The low down on Lupins

Most of us are guilty of it at one time or an other…  Mixing & matching feeds.  Hands up if you put more thought into your horses diet than your own.  Sometimes it’s better to get back to basics and keep it simple.

Relatively new into the horse feeding market are lupins.  There are two types, bitter & sweet, sweet being the only variety suitable for horse consumption.

Considered a ‘cool’ feed due to their low starch content they pack a massive punch when it comes to protein.  Due to their hard outer shell they must be soaked, cracked, rolled or grinded to increase palatability & digestibility.   Some companies also micronise or extrude them into pellet form.


Source:  Hygain

As they are low in starch & high in fibre, lupins are digested efficiently in the hind gut of the horse through fermentation.  Other similar high-fibre feeds that are fed are beet pulp and soy hulls.  However they don’t have the high protein or fat content of lupins & are not as energy-dense.  Up to 2 kilograms per day can be safely fed to horses of approx 500 kgs in weight.

Source:  Kentucky Equine Research

Lupins are particularly suitable for horses that have a low tolerance for starch-rich grains, such as oats or corn, which are digested predominantly in the small intestine.


Horses with a predisposition to tying-up, laminitis, or those horses that get ‘hot’ on typical cereal grains, may benefit from the addition of lupins to the diet.

*Personally I love lupins as they’ve done a phenomenal job on an orphan foal & older stallion of ours.

References:  Kentucky Equine Research



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