Calories in integrity
products: understanding calorie terms
About Dr. Bray
Where to Buy
|Integrity Products||DE Mcal/lb|
|Lite No Molasses||1.13|
|Adult/Senior No Molasses||1.20|
|Mare & Foal||1.23|
|Rice Bran Meal||1.55|
|Rice Bran Nugget||1.55|
Calorie Terminology used with Horses
- For horses, energy is usually stated as Mcal of Digestible Energy (Mcal DE).
- Mcal is the quantitative measurement and the magnitude is determined by the number, for example 1.5 Mcal.
- DE (Digestible Energy) is the chemical form of energy, a qualitative measurement.
- Mcal DE can be used to identify the number of calories a horse requires each day (Mcal DE/day) or the number of calories in a feed, usually as “per pound”, and abbreviated as Mcal DE/lb. Examples…
- A 1000 lb moderately worked horse would require approximately 21.1 Mcal DE/day.
- Bermuda grass hay (mature) will approximate 0.8 Mcal DE/lb and Integrity Lite contains 1.15 Mcal DE/lb.
- Occasionally one may see kcal instead of Mcal and ME instead of DE.
- One kcal is 1000 Mcal. For example, 1.15 Mcal is the same as 1,150 kcal. M in Mcal represents mega and the k in kcal represents kilo.
- ME is Metabolizable Energy (ME) and is another chemical form of energy and references the energy available to the cell following cellular “metabolism.” In general for horses, ME is approximately 90% of the value of DE. So, if DE is 1.0 Mcal then ME would approximate 0.9 Mcal. The 90% conversion value is not universal for all feeds and is different for forages and grains are different.
The NRC (National Research Council) has grouped horses relative to energy and nutrient requirements. The broad categories for these energy/nutrient demands include:
The energy requirements listed by the NRC for horses are guidelines, averages, not absolute values. This approach is more practical because of the challenges with the multiple factors that can influence energy requirements of horses. Actual requirements may differ from the recommendations, hence the important of body condition scoring (BCS) to adjust a horse’s diet. Listed below are some of the factors that will influence energy requirements and can be difficult to accurately measure or quantify the influence.
Factors that can Influence Energy Requirements
- Accurate body weight estimate
- Accurate body condition score (BCS)
- Body composition (lean-fat ratio)
- Conformation/muscle type relative to type of work
- Training level
- Digestive differences relative to feeding management
- Environment/Weather (temperature, humidity)
- Working conditions (hard or soft ground)
- Rider’s body weight or fitness
- Rider’s equestrian/training skills
- Forage maturity/quality
- Quality of diet
- Quality of fuel sources/types
- Over supplementation
- Diet composition relative to environmental conditions
- Time and frequency of feeding relative to work schedule
- Consistency in feeding management routine
- Travel fatigue