Linseed makes a valuable addition to mashes. It may also be given in the dry, uncrushed state, mixed with the corn. It is not given as a regular article of food, but is a beneficial addition for many hide-bound, unthrifty horses. Linseed cake is frequently used for the same purpose with much benefit. In the form of gruel, or tea, linseed is also useful in some respiratory and urinary affections.
Linseed should be clean and sweet, and free from the extraneous seeds of which many samples contain a large percentage.
Excepting for sick horses, or animals in poor condition, linseed is not employed as an article of diet. Its occasional use in the form of linseed mash is a favourite device of the stableman for improving the appearance of an animal's coat. When given for the purpose of restoring lost condition it will be mixed with other food to the extent of about 1 lb. per day.
Linseed is always ground, soaked, and boiled before being mixed with other food. The best plan is to boil it for a short time, as in making. linseed tea, and when cold to mix it with bran or other articles of food. Linseed cake and the meal into which it is ground are sometimes used for sick and tired horses, either made into gruel or sprinkled over the food. It is obtained by crushing the seed and removing a large proportion of the oil for manufacturing purposes. It is consequently relatively richer in nitrogenous matter than are the seeds from which it is derived, as the two following tables will show.
Linseed yields the following analysis: .
Pure Linseed Cake (Voelcker).
Cotton Cake Undecorticated.
Cotton Cake Decorticated.
In reference to linseed cakes, it may be remarked that the purchaser should carefully guard himself against the great risk of adulteration. Feeding cakes are of such great value to the agriculturist that the object of supplying them at a price which will attract custom could only be gained in a remunerative manner by adding to the genuine article a considerable proportion of useless material; and what is much worse, it has occasionally happened, whether accidentally or not can hardly be determined, that castor-oil beans, mustard seeds, and other highly objectionable and sometimes poisonous substances have been discovered on analysis.