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Alfalfa for weight gain?

This is a discussion on Alfalfa for weight gain? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • How does alfalfa pellets make a horse gain weight?
  • Feeding alfalfa pellets compared to finishing touch

 
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    06-16-2009, 07:27 PM
  #11
Green Broke
When I was trying to put weight on my rescue horse, I fed him half a scoop of Alfalfa Pellets along with Omolene 200. I think the Alfalfa pellets did wonders so I'm sure the hay form would do the same. But it's not the best in my opinion. If you want him to gain weight, I recommend Purina's Amplify supplement. It is formulated for hard keepers and horses that don't gain weight easily. My mare is on that plus Ultium and flax seed twice a day.
     
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    06-16-2009, 07:30 PM
  #12
Started
We feed the alfalfa in the am and grass at night so that if anything was to happen b/c of the "richer" feed we would see it ... also sometimes alfalfa make the Tb's a little hotter :) I agree with the beet pulp.

Would you say Dean is a hard keeper? If he is on free choice hay that should put some weight on unless he decided that he doesn't want that... I have a QH who just doesn't want any more grass mixture hay but if you put alfalfa in his stall he will eat it- but then I have a OTTB who is an easy keeper, she eats it all and isn't lacking any weight lol

Good luck!
     
    06-16-2009, 10:54 PM
  #13
Weanling
He is the hardest keeper I have ever owned. :P He will eat as much bermuda as I give him unless he decides to pee on it grrrr but we have a hay net now because of that. Talking about pissing your money away :P

We used alfalfa pellets for a while, but I never saw any difference so I just stuck with beet pulp. It has really worked well on his topline, he just has these pesky ribs still sticking out.

Get this, someone told me to let him free feed oatmo to put on weight. Riight, because everyone wants a foundered horse.

What about using Cool Calories?
     
    06-16-2009, 11:16 PM
  #14
Weanling
Whats the fat content of the Ultium?

When I've needed to put weight on, I will go with either Buckeye Trifecta which offers "cool" calories @ 14% fat and I've also had luck with Masterfeeds Finishing Touch which is 18% fat

Past a certain point though, you can't stuff any more fat into them as they will simply back off their feed

I have never had much luck with BP to be honest. Its high fibre but low fat. I'd almost be inclined to go to a nightly feed and get the fat content up instead

Also - if you up the protein via alfalfa pellets, you will then have LOTS of very expensive urine to muck out as the higher protein in the alfalfa = more urine output ... And higher protein does not equal weight gain either - whatever they don't need will simply be peed out each day ...
     
    06-16-2009, 11:17 PM
  #15
Started
You can increase the beet pulp up to about 8lbs :)
     
    06-17-2009, 10:12 AM
  #16
Weanling
Sorry - I will respectfully disagree on increasing the BP to 8 lbs a day unless it is being split into 3 feedings

A horse's stomach can only hold 5 lbs at a time, so if you have 4 lbs of BP in there, plus 2.5 lbs of Ultium, the BP is going to push the Ultium out of there quicker than it can be digested and absorbed

And BP has no fat content - just high suger - so I am still puzzled as to why THAT would be increased and not the fat content when the OP is trying to put weight on this horse???
     
    06-17-2009, 03:54 PM
  #17
Started
Beet pulp is fiber!! Not far and honestly sugar starch content is very LOW on it
NSC on Beet pulp is 11%

He is already getting 2 cups of rice bran oil which IMO is pushing the upper limits on fat if not over what should be feed
     
    06-17-2009, 06:09 PM
  #18
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosie9r    
Is it better to feed alfalfa and night or in the morning if you are putting weight on a horse? I was told to put him on alfalfa to up his protein content...

Peggysue, are you out there?? Hehe :)

(Dean gets free choice Bermuda, 5 lbs Ultium, 5 lbs beet pulp, 2 cups rice bran oil, free access to salt lick, and a probiotic daily. Teeth were floated on Friday, worm free culture, no ulcers.)

Dean's weight gain is so slow. A lot of it is because he never stops moving around, he no longer weaves (yay!) but he always has ants in his proverbial pants...so I am trying to get on top of the calories he burns.. if that makes sense. But I also do not want a hot OTTB.
If he's hot, I'd take him OFF the Ultium. It made my TBxArab gelding high as a KITE! Instead, I'd have him on the beet pulp plus 3-5 lbs of Alfalfa pellets, 1 cup rice bran oil (2 cups is a bit much), the probiotic, and a vitamin supplement design for horses not getting fortified grain. Something like Select II, Balance II, SmartPak's SmartVite Maintanence Grass, Uckele's Equi-Base Grass, etc. I've tried all of these with my horses and they seem to work about the same. The Uckele's has a probiotic in it and yeast cultures, so you could cut out your probiotic if you went with that one.

This basic, low-energy diet has really helped to calm down my hyper boy and he put on weight VERY quickly! Still safely, but much more quickly than I had anticipated. He's calmer, has a better work ethic, is less pooky, but still has plenty of energy to work and is getting enough to gain weight.

Once he's up to a good weight, you can cut out the beet pulp, cut the oil back to 1/2 cup, and leave him there. You can play around with the amount of alfalfa pellets if he gains too much or starts losing. My 15.2h Anglo maintains his weight on just 1.5-2 lbs of Alfalfa pellets when not working, 2.5-3lbs when we're working moderately.
     
    06-17-2009, 06:12 PM
  #19
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosie9r    
He does not have a pasture to play in, he does not get turn out til the evening after I get off work. The theory (I was told) about feeding him alfalfa at night was so that he felt more full over night...but he has free choice bermuda anyway so Im not sure that even matters.
You're right, it doesn't really matter since he's getting free choice hay.

Is there any way you can move him somewhere that will give him daily turnout for 6 hours or more a day? That will really help his sanity and overall health, which will help his weight gain ultimately.
     
    06-17-2009, 06:18 PM
  #20
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosie9r    
Alrighty, I will just leave him on his beet pulp then. Thanks Peggy, you came thru for me before when I first got him and he has gained a lot since then.
Alfalfa has better nutrition than beet pulp and is high in amino acids, which are needed to build muscle and gain weight. You can feed up to 8 lbs of alfalfa daily for most horses, without any risk of colic or founder. Many horses do fine on even more. When I lived in your area, I fed AM and PM hay as straight alfalfa (worked out to about 10-15 lbs a day), with lunch hay of Bermuda (about 5 lbs). No grain, just beet pulp mixed with rice bran and a vitamin supplement. It worked well to put weight on my OTTB.

However, with the things I have learned since then, I agree that free choice Bermuda is better, with Alfalfa to supplement that. Alfalfa has more nutrients and amino acids than Bermuda, which helps to fill in those nutritional gaps.

Feeds and grains are high in sugar and energy. It's like giving a kid a power bar and a coke. He'll have enough calories and nutrition, but he'll be bouncing off the walls . The more feed you give a hot horse, the more hyper they become, the more the metabolism revs up, which makes them burn more energy, which makes them need more food. It's a viscous cycle. The only way to break it is to stop all "hot" feeds and go back to a forage and fiber based diet.

Make sure your beet pulp (and alfalfa pellets) are the kind that do NOT have any molasses in them.
     

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