Good morning! In this video by Rexann Morrison, she discusses the success of the free-choice feeding method for weanling animals. She starts by talking about the type of hay they feed their weanlings, which is free choice alfalfa of good quality. Along with the hay, they also feed them ADM Feeds junior glow, a pelleted feed, which has high digestible fibers and low starches. The video shows pictures of the weanlings and their feeding setup, emphasizing the importance of feeding them well for their growth and development. Rexann also mentions the need to monitor protein intake to avoid swollen joints. Overall, she believes that this feeding program is working best for their weanlings and offers a better opportunity for them to reach their full potential as horses.

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Understanding Free-Choice Feeding Method

Definition of free-choice feeding method

Free-choice feeding is a method of feeding animals where they have constant access to food throughout the day. Instead of being fed at specific meal times, animals are given the freedom to eat whenever they want. This method allows animals to regulate their own eating patterns and choose when and how much they eat.

Mechanism and process of free-choice feeding method

In free-choice feeding, animals are provided with an unlimited supply of food at all times. This can be achieved by using feeders or troughs that are continuously filled with food. The animals have the freedom to eat whenever they feel hungry, without any restrictions or limitations.

The process of free-choice feeding involves regularly checking the food supply and replenishing it as needed. It is important to ensure that the feeders are kept clean and free of contamination. The goal is to provide animals with a constant source of nutrition, allowing them to eat at their own pace and according to their individual needs.

Types of food used in free-choice feeding method

In the free-choice feeding method, a variety of foods can be used to meet the animals’ nutritional needs. This can include hay, grains, pellets, and minerals. The choice of food depends on the specific dietary requirements of the animals and their age, health, and activity level.

Hay is commonly used in free-choice feeding as it provides animals with a high-fiber diet. Grains and pellets may be included to provide additional nutrients and energy. Minerals are also important for maintaining the animals’ overall health and can be offered in the form of salt blocks or loose minerals.

Benefits of Free-Choice Feeding for Animals

Enhanced growth and development

Free-choice feeding allows animals to eat small amounts of food throughout the day, which provides a steady supply of nutrients for growth and development. This method ensures that animals receive a consistent intake of essential nutrients, promoting healthy weight gain and muscle development.

Suitability for animals’ feeding patterns

Animals have unique feeding patterns and preferences. Free-choice feeding accommodates these differences by allowing animals to eat according to their own individual needs. This method aligns with the natural instincts of animals and promotes a stress-free and comfortable feeding environment.

Prevention of feeding-related health issues

Restricted feeding methods can sometimes lead to feeding-related health issues such as obesity, stomach ulcers, and digestive problems. Free-choice feeding helps to prevent these issues by allowing animals to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This promotes proper digestion and reduces the risk of overeating or undernourishment.

Promotion of optimal nutrient intake

Free-choice feeding ensures that animals have access to a balanced diet at all times. By providing a variety of food options, animals can self-regulate their nutrient intake and select the foods that best meet their individual nutritional needs. This helps to promote overall health, immunity, and optimal performance.

Role of ADM Feeds Junior Glow in Free-choice Feeding

Composition of ADM Feeds Junior Glow

ADM Feeds Junior Glow is a pelleted feed that is commonly used in the free-choice feeding method. It is specifically designed to provide a balanced and complete nutritional profile for growing animals. The feed is composed of high digestible fibers and low starches, making it suitable for animals with sensitive digestive systems.

Benefits of high digestible fibers and low starches

High digestible fibers in ADM Feeds Junior Glow enable better digestion and nutrient absorption in animals. This promotes overall gut health and helps prevent digestive disorders. Low starch content ensures that the animals’ diet is not overloaded with carbohydrates, reducing the risk of metabolic issues.

Importance of balanced mineral package, probiotics, and prebiotics

ADM Feeds Junior Glow also contains a balanced mineral package, probiotics, and prebiotics. These components help support the animals’ immune system, promote healthy gut microbial activity, and enhance nutrient utilization. The inclusion of these additives ensures that animals receive optimal nutrition and maintain good overall health.

Use of Alfalfa Hay in Free-Choice Feeding

Benefits of alfalfa hay

Alfalfa hay is commonly used in free-choice feeding due to its high nutrient content and palatability. It is rich in protein, calcium, and vitamins, making it a valuable source of nutrition for animals. Alfalfa hay also provides long-stem fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes good dental health.

Quality of alfalfa hay used in free-choice feeding

When using alfalfa hay in free-choice feeding, it is important to choose hay that is clean and of good quality. High-quality alfalfa hay is free from mold, dust, and foreign objects, ensuring that animals receive uncontaminated and safe nutrition. Good quality alfalfa hay also has a high leaf-to-stem ratio and is easily digestible for animals.

Effect of alfalfa hay on animals’ health and growth

Including alfalfa hay in free-choice feeding can have numerous benefits for animals. It provides a rich source of nutrients, supports healthy weight gain, and promotes strong bones and muscles. The fibrous nature of alfalfa hay also aids in digestion, reduces the risk of colic, and supports overall gut health in animals.

Introduction of Pasturing in Free-Choice Feeding Method

Benefits of pasturing

Pasturing is the practice of allowing animals to graze on natural grass or pastureland. Introducing pasturing into the free-choice feeding method provides animals with the opportunity to engage in natural foraging behavior and consume a diverse range of grasses and plants. Pasturing allows animals to meet their nutritional needs while also enjoying the benefits of exercise and fresh air.

Impact on animals’ health and development

Pasturing has a positive impact on the health and development of animals. It provides them with access to fresh grass, which is rich in essential nutrients and promotes overall health. Pasturing also allows animals to engage in physical activity, which supports muscle development, bone strength, and cardiovascular fitness.

Matching pasture availability with animals’ nutrient intake

It is important to match the availability of pasture with the animals’ nutrient intake. This ensures that animals have access to a sufficient quantity and quality of grass to meet their nutritional needs. Regular monitoring of pasture conditions and rotational grazing practices can help ensure an adequate supply of fresh grass for animals throughout the year.

Protein Intake Management in Free-Choice Feeding

Importance of monitoring protein intake

Protein is an essential nutrient for animals, but excessive protein intake can have negative consequences. Monitoring protein intake is crucial in free-choice feeding to ensure that animals do not consume more protein than their bodies require. High levels of protein can lead to issues such as enlarged joints and imbalances in other nutrients.

Risks of overconsumption of protein

Overconsumption of protein can put strain on animals’ kidneys and liver, leading to potential health problems. It can also contribute to rapid growth, which may result in skeletal abnormalities and developmental issues. Monitoring protein intake helps prevent these risks and promotes healthy growth and development in animals.

Balancing protein intake with other nutrients

In free-choice feeding, it is important to achieve a balance between protein intake and other essential nutrients. This includes providing appropriate levels of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. A well-rounded diet ensures that animals receive the necessary nutrients for optimal health, without the risk of protein imbalances.

Use of Hay Feeders in Free-Choice Feeding

Purpose of hay feeders

hay feeders are used in free-choice feeding to distribute hay in a controlled and efficient manner. They help prevent wastage and contamination of hay, allowing animals to access and consume the hay as needed. Hay feeders also aid in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of the feeding area.

Impact on animals’ feeding habits

Hay feeders influence animals’ feeding habits by providing structure and order during feeding times. Animals learn to associate the hay feeder with a readily available food source, encouraging them to return to the feeder as needed. This helps establish a consistent feeding routine and promotes a balanced nutrient intake.

Benefits of hay feeders in managing feed intake

Hay feeders play a crucial role in managing feed intake in free-choice feeding. They prevent animals from overeating and allow for a more controlled consumption of hay throughout the day. By limiting the amount of hay that animals can access at once, hay feeders help maintain a steady and sustainable feeding pattern.

Use of Free-Choice Minerals and Salt Walk for Horses

Benefits of free-choice minerals

Providing free-choice minerals ensures that horses have access to the essential nutrients their bodies require. Minerals play a vital role in maintaining overall health, supporting metabolic functions, and promoting proper growth and development. Free-choice minerals allow horses to meet their individual mineral requirements, which may vary based on factors such as age, activity level, and reproductive status.

Role of salt walk in horses’ health and development

Salt is a critical mineral for horses, as it helps regulate fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions. A salt walk, which is an area where horses can access loose salt, allows them to self-regulate their salt intake. This helps prevent deficiencies and ensures that horses receive the necessary salt levels to support their health and well-being.

Strategies of incorporating these in free-choice feeding

Incorporating free-choice minerals and a salt walk in the free-choice feeding method can be accomplished by providing separate mineral feeders and a designated area with loose salt. This allows horses to consume minerals and salt as needed, promoting a balanced diet and optimal nutrient intake. Regular monitoring and replenishment of minerals and salt are essential to ensure a continuous and adequate supply.

Comparison with Other Feeding Methods

Advantages of free-choice feeding over other methods

Free-choice feeding offers several advantages over other feeding methods. It allows animals to self-regulate their food intake, promoting natural feeding behavior and reducing stress. This method provides a consistent supply of nutrition, ensuring animals have access to food whenever they need it. Free-choice feeding also allows for more flexibility and adaptability to animals’ changing nutritional needs.

Possible criticism and disadvantages of free-choice feeding

While free-choice feeding has numerous benefits, it may not be suitable for all animals or situations. Some critics argue that free-choice feeding can lead to overeating or nutrient imbalances if not properly monitored. Animals may also exhibit selective feeding behaviors, preferring certain foods over others. Additionally, the cost and logistics of providing a continuous and varied food supply can be challenging.

Openness to insights and feedback from other feeding methods

While free-choice feeding has proven to be effective for many animals, it is important to remain open to insights and feedback from other feeding methods. Different animals may have unique dietary requirements or health considerations that may require alternative feeding approaches. Learning from others and being receptive to new ideas can help refine and improve the free-choice feeding method.


Free-choice feeding is a comprehensive and flexible method of providing nutrition to animals. It allows for the natural feeding patterns of animals and promotes their overall health and development. By offering a balanced and varied diet, including high-quality feeds, hay, and pasturing, animals can thrive and reach their full potential. Regular monitoring and adjustment of protein intake, as well as the use of hay feeders and free-choice minerals, contribute to the success of the free-choice feeding method. While it is important to consider other feeding methods and gather insights from different practices, free-choice feeding provides animals with the best opportunity for optimal growth, health, and nutrient intake.