There is increased interest, in using sugar beet pulp (SBP) products in equine diets as a major source of fibre in place of traditional forages. It has been observed that voluntary feed intake (VFI) was lower when SBP products were included in the diet of dry sows compared to other fibrous foodstuffs (Brouns, et al 1995). Equids are similar to pigs in respect that fibrous feed components must pass through the stomach and small intestine before reaching the hindgut; the primary site of fibre fermentation. This study examines the VFI and apparent digestibility in vivo of two SBP based diets and determines their ability to meet the predicted energy and protein needs of mature ponies.
Five mature Welsh-cross and three mature Shetland pony geldings with a mean liveweight (LW) of 219 kg (s.e.d. 2.2) were individually housed and offered 2 kg/d dry matter (DM) of a mature threshed grass hay (THAY), 60 g/h/d minerals and ad libitum access to either soaked molassed sugar beet pulp (MSBP) or soaked unmolassed sugar beet pulp (USBP).