Soybean Hull Pellets
Fiber can supply a horse with 30-70% of its digestible energy requirements. Some feedstuffs are considered “super fibers,” as they provide greater levels of digestible energy than forages (due to their superior digestibility), with slightly less energy than cereal grains such as oats and barley. Soy hulls are one of the most commonly fed super fibers in the United States.
Soy hulls are high in pectin and other soluble fibers. Because they are digested mostly in the cecum and contain relatively small amounts of starch, their use in equine diets does not pose a high risk for colic and laminitis. The purpose of one study in 2004 was to evaluate soy hulls as an alternate fiber source, and to determine the effect, if any, of different levels of inclusion in the horse’s diet.
Soy hulls may be an acceptable replacement for up to 75% of total forage in diets for horses. This feedstuff, which is often readily available and economical, may find a use in areas where hay is unavailable due to drought or other climatic conditions. With a chemical composition close to that of medium-quality alfalfa/bromegrass hay, soy hulls are suitable to replace part of the forage component in equine diets, at least in short-term situations.
NOTE: To avoid digestive upset, any change to a horse’s diet should be made slowly over a period of several days. The recommended method of introducing a new dietary component is to include a small amount in the first feeding and continue to increase the proportion of new feed to old feed for four or five days until the desired amount is being fed.
The full text of this article can be found in the Journal of Animal Science, June 2004, pages 1663 to 1668. The study “Soy hulls as an alternative feed for horses,” was conducted by J.A. Coverdale, J.A. Moore, H.D. Tyler, and P.A. Miller-Auwerda.