from valn« s ibluineil with wheat straw.



11



Table 1. — Average composition of a number of feeding stuffs — Continued.





Percentage composition.


Digestible materials in
100 pounds.


En-
ergy
in 100
lbs. di-
gesti-
ble
nutri-
ents.


Kind of food
material.


Water.


Pro-
tein.


Fat.


Nitro-
gen-
free
ex-
tract.


Crude
fiber.


Ash.


Pro-
tein.


Fat.


Nitro-
gen-
free
ex-
tract.


Crude
fiber.


GRAINS AND OTHEB

.SEEDS — continued.


Perct.
12.5
14.8
10.9
11.0
11.6
10.5
9.1
11.9

15.0
11.7
15.1
11.9
10.5

11.9

10.7

8.7

8.6

7.8

7.7

75.7

8.0

11.8

11.9

12.1

11.8

8.2

11.1

9.2

9.9
25.7
25.1


Perct.
10.9
10.6
12.4
11.8
10.6
11.9
19.6
2:3.5

9.2
11.0

8.5
10.5
20.2

9.6

2.4

9.8
30.0
23.4
16.0

5.4
24.1
14.7
15.4
15.6
14.9
42.3

4.2

32.9

35.9
a7.3
a2.4


Perct.
2.9
2.6
1.8
5.0
1.7
2.1
20.1
1.7

3.8
3.9
3.5
2.2
1.2

4.4

.5
6.2
8.8
8.3
7.1
1.6
6.7
2.8
4.0
4.0
4.5
13.1
2.2

7.9

3.0


Perct.
70.5
58.8
69.8
59.7
72.5
71.9
28.3
5.5.7

68.9
52.3
64.8
66.3
51.1

7:

54.9
62.6
49.2
53.2
59.4
12.5
44.8
63.9
53.9
60.4
56.8
23.6
33.4

35.4

36.8
658.2
669.3


Perct.
1.9
8.7
2.7
9.5
1.7
1.^
18.9
3.8

1.9

18.0

6.6

6.5

14.4

.9

30.1

11.2
2.6
6.2
6.1
3.8

13.0
3.3
9.0
4.6
7.4
5.6

46.3

8.9
8.8


Perct.
1.3
4.5
2.4
3.0
1.9
1.8
4.0
3.4

1.4
3.1
1.5
2.6
2.6

2.2

1.4
1.5
.8
1.1
3.7
1.0
3.4
3.5
5.8
3.3
4.6
7.2
2.8

5.7

5.6
8.8
3.2


Ug.


Us.


Lbs.


Lbs.


Calo-
ries.














Barlev










Oats.


9.39
8.51


3.60
.72


45.25
63.29


2.82 122,062
1.70 139,747


Rve


Wheat
























MILL PEODUCTS.


6.99
9.06


2.55
3.12


64.70
4.5.03


.38 144.454




2.59 118,7-27


Corn-anrt-cob meal






1 i":".'"': 1 ;






1 1 '•


Ground com and oats
(equal parts).

BY PEODCCTS.

Corncob






i




















Gluten meal






i


Gluten feed




1 ;


Uatfeed




1 1


lirewers" grains, wet. .




1


Brewers' grains, dried.




..: :J... . 1






i i






1 !


Wheat middlings




1






i 1







1 1 1


Cotton-seed hulls





















Linseed meal, new
process












Beet-sugar molasses . .
Cane-sugar molasses. .


7.3
3.2





58.2
69.3


::.::::


259,182
298,398



"Largely nonalbuminoid nitrogenous materials,
t Verv largelv sugars.



COMPARATIVE VALTJE OF FEEDING STUFFS.



CEREAL GRAINS.

It will be seen that the cereal grains resemljle one another quite
closely in compcsition, being characterized by fairly low water con-
tent and a considerable amount of protein and nitrogen-free exti"act.
Some crude fiber, derived from the outer or bran layer of the grain, is
also present. The superiorit}' of one grain over another, if it exists
at all, must therefore depend, in large measure, on some factor other
than composition. It has been urged by many that oats possess a
peculiar stimulating body called '"avenin." and are on this account
superior to other grains for horses. Oats undoubtedly possess a
flavor or some such characteristic which makes them a favorite food
with horses, but the most careful chemical study has failed to reveal

170



12

any substance of the nature of the theoretical avenin. Recent experi-
ments have shown that the fat of oats and oat straw is more thoroughly
digested than that of other cereals. This is suggested as a possible
explanation of the superior feeding value of oats.

It is believed by many that horses show more spirit when oats form
part of the ration. Discussing this subject, Director W. A. Henrj^, of
the Wisconsin Experiment Station, says:

Horses nurtured on oats show mettle which can not be reached by the use of any
other feeding stuff. Then, too, there is no grain so safe for horse feeding, the animal


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