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The horse, like any other living thing has a digestive system of its own. The digestive system of the horse consists of a stomach, cecum, small intestines, small and large colons, anus and the rectum. The stomach of the horse, in comparison to its size is quite small. An average horse’s stomach has the capability of holding up to 2 gallons. This could be seen as one of the reasons why a horse may eat frequently but small proportions. Once the food is in the stomach, it then goes into the small intestine which is the main place where digestion occurs. The small intestine then empties its contents into the cecum which is one of the organs making up the large intestine. Along with the cecum, the large colon also makes up the large intestine. In the large intestine, digestion is then aided by protozoa and bacteria (arg.gov.sk.ca)
The energy which is found in feed is measured in Kilocalories (kcal) (arg.gov.sk.ca). This measurement technique is also used to measure the amount of calories found in human food. Equine energy is however measured in Mcal- mega calories. 1 mega calorie is supposedly equal to 1000 calories (arg.gov.sk.ca). The total amount of energy found in feed is known as its gross energy. The amount of gross energy which the horse consumes is called DE-Digestible Energy. TDN- Total digestible energy is another way of measuring the feed content energy. This shows the result in percentage form and conversions occur between weight and calories (arg.gov.sk.ca)
Carbohydrates are responsible for providing around 90% of the dietary energy. Starch, sugars, cellulose and other substances all come under the category of carbohydrates. Compared to cellulose, starch is easily digestible. Even grains can be digested easily as they constitute of around 80% starch (arg.gov.sk.ca). A study by Sharon. R. Bullim showed that…
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