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Digestible energy (DE)

Feeding Horses Thread, Digestible energy (DE) in Horses and Ponies; Does anyone know how to calculate the digestible energy of a product if it is not written in the nutritional ...
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Old 16-02-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
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Default Digestible energy (DE)

Does anyone know how to calculate the digestible energy of a product if it is not written in the nutritional value??

I'm after digestible energy NOT digestible fibre.
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Old 16-02-2010, 11:20 AM   #2
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This is from Hygain's website:

Whilst we would like to share our estimates of DE, we feel that it is not in the best interests of the consumers to add this information to our tags. We need to standardise the prediction equations the feed industry as a whole use to calculate DE, so that the end user can actually compare between companies. We also need to devise more accurate methods of determining energy content of feeds as has been done in other livestock species.

Commonly used formula for calculation of Digestible Energy

There are several different ways to predict DE content, and this has led to a great deal of confusion about how much DE is actually in a horse feed. The most common method to predict digestible energy uses the chemical composition of the feeds and is described in the following equation recognised by the NRC 2007:

DE x (kcal/kgDM) = 2118 + 12.18 x (%CP) – 9.37 x (%ADF) – 3.83 x (%hemicellulose) + 47.18 x (%fat) + 20.35 x (%NSC) – 26.3 x (%ash)

Where hemicellulose = Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF) – Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF) & Non Structural Carbohydrates (NSC) = (100 - %NDF - %Fat - %Ash - %CP)

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Old 16-02-2010, 11:20 AM   #3
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The only way as far as I know to work it out is to put the particular feed through an acid digestion process and see how much of it you have left, which will separate the digestible energy from the undigestible fibre (Digestible energy includes digestible fibre + non structural carbohydrates).
"Average" DEs for many feeds are available. What are you looking to find out about?
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Old 16-02-2010, 10:19 PM   #4
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thanks guys.

trying to find out wat the DE is for clayton's horse pellets.

can't figure out why my protein intolerant horse can cope REALLY well with horse cubes when they are majority made from lupins and some other grains, but cannot handle soaked lupins or any other grains.

so i've been sticking to feed that are high in DE which works out funnily enough to be the fattier feeds e.g coolstance, ffs, rice bran, even horse cubes ahve great DE.

so much to learn.
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Old 17-02-2010, 09:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by abararka View Post

So i've been sticking to feeds that are high in DE which works out funnily enough to be the fattier feeds e.g coolstance, ffs, rice bran, even horse cubes have a great DE.
These feeds are actually also high protein, so perhaps protein is not the horses issue?? Perhaps a grain intolerance??

A high DE feed product can be based on cereal grains eg.- maize or on pulse &/or oil seeds eg- lupins or FFS. Both are very different feeds obviously. So dont rely on DE as a rule on what to feed your horse.
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Old 17-02-2010, 12:23 PM   #6
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hmmmmmmmmmmm, that's interesting caroline. well i'm stumped then, cause my horse has struggled to put weight on for over 8 years. he would ALWAYS have the ok poos but would ALWAYS dribble after every poo. i tried EVERYTHING except for horse cubes. i tried horse cubes and poof he stopped dribbling and he STACKED the weight on. he looks great now. he stopped being lethargic. much happier horse now.

so then 2 weeks ago i thought i would start adding a very little amount of soaked lupins into his feed and he started dribbling again and loosing weight. his hind gut was not impressed with me, lol.

any thoughts??

yeah there is like 13% protein in horse cubes hey? strange. i just don't get it. all i know is that on a high fat diet, he copes REALLY well and puts so much weight on and his body functions normally, so i suppose i can stick to that. still has me stumped as to why he can't tolerate anything else though.
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Old 17-02-2010, 01:54 PM   #7
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Maybe it depnds on the source of the protein... What contributes to the protein in horse cubes, is it from something like canola meal, soybean, lucerne or is it lupins etc? Maybe it is the way the horse cubes are processed / made and "raw" protein in the form of soaked lupins etc. is more of a problem.
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Old 17-02-2010, 03:25 PM   #8
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i can't feed him:
-lupins
-par boiled rice
-barley
-lucerne chaff or hay
-oats
-any complete feeds
-maize
-just hay
-soya bean meal

i can't feed any grains, however he can handle it in oaten hay as long as he has a hard feed that is high in fat.

got you all thinking to?
lol
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Old 17-02-2010, 05:11 PM   #9
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It may be that your horse is sensitive to protein and that high fat in his diet counteracts this, I found this abstract:

The apparent digestibility of fibre in trotters when dietary soybean oil is substituted for an iso-energetic amount of glucose
Authors: W. L. Jansen; J. van der Kuilen; Suzanne N. J. Geelen; A. C. Beynen

Published in: Archives of Animal Nutrition, Volume 54, Issue 4 December 2001 , pages 297 - 304

Abstract
An attempt was made to quantify the effect of extra fat intake on fibre utilization in horses. In a 44 cross-over trial with feeding periods of 24 days each, eight mature trotting horses (age 4 to 12 years, 407 to 531 kg BW) were given four diets. The concentrates were formulated to contain either soybean oil or an iso-energetic amount of glucose or combinations of the two ingredients. The concentrates were fed in combination with the same amount of hay so that the whole diets contained 30, 50, 77 or 108 g EE/kg DM. Apart from the amounts of fat and glucose the four diets were identical. With an increase of 10g/kg DM of soybean oil the apparent total tract digestibility of crude fibre was reduced with 0.9 percentage units. Extra fat intake also reduced apparent protein and NFE digestibility, but raised apparent fat digestibility. Although the present results may hold specifically for the conditions of this study, it is suggested that the observed interaction between fat content of the diet and macronutrient utilization might have consequences for practical horse feeding in that calculating the energy content of high-fat diets on the basis of feedstuff tables will lead to over- or underestimating the amount of energy provided by the various ingredients of the diets.
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Old 17-02-2010, 07:43 PM   #10
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As far as i know, from every bag i've read, horse/pony cubes are bran, pollard and oats. Which i why i won't feed them.
Unless there's some brand out there that doesn't contain pollard or bran.

Horses do well on them because they contain pollard, which is a fattener. Also because of the oats, which have a decent protein content, and in the cubes, are crushed up, so the grain is opened, and they are easier and to digest.

Funny you listed oats in the things you can't feed.

It may be that he can't digest whole grains, but may be better with processed grains. Have you tried steamed, extruded or micronised?
It is now known that whole grains are not digested well at all, they just sit and ferment in the gut, which causes digestive issues. It is now recommended to feed heat processed grains that open the shell.
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