Processed cereals are used routinely in diets for equines but little information is available on how physical processing affects the digestibility of cereals in equines. This study examines the effects of three physical processing methods (rolling, micronisation and extrusion) on the in vivo apparent digestibility of barley fed to ponies.
Three mature caecally-fistulated Welsh-cross pony geldings, (LW 284kg ± 3.8kg) were used in a 3 x 4 incomplete latin square changeover design experiment consisting of four 21 day periods. Each period comprised a sixteen day adaptation phase and a five day recording phase when apparent digestibility in vivo was determined. Ponies were offered 4kg dry matter (DM) per day of either 100% hay cubes (HC) or one of three diets consisting of a 50:50 barley:hay cubes mix. The barley in the mixed diets was either rolled barley (RB), micronised barley (MB) or extruded barley (EB). Diets were offered in 2 equal meals per day fed at 09:00 and 17:00 hours respectively.