Livestock feed from Highclere Castle Horse Feeds
For most of man’s long association with and dependence upon the horse, there was only one supplementary food to grass and hay: oats.
They were fed varying proportions of oats and hay depending on their level of work and the choice was either whole or rolled oats. Oats were available and, most importantly, were best suited to a horse’s digestive system. They have been considered the "safest" grain to feed horses because their starch is more easily digested in the horse's small intestine than the starches in maize or barley. This minimizes the potential for undigested starches to reach the horse's hind gut, where they can cause colic.
Oat digestibility can be particularly critical for performance sport horses and racehorses in training. In these cases, daily grain ration may approach 50% (by weight) of their total diet. They have the highest fibre content (13%) and lowest energy of all the grains, making them the safest to feed. This means oats have more bulk per nutrient content, and horses have to eat more to satisfy their nutrient requirements. Bulk makes it more difficult for the horse to overeat and get colic.
Less susceptible to mould
Oats are also less susceptible to contamination by moulds producing mycotoxins than other whole grains. This means horse owners can buy, feed, and store them with greater confidence. Compared to processed grains or processed mixed feeds, whole, unprocessed oats can maintain their nutritional value almost indefinitely when stored under proper conditions.
Horses like oats and oats are easier to chew than other grains. This palatability makes oats the grain of choice for fussy eaters, performance horses such as racehorses, polo ponies, eventers, or other competition horses. Horses that chew well do not need the feed to be crushed etc., but should not be fed in isolation. They are best fed with some mixer like chaff or alfafa. It's a commonly held belief that oats send all horses sky-high. In fact, as with any concentrates, if they are fed in proportion to the level of work actually being done, rather than anticipated, oats rarely cause a problem but a few who are sensitive will react.
Oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain, resulting in slower digestion. Highclere Castle Horse Feeds has invested in a modern plant with latest handling technology to process and, when required, bag the oats.
These are as they come from the field, complete with the husks (the outer casing). This means they have the highest fibre level of all oats and grains. However, very young horses or veterans with teeth problems may have difficulty chewing these, so will not get the full nutritional benefit. The oats are “bruised” which means the husk of the oat is broken to allow access to the nutrients. If the ends are “clipped” it gives a neat final product.
Rolling oats has a greater impact then bruising them. Traditionally, horsemen would buy whole oats and roll them on an ad hoc basis to maximise storage time.
New Grain Bagging Plant: Investment at Crux Easton.
State of the art processing equipment has been installed at our plant at Crux Easton. This includes a large cleaner/upgrader, cyclofan dust extraction, a new bruising roller, coupled to traditional Scottish built clipping and polishing machines.
Recently, an ABB Robotic Palletiser which will load 6-8 bags per minute of both 20KG or 25KG has been installed on the bagging line which has doubled the bagging throughput at this site.