Does size matter?

11 December 2019

It does when we are talking particle size in feeds! A good set of molars will grind food down to around 2mm. These pieces are good for the gut lining as they act a bit like an exfoliant, helping cell renewal. It also means the gut has some substance to work on. When feeds are processed and ground to a very fine meal before being pelleted, the particle size is tiny. This may impact on palatability and could affect digestion. Small particle size has also been associated with ulcers. Very small particles sink in the stomach whereas feeds with more texture and larger particle size are more likely to float, forming a protective mat. Pelleted feeds are assumed to be finely milled before pelleting: “yearlings fed pelleted feed had higher ulcer scores then those fed textured feed.”* You can tell if your feed has small particles or not when it is soaked. If you can see bits, it is probably OK! If it looks more like a puree it is more likely to have very small particles.

*Effect of Concentrate Form on Gastric Ulcer Syndrome in Horses. (December 2011) Lindsey Rae Huth, B.S., Texas A&M University.

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