so what ya'll are saying is, if I have a horse underweight I can take him off his sweetfeed(grain) that he is on now and just give him alfafia pellets, rice bran or flax seed and a vit. supplement, because my new rescue needs weight and I have him on the same feed the old owner had him on which is obs racing blend(its a sweetfeed) and he always seems wired from the sugar in it, and plus I hate sweet feeds.With all ya'll responds on here it is kinda confusing, but I am really interested in changing his feed,so if someone could pm me and let me know I would really appreciate it.
Yes! You definitely can! Taking mine off the grain and feed has helped their weight and attitudes tremendously!
Use the rest of your bag of grain. Mix half and half with alfalfa pellets (make sure they have NO molasses in them). Give that for a week. Then over the next week, slowly decrease the grain and increase the AP until you're giving him all Alfalfa pellets. You can feed up to 6-8 lbs of Alfalfa pellets a day. Or, if he won't eat that much, you can feed 4-5 lbs of AP mixed with 3-4 lbs of beet pulp (dry or soaked). Split it between two meals if he won't finish it all.
Really though, most horses will gain weight with just 4-6 lbs of Alfalfa pellets a day, with the fat below, as long as you're feeding as much hay and pasture as he wants. A 3qt feed scoop will hold 3-3.5 lbs of most Alfalfa pellets.
Next, add in a fat supplement (flax, rice bran, or corn oil). You can use whole or ground flax (I like NutraFlax from horsetech.com), any form of rice bran, or plain corn or veggie oil. Start with 1/2 cup per day for a few days, then increase to a full cup. You want to work your way up to either 2 cups of flax, 2 lbs of rice bran, or 2 cups of oil.
For the vitamin supplement, you can use something like Uckele's Equi-Base Grass, SmartPak's Smart Vita Maintenence Grass, Select II, or NutriPlus++ (the most complete out of all of them). All of these provide full nutrition for a horse not receiving fortified grain.
My horses have done beautifully on a grain-free diet. My hard keeper keeps his weight on with only 2 lbs of Alfalfa pellets and 1/2 cup of fat a day, my fatso mare no longer gets so chunky, they are both calmer, their feet and coats are awesome, my mare's PMS is barely there, and they both have plenty of energy for whatever I ask of them. Plus, I SAVE money! My feed bill is cheaper than it was before, because I'm not having to buy as much food, it's cheaper food, and I'm not having to buy as many extra supplements: no more hoof/coat, calming, PMS, or weight gain supplements!!!