Horses and Mules 1938 Feeding Practices
Horses and Mules 1938 Feeding Practices

Horses & Mules 1938 Feeding Practices

Reprint from ‘Follow the Proven Way to Greater Profits’

The history of the horse is lost in legend. Man early learned to use the horse and, doubtlessly, the first man to ride gained an almost god-like advantage over his enemies. The first horses in America greatly aided the conquests of Cortez and were worshipped by the Aztecs.

Less romantic, but equally useful, the mule has contributed much to the development of American agriculture. George Washington was one of the first influential sponsors of the mule; his jack, “Compound,” sired excellent mule stock whose value for work was soon recognized by Southern planters.

By breeding stock that meets the farmer’s needs, and by developing rations to maintain animals and produce energy at less cost, Experiment Stations have made farm power more economical and efficient. To a large extent, the ability of work stock to meet the challenge of mechanical power is a result of this research.

Practical feeders have long used cottonseed meal to supply the protein so important in the rations of horses and mules. Experience and research show that cottonseed meal is an economical and efficient “fuel” for farm power. The wealth of protein concentrated in cottonseed meal makes it advisable to start animals on one-fourth of a pound, daily per head, gradually increasing to the amounts in the following rations.

Cottonseed hulls are an excellent supplement of home-grown roughages in workstock rations. Easy to feed, they are an economical and efficient roughage. Cottonseed meal and hulls, alone, are widely used to maintain idle work stock in good condition.

Properly combined in the ration, two pounds of cottonseed meal will replace about four pounds of corn or oats, saving grain and reducing feed costs. By using meal and hulls, alone, for idle stock, and by combining cottonseed meal and hulls with farm grains and roughages in the rations of animals at light or heavy work, farmers secure the maximum power at less cost.

Feed According to Work

The amount of work required of animals should determine the proportion of grain to roughage in the rations of horses and mules. Larger proportions of roughages maintain idle stock economically, while adequate amounts of grains and cottonseed meal are needed for working animals.

The following rations are excellent for work stock. They are for animals weighing about 1,000 pounds. The amounts may be reduced one-fifth for animals weighing 800 pounds, and increased about one-fifth for 1,200-pound animals.

Horses and Mules 1938 Feeding Practices

Molasses may replace one-half of the grain in rations for stock at heavy work. A convenient feeding method is to mix two parts molasses with one part warm water, sprinkling it over cottonseed hulls at feeding time. Cottonseed hulls may replace all or part of the hay or stover in these rations.

When ear corn is fed, enough ears should be used to supply the pounds of grain required. When barley is fed, it should be ground coarsely and fed in a mixture of 3 parts ground barley and 1 part wheat bran.

Silage, of the best quality and free from mold, can replace one-half of the roughage for horses and mules, at the rate of 2 ½ pounds of silage for 1 pound of dry roughage. Much care should be taken in feeding silage to work stock.

Whole-pressed cottonseed may be substituted in any of the rations at the rate of 2 pounds of whole-pressed cottonseed for 1 pound of 43 per cent cottonseed meal or cake and .6, or two-thirds, of a pound of corn.

Plenty of water and salt are needed by work stock at all times. In warm weather, especially, working animals need clean water at least once or twice each morning and afternoon.

Brood Mares & Colts

Raising work stock for replacement and sale will be profitable for many years. Cottonseed meal is a valuable supplement for the brood mare, the colt and young mule, as it supplies the protein essential for proper growth and development.

When legume hay or pasture is not available, brood mares, colts and yearlings should have access to a mixture of equal parts salt and oyster shell flour or ground limestone.

Texas Agricultural Experiment Station authorities, reporting results of experiments covering several years, state:

“Mares receiving two pounds of cottonseed meal were good sucklers and raised vigorous, heavy foals.

“Young mules and colts fed cottonseed meal from weaning time seemed to develop faster, shed earlier, and weighed more at one year of age than those that did not receive this supplement.”

A brood mare not at work but suckling a colt needs about the same feed as a horse at light work. A growing colt requires as much feed per hundred pounds live weight as a horse or mule at heavy work.