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This NebGuide discusses the benefits and implications of creep feeding horses during the growing period of development.
Creep feeding, providing a place where foals can eat without interference from the mare and other horses, should be used if foals are to grow at optimum rates. Creep feeders are used to provide a nutritionally balanced, digestible concentrate to young nursing foals before weaning. The practice of creep feeding serves to supply nutrients beyond what a foal receives from mare's milk. And, creep feeding minimizes foals' intake of broodmare feed which often lacks the concentrated amounts of protein and minerals relative to the energy needed by foals. Creep feeders also decrease the chances for injury to a foal when competing for feed from the mare's feeder. Finally, creep feeders allow foals to become accustomed to eating concentrates before weaning time, thus reducing weaning stress.