Diet Advice for a New Draft Owner - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-01-2012, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Diet Advice for a New Draft Owner

I'm getting a yearling spotted draft filly. I have never owned a draft before, just traditional sized horses. I would like to know if there is anything specific they need in their diets. Do they get the same, just more due to their size? I wasn't sure if it would be that obvious.

Any help would be much appreciated!

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post #2 of 9 Old 02-02-2012, 12:36 AM
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Due to their size I would assume they eat more, although I have never owned one. But seeing as a small miniature eats a lot less, it would make sense a full size draft would eat more. It really depends on what you feed her and what you are doing with her. If she will eat off a round bale and graze pasture and be used minimally (untill she is old enough to start training) then you don't really have to worry too much. Personally, I don't feed my horses grain regularly. If I see them declining or when I start working with them regularly I will get them on a graining schedule.

Not too different than horses, so I wouldn't sweat it too much. Good luck with your filly! I love drafts so much and wish I could own one for myself.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-02-2012, 01:55 AM
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Getting it right on a rapidly growing draft can be tough at times. They do need more overall but with too much, their growth can be explosive. As she's a spotted, she is basically 1/2 draft. I've never seen one over 16 H and not nearly as heavy in build so that's to your advantage. You're not going to manage her alot differently than any light horses you've raised. She shouldn't require extra concentrates above and beyond what you would normally provide but she will eat about 50% more hay. You should know about where she falls Ca:P and how much Ca is in the diet as she has a decent amount of bone to lay down. I like some alfalfa for this reason. She'll actually be slower overall in the maturation process eventhough she looks and feels like a giant.
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-02-2012, 02:02 AM
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Make sure that your horse gets access to lots of hay and lots of water. They tend to eat and drink a lot more than the average horse due to their size. Other than that, there isn't much of a difference.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-09-2012, 08:37 PM
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I've had my draft cross since he was 11 mos. old and fed him alfalfa/grass hay and a jr. feed when he was younger and then when he hit about 3 we switched to all grass hay and a regular supplemental pellet. He is now about 17.3 and eats about 6 flakes of grass hay a day. He could probably get by on less but I like to feed him as close to nature as possible since we don't have grass so I try to keep some hay in front of him to nibble most of the day. I avoid alfalfa because in CA it is very high in calcium and also to avoid issues some drafts have with tying up or EPSM.

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-09-2012, 08:55 PM
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well i do not own a draft but i have a large paint and he eats more then my other two. and i know my friends 18+hh horse eats way more hten the rest.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-10-2012, 11:49 AM
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Great resource for draft nutrition is Dr. Beth Valentine's
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-10-2012, 01:09 PM
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big gray is right get the book it saved my draft horse draft horse do not eat like other horse there is an oil diet that they do very well on draft horse village is a good site to check out everybody they know how to feed drafts

ride a draft and see the world differently
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-10-2012, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
Make sure that your horse gets access to lots of hay and lots of water. They tend to eat and drink a lot more than the average horse due to their size. Other than that, there isn't much of a difference.
There's the big thing. All horses should have enough hay or grazing to keep their cut working most of the day.

Don't know about spotted draft, but most draft and their crosses tend to be easy keepers, so the challange is keeping them from putting on too much weight. My two Friesian/Saddlebred crosses are more filled out (e.g. one about 16.3, 1350 lbs) than two TB I know, but the TB owners are giving their horses more feed (same I that I use) and a more fattening hay always available. Easy keeper vs hard keeper.

If your horse is very easy keeper you'll need to watch the weight until you get the rate correct. Had to take mine off of alphalfa mix hay and use a low quality, and even with that one is still trying to put on more weight. Keeping their gut working, without putting on excess weight can be a challange. Since my are pasture kept they can eat all the time, so I have to regulate the amount of feed (and work them more). Plenty of water is critical for digestion.
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