The Old Fort

Forage Intake of Horses and Cattle

 

A 1980-81 study evaluating forage intake of horses and cattle showed mares consumed 20% more forage than cows of approximately the same weight. Lactating mares and cows consumed 20 and 16% more forage dry matter that non-lactating animals. Mares grazed significantly longer than cows (18 hours vs. 11 hours per day). Diets were similar for the two specie with cattle consuming 7.7% forbs and browse compared with only 1.4% for horses. Dry matter digestibility was 10% greater for cows than for mares. Horses proved to be capable of clipping grass shorter than cattle, which could be detrimental to the range under heavy use.