Effect of Feed Processing Method on Average Daily Gain and Gastric Ulcer Development in Weanling Horses

Rebecca S. Flores, Chris R. Byron, Kevin H. Kline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study evaluated the effects of two different methods of feed processing on growth and gastric ulceration in 16 weanling Standardbred horses. The two diets were composed of identical ingredients that were processed differently and fed at a rate of 3% body weight per day. The hay and grain diet (diet HG) consisted of 50% alfalfa hay cubes and 50% commercial texturized grain mix fed as is, without any further processing, with the cubes and grain fed in separate containers. The complete pelleted diet (diet CP) consisted of the same proportion of hay cubes and grain mix, which was ground, pelleted, and fed in a single container. The horses were divided into two groups and the study was divided into three periods of 30 days each. During period 1, all 16 horses consumed only free choice alfalfa hay (diet H). Group 1 was given diet CP during period 2 and diet HG during period 3. Group 2 was given diet HG during period 2 and diet CP during period 3. The horses were endoscopically examined for the baseline number and severity of stomach ulcers at the end of period 1, then again at the end of each treatment diet feeding period. Horses on diet CP in periods 2 and 3 had greater ulcer numbers (P = 0135) than diet HG. However, there was no significant difference (P = 30) in ulcer numbers when making a direct comparison between diets CP and HG. Despite the gastric ulceration found in horses on diet CP, the average daily gain was significantly greater (P = 016) for diet CP than for diet HG. Both diets containing grain were observed to cause gastric ulceration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-128
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


  • Growth
  • Horse
  • Pelleted diet
  • Stomach ulcers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine

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