The Relationship Between Physical Fibres and Chewing in Horses
Physical fibre is an essential component of forages for horses, as it is necessary for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Feeds that promote chewing are beneficial for horses, as the physical breakdown of fibre stimulates saliva production, which is important for maintaining the pH balance in the digestive tract and aiding digestion (Williams, 2012). Additionally, chewing increases the rate of digestion, as it breaks down the fibre into particles that are small enough for the digestive enzymes to break down (Vieth, 2011). Chewing is an important behaviour that serves to stimulate salivation and digestion, and also provides a horse with mental stimulation. Chewing is thought to be a stress-reducing behaviour, and may help to prevent boredom and other behavioural issues (Williams, 2012). Furthermore, chewing helps to reduce feed wastage, as the physical breakdown of the forage particles increases the surface area of the feed particles, thereby increasing the rate at which the enzymes can break them down (Vieth, 2011). Cont…
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