Bran mash? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-13-2010, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: alberta
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Question Bran mash?

so rena does not eat ANYTHING we give her, haha only oats (strictly no mineral) and hay, and sometimes she doesnt even eat her oats, so me and my mom tryed every kind of feed we could but for a reasonable price around here. One lady recomended bran mash, so we tryed it, and rena loved it! she sticks her nose in the bucket and doesnt come up for air (ha ha)
The only reason we want to feed her something is because she gets myristol for her joints, and can get skinny in the winter (she is blanketed)
so bran mash worked.... but my mom remembers reading somewhere how bran mash, in large loads, can hurt the horses digestive system, or somehow be bad for them. I know, a large amount of any feed can be bad for them, but we are feeding only a teensy bit right now and wanted to feed her more. is bran bad for them??
thank you for replies!

p.s. she eats very slowly, haha shes not food driven in any way!

If there are no horses in heaven... im not going.
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-13-2010, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USDF Region 1, USEA Area 2, USEF Zone 3 - Maryland
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I personally don't feed bran mashes, but here's an article about them that was in Equus:

Bran mashes will not protect your horse's digestive health. In fact, rice bran or wheat bran confer few, if any, health benefits for horses and carry some risks.

Bran is believed to have a laxative effect in people, but to get the same effect in a horse, you'd have to feed huge amounts of it-more than he could eat. Some horses do produce softer stools the day after eating bran, but this probably reflects bran's tendency to irritate the lining of equine intestines. If fed daily over a long period of time, bran may actually contribute to the formation of enteroliths.

But the bigger danger of feeding too much bran to horses lies in what it can do to the dietary calcium-phosphorus ratio. The two most abundant bodily minerals, calcium and phosphorus work together to build sound bones and assist muscle function. To do so, however, they must be absorbed in appropriate proportions by the body, which means that when a horse ingests phosphorus, he must also ingest an equal or, preferably, slightly greater amount of calcium.

If there's not enough calcium to match the phosphorus in a bran-fed horse's daily feed, his body will pull extra calcium from his bones in order to balance the excess phosphorus in his gut. If a horse gets too much phosphorus over too long a period, his body will take so much calcium from the bones that it weakens the skeleton and leads to bone disorders such as "big head." Grass hays such as timothy and orchardgrass contain the exact ratio of calcium to phosphorus that horses need; wheat bran and rice bran contain about 10 times too much phosphorus, on a per pound basis.

That said, an occasional hot bran mash won't harm your horse, and he'll likely relish the treat. Likewise, small amounts of bran can be incorporated into the daily diet, as long as the horse gets enough calcium from his other food sources.
Hope it helps!

Mom to 3 bays: Beau, Daisy & Cavalina
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-13-2010, 03:25 PM
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Location: East Texas
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If your horse has an issue with eating concentrate feeds and is very picky, you need to consider that there might be something going on to cause it. Any horse that doesn't eat the bottom out of a bucket should cause concern.

If you haven't already, have her teeth checked and talk to your vet about the possibility of gastric ulcers as well. Alot of horses with ulcers won't show any symptoms other than being picky about feed (not hay).

If you need something you can feed to go along with supplements, try either a ration balancer which is a forage based protein/vitamin/mineral supplement type feed designed to be given at the rate of 1-3 lbs a day. These supplemental feeds are concentrate sources of necessary nutrients to compensate for what is generally lacking in hay. The other option would be to try a complete feed like Purina Equine Senior, Adult or Junior, all of which are high in fiber and can be softened to make a mash with the addition of a little warm water.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-13-2010, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Location: alberta
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thanks guys!
we bought her from a friend, who is also a vet,and she has been a picky eater all her life, its just the way she is. :) we will definitly keep all this in mind

If there are no horses in heaven... im not going.
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