Effect of Starch Source in Pelleted Concentrates on Fecal Bacteria in Prepartum and Postpartum Mares

Morgan B. Pyles, Ashley L. Fowler, Veronica T. Bill, Andrea D. Crum, Susan H. Hayes, Brittany E. Harlow, Michael D. Flythe, Laurie M. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Dietary starch source has been shown to affect fecal bacterial communities of horses fed minimally processed cereal grains. However, processing may increase foregut starch digestibility, reducing effects of starch source on fecal bacterial communities. This study aimed to determine the effect of starch source in pelleted concentrates on fecal Lactobacillus spp., amylolytic bacteria, and cellulolytic bacteria in broodmares mares, during the prepartum and postpartum period. Thoroughbred mares (n = 18) were paired by last breeding date then randomly assigned to either an oat-based or a corn and wheat middlings-based pelleted concentrate fed with forage. Mares were fed their assigned concentrates beginning on 310 days of gestation, and fecal samples were collected at 324 days of gestation, before parturition, 1 day, 14 days, and 28 days postpartum. Fecal samples were enumerated by serial dilution and inoculation into selective, enriched media for Lactobacillus spp., amylolytic bacteria, and cellulolytic bacteria. Data were log transformed then analyzed using a mixed model ANOVA with repeated measures (SAS 9.3) to test the main effects of treatment, time of sample, and treatment by time interaction. Starch source did not affect enumerated bacterial communities (P >.05); thus, pelleting concentrates may alter some of the effects of starch sources on the hindgut microbiota. Sample date did not affect amylolytic bacteria (P >.05); however, lactobacilli and cellulolytic bacteria decreased 1 day postpartum (P <.05). Although we did not observe an effect of starch source on fecal bacteria in mares, parturition did appear to alter the hindgut microbiota.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-36
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cereal grains
  • Horse
  • Microbiota
  • Parturition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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