Unlock the secret terms on the feed label used to describe the ingredients. 

Reading the ingredients list on your horse’s feed label can feel like a puzzle, but it shouldn’t be! No, seriously it shouldn’t be!

With these two super sneaky secrets, you’ll have an insider’s insight into reading the ingredients list on your horse’s feed label!

First things first!

First of all, I want to do a quickie clarification as to what we are talking about, just to make sure we are on the same page! The ingredients list on the feed label is that long block of text listing ALL the “things” that went into that recipe. K?!

The long list is in order from greatest amount to least amount. So, the very first ingredient listed is in the largest quantity, it makes up the bulk of the feed. Then as the list goes on, those ingredients are in much much smaller quantities. Therefore, you will often see a roughage or grain item listed first, because those are the main ingredient in horse feed 🙂

Secret #1

My first secret is understanding what the method the Manufacturer is using when listing the ingredients. One super sneaky way they list ingredients is with a “Collective Feed Name”. This is where you might see general terms that describe a group or type of ingredients. Honestly, it’s simply a “catch-all” term!

Here is an Example: 

Collective feed name ingredients list
Notice the “catch-all” terms??? Sneaky right??

Why on Earth would they do this?

Well, it offers them a level of flexibility in their recipe. The diet guarantee analysis is created based on using different quantities of a variety of ingredients within this group. As a result, the flexibility comes in handy when they are shopping for ingredients for each batch…allowing them to choose the cheapest. Also, they won’t have to print a new label!

So, that leaves us with absolutely NO IDEA which ingredient within each group is actually used! Likewise, the percentage of each ingredient selected will vary too! Gasp! I know!

Horse "laughing" you don't know the ingredients?


Say what? You don’t actually know what you are feeding me???

Know the terms…

Seems like you need to at least know what ingredients are in each collective name group…I’ve got you covered!

Group Grain Products: Barley, corn, oats, wheat, rice, rye. (these have received some type of chemical or physical processing prior to being added)


Plant Protein Products: Cottonseed meal, linseed meal, soybean meal, soybeans (heat processed), yeast

Processed Grain By-Products:
Brewers dried grains, distillers dried grains, corn gluten feed, wheat middlings, bran (rice or wheat)

Forage Products:
Alfalfa meal (dehydrated or suncured), grass hay (species name included)

Roughage Products:
Apple products, barley hulls, beetpulp, hulls (oat, peanut, and rice)

Collective feed terms: D.R.Kappa. 1992 Elements of Nutrition: A Primer for Practitioners AA & P. 38th Proceedings. P. 669-679


Secret #2

Finally, it is time for me to reveal my second super sneaky secret! It isn’t as sneaky as #1 but none the less it’s a secret, and I’m sharing it!

So, if the ingredients are not in the collective term form, great! That means they are a Fixed Formula.

This method states each individual ingredient, as it’s whole, and by the direct name. Awesome! So, this arms you with all the information you need to understand EXACTLY what is in the feed.

How important is that? Super important! Because, if you were avoiding a specific ingredient due to an allergy, sensitivity or simply a preference…you can!

Here is an Example: 

However, there is one downfall…but it’s tiny.

The price of these feeds might fluctuate more because the price of ingredients fluctuates and the Manufacturer must include what they state. Above all, they are guaranteeing that exact ingredient.

Horse eating out of bucket

Therefore, I’ll “deal” because the peace of mind, knowing exactly what ingredients were used in my horse’s feed is worth it! Call me a control freaker! When it comes to my horsey-baby’s food, yes, yes I am. 🙂

If you are craving more knowledge on this subject, one of my self-paced online course might be something you’d like! It is all about Decoding Feed Labels, with tons of examples and easy to understand explanations. Check it out www.hoofbeatcollective.com/horsenutrition

Hope you are amped now that you know my 2 super sneaky secrets to UNLOCK the feed label ingredients names. Share with your Horsey-Friends!