Effects of Feeding Distiller's Dried Grains with Solubles on Growth and Feed Efficiency of Weanling Horses

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Abstract

The effects of replacing corn and soybean meal with distiller's dried grains and solubles in the weanling horse diet were examined. Sixteen weanling horses, 12 fillies and four colts, were fed completely pelleted diets consisting of 50% alfalfa in addition to 50% of a concentrate containing either corn and soybean meal (CS), or 30% of the concentrate replaced with distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS). There were no significant differences (P > .05) between the two diets in either average daily gain or gain-to-feed ratio. The CS diet had a higher apparent dry matter digestibility (P < .0001), and higher apparent digestibility of crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) (P < .01). It was concluded that replacing a portion of the corn and soybean meal with distiller's dried grains with solubles in the weanling horse diet did not lead to significant growth depression. However, the diet containing DDGS had reduced apparent digestibility of dry matter, CP, and fiber. Therefore, it was concluded that it may not be advisable to replace more than 30% of the concentrate portion or 15% of the total diet with distiller's dried grains and solubles when alfalfa is used as the forage source constituting 50% of the weanling diet. Even less DDGS may be desirable to substitute for corn and soybean meal in weanling horse diets if the forage source is one with lower protein quality than alfalfa. It is possible that using DDGS for less than 30% of the concentrate portion of the diet along with high-quality alfalfa forage may produce comparable gain and feed efficiency results with less depression of apparent digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, and fiber.

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