The feeding of concentrates to growing thoroughbred horses in New Zealand is common practice, despite the availability of pasture all year round. Whilst the sale of young stock is the primary focus of the majority of the breeders in the Thoroughbred industry, there is still limited data on the production process and the optimal strategy to grow horses to their maximum athletic potential. To obtain data on the management of Thoroughbred weanlings a face-to-face survey was conducted on 46 stud farms in the northern and central regions of the North Island during the 2007/08 breeding season. Analysis was based on location and size of the breeding operation. Prior to weaning, 87% of foals were exposed to concentrate feed and all weanlings received concentrates. Weanlings received 47 ± 2 MJ of digestible energy (DE) and 563 ± 40 g of crude protein (CP) per day from concentrate initially. This increased to 64 ± 6 MJ DE and 683 ± 54 g CP immediately before yearling preparation. The data collected indicated that management of weanlings is generally consistent between regions and across farm sizes with weanlings receiving large quantities of concentrate feed whilst at pasture.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 69, Christchurch, 4-9, 2009
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