Copper (Cu)


Copper and its roles:

  • Bone formation due to its catalytic action on iron fixation
  • Support mitochondrial  function, essential for energy production (ATP)
  • Support haematogenesis
  • Support  keratinisation  
  • Catalyze superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme involved in performance

Copper (Cu)

Copper and zinc

Cu/Zn ratio between 1:4 and 1:3 is very important in order to:

  • regulate nutrient absorption
  • act synergistically in controlling growing processes
  • regulate metabolic stress reactions

Copper is a catalyst for many organic reactions and its functions are important and multiple. It forms part of many metalo-enzyme complexes.

The bioavailability of copper can vary and depends on the type of raw material but also the age of the horse. A diversification of the sources (organic and mineral) is an advantage to increase this bioavailability. 

The needs in copper are estimated at 3.5 mg/kg of metabolic weight per day. The ratio Cu/Zn must be close to 1:4. High zinc diets have been known to induce copper deficiency anaemia.

The metabolic weight corresponds to the horse's weight to the power of 0.75: for example a horse of 450 kg : 450 0.75 = 98 kg of metabolic weight; such a horse will need  343 mg of copper per day.


Practical case: oats 5 kg and hay 5 kg

  kg Zn (mg) Cu (mg) Zn / Cu
Ideal value   627 209 3
oats 5 135 19 7.1
hay 5 225 20 11.3
Total 10 360 39 9,2
% ratio/need   57 19  

A traditional feed does not cover the needs in trace elements, especially copper and zinc.