That's a lot to take in, but I can't even begin to say how much I appreciate you all being constructive and helpful instead of the alternative.
I'll read through that Nutrition page too.
I'll see if I can go kind of point-by-point so I don't miss anything:I don't think you missed anything - that was an awful lot to absorb
The photos are current.
He is on regular deworming, but probably I'm not doing that frequently enough...?I only worm my four, three times yearly but they are on 20+ acres and I take fecals to the vet once out of those three times. Which are Spring, late summer or very early Fall, and the old standard "right after the first hard freeze".
They're dewormed 4x per year on the first day of the season so they'll get their next on June 21.
We adopted that schedule based on the suggestion of a relative who has very nice looking horses - no doubts about their weight.
Different horses, different pastures... Different worms?Not so much different worms, although some horses seemed more inclined to pick up some types of worms than other horses. One of the big reasons for having the vet check manure is to see which horse(s) are the highest shedders. In a broad analogy, it's sort of like THIS child is very prone to contracting Impetigo while THAT child can roll on a wrestling mat full of it and not contract it.
I'll call the vet on Monday (already closed for today) and see if they need to see him or just his manure to check the worm situation.Dropping the stool samples off is fine but in this case, if you can afford the vet bill, it might be better to have the vet out to give him a good physical. Include his checking his teeth, even though they were done recently. One of my horses had changes in his teeth within three months of the vet looking at him and needed the molars filed.
He had his teeth floated less than 3 months ago, and that did help with him continuing to gain weight, but he's plateaued at the current level, hence my questions.
Wrong feed is looking increasingly like the problem.Yes, yes, and yes now that SUENH has explained what the stock feed is. Horses need to be on something specially formulated just for them but stay away from sweet feed I have three Walking Horses with varying degrees of metabolic issues so I am dead against anything with grain - that doesn't mean it's wrong for your horse, however - lol. Just read the ingredients label closely and choose a feed that is lower in iron and lower in starch; starch equals "NSC" value or "non-structural carbohydrates". Corn is just chuck full of NSC's When molasses is added to a grain-based feed, it's like giving a ten year old boy a steady diet of HI-C and Hershey Bars
6 cups of All Stock weighs just over 2 pounds.If you put more forage into him, you may not need more than two pounds daily, PROVIDED that two pounds of a bonafide horse feed will give him all his needed supplements.
I have a weight tape now, so I'll see if I can get a decent estimate on him.
He's only 14.2hh if anyone wants to guess based on that.One of my TWH's is 14.3H, has metabolic issues so I keep him "race horse thin". He weighed 975 pounds when I measured him two years ago. I don't weigh him anymore because I know how many ribs I need to see in the sunlight - lol
I don't really have a good way to separate them at feeding time at the moment, so there is definitely some stealing back and forth between
horses. Is there any way possible to stand with them while they eat their feed pan stuff? Holding a riding crop or a nice green tree branch? The TWH really needs to be eating all his feed and the Donk needs to leave him alone - it sounds as if the Donkey is the boss, at least for now.
After way longer than expected, we finally have what we need to put up a round pen/dry lot, so I could feed him in the pen and the rest outside it as soon as it's built.They can share the hay, just spread it in 4 - 5 piles as horses play musical chairs with hay piles. Eventually they all end up at the same piles they started with but the alpha's have to be sure none of the other piles taste better
With the weight he lost, he has been getting no purposeful exercise from me. Only what he does himself. Probably a mistake? Riding him would put some muscle on him but, truthfully, I would wait until he gets some weight on him first.
Good to know about the high hips. After some other reading I did, I suspected that conformation may be playing some role, but I didn't know how much.
I really don't want him to be thin, but I don't want him to be fat either. Most people I know have big built, overweight quarter horses, and it's hard to get them to understand that even at a healthy weight he's not going to look the same. He's not a QH or a "race horse" (TB) so there must be something wrong with him - sigh :(
We had only been giving hay in the winter, so that stopped several weeks ago.Something you can do, to save your hay, is to buy bagged hay. Tractor Supply carries Standlees brand hay cubes and also hay pellets. I've used Standlees for the last two years and can say every bag has been consistently dust-free and I've never opened a moldy bag. I soak the timothy/alfalfa cubes for my two late 20's fellas; one has molar issues, the other doesn't have any molars I feed the timothy pellets to the two Fat Guys who only get one pound of Ration Balancer daily; one pound is all it takes for them to get their needed vit/mins. The timothy pellets are good fillers so they can still be eating, along with the elder Gents. You would have to soak the cubes, then feed right away as they do turn rancid, or you could feed them each a few pounds of pellets twice a day to help make up for not having enough hay. They still need hay or grass for chewing but the hay pellets and cubes are an excellent way to compensate for shortage of forage. To answer your question further down ---- horses are designed to eat forage so giving them more forage than feed is the proper and healthiest thing to do
The only one still getting hay is our mini mare (pregnant). You could even feed her the bagged forage, I'm just not sure about giving her anything with alfalfa. I know nothing about Mini's except how to spell it
We have 1 round bale left before we would need to buy more, so I was saving it for her since she should foal very soon. I can start hand-feeding him from that so the others don't steal it.
We're also having our open fields cut for hay next week, so we won't run out before I could buy more. Instead of saving it for winter, I'll go ahead and let them have it. Even if it's not the best hay, it should be better than nothing.
My honest opinion of the hay is that it will be "good" not "great."
He is turned out 24/7, so he gets grass constantly.
I called the County Office and they're already gone for the day, but Monday I'll see about having the grass tested. It might be easier to gather soil samples, ask your Ag folks which is better and which is cheaper.
I had always thought that his "highlights" were just sun-bleaching.
If it's a lack of copper, what would that do to the mule's coat?If there is a copper deficiency, it also affects the immune system. I am also not familiar with the inner workings of mules. It could be the mule is much more tolerant of mineral deficiencies than the horse
He's in the photos too a bit, and eats the same thing.And he needs off that stock feed, too He can eat whatever you buy for the horse. As someone else commented, PLEASE don't buy DuMor from Tractor Supply. If TSC is your only option, they also sell Purina, Omolene, and Nutrena. If you could tell us what your horse feed options are, within a comfortable driving distance, we should be able to help you find something that will work.
They've had the same deworming schedule, hay, and type of feed, but the mule didn't drop weight and he shed out normally.
Just as far as my budget goes, would he be better off if I invested more into his hay or into his grain? More hay, horses are herbivores and that is what their stomachs and intestines understand. It is we humans who decided they should eat grain
I want to improve both, but I'm not sure the best way to do it.
Whatever is most important, I'll invest more into that and make changes on other things to balance it out it my budget.
I gave up sodas to put my dogs on corn/soy-free food, and I can make changes for my big boys too.I know the feeling and sympathize I am fully retired and was completely blindsided when my first horse was diagnosed with metabolic issues in 2007. Along comes metabolic horse #2 in 2010. Horse #3 has been showing very early warning signs since last year. I have made sacrifices that even my careful planning hadn't planned for I hope this doesn't sound wrong but it's good that you understand about corn/soy-free food with your dogs --- it gives you a good head start on how to feed the horse and mule. Much has changed in the last 15 years when it comes to feeding horses. It's not near as simple as it used to be. You will do just fine
Thank you so much for helping me through this.