Feeding Animals: Are your animals feeling the change in the seasons?
It’s that time of year, where the season is changing. The daylight hours are shortening, weather conditions varying, temperatures fluctuating and the change in colour of the leaves. These all signal to animals the change in season. For some animals, it can have a profound effect on their biology, particularly on reproduction, which must be carefully timed. As we know all too well, the change in season happens four times a year, through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Here in the UK, we are supposed to have four seasons in the year, but it’s not unfamiliar for us to experience two, or sometimes more than in a 24-hour period! Seasons are related to the way sunlight falls on different parts of the earth over the course of the year.
During each season, it is important to keep your animals at their optimal happiness. Animals change their patterns and behaviours based on the cycles of seasons.
As stated by National Geographic, life is very vivid to animals. In the majority of cases animals know who they are, they know who their friends are and who their rivals are. They compete and have ambitions for higher status. Like humans, animals’ lives follow the arc of a career. Animals are no different from us in the regard of trying to stay alive, find food and shelter, and raising young for the next generation.
Feeding horses in the winter can be challenging. With the grass having little or no nutrition, horses living out full-time will need their grazing supplemented with hay. They may require hard feed to maintain condition depending on the horses, breed, exercise etc. During the winter months, when the ground is sometimes covered by snow, ensuring your horses has enough forage is important. Stated by the BHS, it helps to keep the horse warm acting as an in-built heating system by creating heat as it breaks down the fibre in the digestive system.
Horses that are stabled and remain in full work throughout the winter, either competing or hunting, will have higher energy requirements. Forage should remain their primary ration, in the form of either hay or haylage, with potentially an additional hard feed.
Guinea Pigs and Rabbits
In winter, rabbits, guinea pigs and other smaller animals, will look to eat more to generate extra fat as insulation to help keep them warm. Rabbits do better and are more tolerate of the cold temperatures in the winter than the heat in the summer months. Overall, it’s important to increase your small animals’ food and hay in the colder months, so they have enough energy to stay warm and healthy.
Here at Baled, we sell products that are good for all seasons and for a variety of animals from small to large. These go from guinea pigs and rabbits to chickens and horses, to name just a few.
Check out our products here: Baled Provides Quality Straw, Hay, Haylage & Lucerne in Cheshire