Cons of Bulk Feed on Horse Farms

It’s challenging to meet the varied nutritional needs of multiple horses with one bulk feed.
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It’s challenging to meet the varied nutritional needs of multiple horses with one bulk feed.

Bulk horse feed helps stables cut costs and save time by cutting down on trips to the feed store. However, it’s not a good fit for every stable. It’s challenging to meet the varied nutritional needs of multiple horses. A facility with several senior horses, a string of performance horses, and a group of easy keepers might be better served with bagged feed.

“A high-performance feed is just not going to cover all those life stages,” said Anna Pesta, PhD, an equine nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition.

If wondering about using bulk feed at your equine facility, here are four reasons why it might not be right for your barn.

  1. You travel a lot. Trainers and horse owners who haul frequently to competition or recreational overnight excursions need feed that’s portable.
  2. You’re out of room. To use bulk horse feed, first you need space to put up a bulk bin that convenient for chores. Then you need space around the barn and bin for a large delivery truck to access it.
  3. Your horses won’t eat it fast enough. It can take several weeks or months for the horses in a stable to consume an entire bulk bin of feed. If the horses on your property can’t eat all that’s in a load within two months, it might not be the option for you, Pesta said. Grain that sits too long is no longer fresh, breaks down, and if the temperature is too hot or humid, it can mold. 
  4. You like control. Some barn owners like to have the opportunity to buy bagged feed every week, Pesta said. This gives them the chance to check to make sure there’s nothing wrong with each bag.

“The chances for getting a bad batch of feed are really slim,” Pesta said. “With bagged feed, you can pull one bag aside if there’s a problem. When everything is mixed together in a bulk bin, you won’t see those problems.” 

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