Feeding Help & Advice Needed
 
 

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Feeding Help & Advice Needed

This is a discussion on Feeding Help & Advice Needed within the Draft Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Horses deviated breastbone
  • What should i be feeding my draft horse help needed

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    01-28-2013, 09:36 AM
  #1
Foal
Feeding Help & Advice Needed

I know that this may be best under the nutrition heading, but I have a draft and I figured that you would all understand my guy a bit better (5 year old Percheron gelding) so I figured that this would be a better spot. Anyway.... I have been told this week, by 2 different people that my guy looks "skinny." My heart sunk.

So I taped him, I don't have a scale and he taped at 1880 pounds, which is what he weighed in October. He has grown height wise, he was 18.3 early summer, yesterday he was just shy of 19.1 hands.

Oh it's winter, he is not blanketed, never has been, and he has a barn that he has free access to go in and out. He tends to only go in on very cold, windy nights, he hates being in a barn/stall. It has been very cold for the past 2 weeks. He never appears cold, never shivers and sweats even on light rides. He is pretty darn fuzzy!

He has been wormed with a fecal done in November (all clean!) with a fecal scheduled for March before spring, UTD on all shots, teeth floated this fall, etc. He is in the same barn situation with no changes so it's not that he is a new situation.

He currently eats the following per day:
1.5-2 bales of hay (45 pound average bale)
6 pounds of 16% pelleted grain
1/2 cup of flax seed
Vitamin E & Selenium
Biotin
Vitamin B1
Salt in feed as he hates salt blocks

Sorry that this is a longish post. Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time-
     
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    01-28-2013, 10:05 AM
  #2
Foal
Hi! I have a 6-year old percheron cross. There's a saying - "Nothing fattens a horse like his master's eye". Do you have pictues? Can you feel his breastbone in the middle of his chest in front? It should be covered with flesh. I like enough fat over his loin so that behind the saddle his back is flat - -no ridge from the bones. From behind, does his rear look gently rounded out from the highest point to the top of his hip? I would think that if he grew that much he'd be a little heavier now, but I don't know how accurate weight tapes are.
     
    01-28-2013, 10:26 AM
  #3
Foal
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by piglet    
Hi! I have a 6-year old percheron cross. There's a saying - "Nothing fattens a horse like his master's eye". Do you have pictues? Can you feel his breastbone in the middle of his chest in front? It should be covered with flesh. I like enough fat over his loin so that behind the saddle his back is flat - -no ridge from the bones. From behind, does his rear look gently rounded out from the highest point to the top of his hip? I would think that if he grew that much he'd be a little heavier now, but I don't know how accurate weight tapes are.

Great quote! His breast has some flesh but he never really has had a big, meaty chest. His back is flat, he never really has had the Percheron butt, however he is rounded. I am taking pictures tonight for my vet and I will post tomorrow. Thanks for your input!
     
    01-28-2013, 10:33 AM
  #4
Started
Do you think he's underweight? Is he more modern built? Mine tend to go through a growth spurt in the 5-6 age range so they do slim down while they grow than once the growing is done, they'll pack the #s back on. Did you tape him or use the girth X girth X body length divided by 330 formula? I have found the formula to be accurate within about 40# when I've followed up with getting them on a scale.

I would be concerned with the amount you are feeding. Your gelding is eating over 2X what I feed to my drylotted stallion (18H, 2000# and slender build) (everyone else is out on some pasture plus hay diet). I have had him since he was 2 and he's never deviated much from the amount he can and will eat. He never eats more than 40# of hay (normally an alfalfa/grass combo) It has been sub freezing here was well but he has no winter coat. How would you rate the hay and does he clean it up? What type of hay? How cold?
BigGreyHorse likes this.
     
    01-28-2013, 10:42 AM
  #5
Yearling
As piglet said....it's hard to say much without seeing the horse (and many people do think that plumper horses are at the best weight even when they aren't). Personally if I could only have a horse whose either going to be a little lean or a little fat I'd take the lean. When my oldest mare gets to heavy (or when I have to press to feel her ribs) I start working her more and harder. Don't panick if you can see the outline of the ribs as long as they are keeping to that weight and not dropping off more.

Most drafts tend to be easy keepers (however each horse has it's own traits), but if they are growing they will often look lean since they are going up more than out. My younger mare gets fed more, but looks leaner, because she's still growing taller at a greater rate.

In the pictures the older mare (one the left) is almost 100lbs heavier than I want her to be even though she is still well within acceptable limits of the upper weight range for her. The younger mare, still a filly in these pictures taken last year (on the right) is at a text book perfect weight so she could be thinner without being under an acceptable limit.

People often keep their horses heavier than they need to be and should be working them more.
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    01-28-2013, 10:58 AM
  #6
Foal
Thanks!

In the pictures the older mare (one the left) is almost 100lbs heavier than I want her to be even though she is still well within acceptable limits of the upper weight range for her. The younger mare, still a filly in these pictures taken last year (on the right) is at a text book perfect weight so she could be thinner without being under an acceptable limit.

People often keep their horses heavier than they need to be and should be working them more.[/QUOTE]


My guy looks like your filly, the one on the right. I guess that maybe I am just being a nervous mom. I think that he looks okay, just when people make comments you get to thinking!

I don't want a fat draft, just a healthy one! I do work mine, he is ridden 4 or more times per week for an hour or more each time.

Thanks and you have beautiful horses!
     
    01-28-2013, 11:23 AM
  #7
Weanling
Please post pictures because that's a lot of feed. I have two drafts and together they don't eat half that amount.
     
    01-29-2013, 02:08 AM
  #8
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGreyHorse    
Please post pictures because that's a lot of feed. I have two drafts and together they don't eat half that amount.
I second this. I have two FAT drafts and together they don't eat this much. I'd say they each get about 40-50lbs of just hay a day. That's it. Nothing extra. And they are FAT.
     
    01-29-2013, 07:47 AM
  #9
Foal
At five my guy was changing by the hour. One day higher in the frontend, next day higher in the rearend, looked skinny one day, fat the next. He was 6-7 before everything leveled out and he started growing in width. They may also be looking at his height compared to his width, my guy got his width later.
I don't feed that high of protein, I feed 3lbs x 2 of a 12%protein 8% fat. Drafts need the higher fat and not as much protein, and he has access to coastal hay 24/7. My grass isn't the best so they have something to nibble on all the time, I don't feed any of the high protein hay, unless just on occasion I'll get a bale of peanut hay as a treat.
I'm not sure how much fat your feed has, a 2000# draft should be getting about 2lbs of fat per day.
     
    01-29-2013, 10:40 AM
  #10
Foal
That really isn't that much feed. It's more than my guy gets, but it it seems like she's feeding by the instructions on the back of the bag. I assume he eats that much hay because he has free choice hay and it's winter so he'll be consuming more forage... His grain ration I'm assuming split into two feedings, 3lbs of grain each feeding...

Please post pictures. If he does need a bit of weight put him, then I think adding a bit of oil to his grain, rather than increasing his volume, would be best..
     

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