Feed Question

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Feed Question

This is a discussion on Feed Question within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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  • 1 Post By Speed Racer

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    01-10-2013, 11:22 AM
Feed Question

You know how feed companies say to feed a minimum of "xyz" amount of lbs per weight of horse? I have been told that if you do not feed the minimum your horse isn't getting all of the benefits/nutrients of the feed. I have my senior mare on 3 lbs of Triple Crown senior and it is plenty aside from her hay (forage first with me.) She would get over weight if I gave her more. So, tell me this, if I eat a half of a banana am I not getting nutritional benefits from it as opposed to eating a whole one? What if I only need a half of a banana? Eat healthy but less of, maintain a balanced decent weight, right?

I have always wondered if money/sales were part of pushing higher amounts.
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    01-10-2013, 11:28 AM
I feed for the best needs of the horse, not by what the bag states.

Their main diet is hay, and they only get feed to supplement whatever vitamins and minerals may be missing in the hay. So no, I don't go by the 'recommended' amounts on the bags.

As far as it being to make more money, I have no comment on that. Could be true, but there's nothing factual at this point that I've seen on which to base those allegations.
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    01-10-2013, 11:32 AM
Green Broke
From my understanding you feed according to the bag to get the full amount of nutrients the bag states they will get. Since complete feeds are usually based off little to no hay in the diet they are made to give complete nutrition based on those recommended amounts.
    01-10-2013, 11:37 AM
A horse's main source of nutrition should come from forage (grass/ hay). Forage provides more nutrients than most people would think. If you get it analyzed, you can see exactly what is in it. I feed an almost all-forage diet, and only supplement the minerals that are lacking from the forage in a small amount feed--this is much healthier for horses than feeding a large amount of concentrates. Plus, it's a lot cheaper!

    01-10-2013, 11:45 AM
Forage is by far the best. It keeps the gut healthy, since food is eaten slowly over longer periods, and means that the stomach isn't left empty between feeds, which can lead to all sorts of health issues.

There are many different methods of horse care out there that are used, and to each his own, but I would not feed the full recommended amount on the bag unless I absolutely had NO choice and not enough hay. I seldom feed complete feeds, and never at the recommended dosages, and have not had one colic or digestional issue ever in any of my herd. And they are all healthy with plenty of energy for their jobs.
    01-10-2013, 11:57 AM
Most manufacturers calculate by the minimum recommended amount of hay, 1% of bodyweight, so feeding their feed in their recommended amount would give all necessary nutrients. I have seen feeds who actually say to substract one pound of feed for every two pounds of additional hay fed. And also that, if you go below the minimum recommended amount of their feed, to switch to another, usually a ration balancer.
I personally have never fed recommended amounts of any feed, because I feed free choice hay. My feeds are measured in ounces rather than pounds.
Good hay, from what I've read recently, does provide all nutrition, unless there is a shortage of certain minerals in the soil where the hay is grown. That should be supplemented.
I have my super easy keeper on ration balancer now, and my normal keeper on RB and triple crown senior, 2 lbs. Before the RB I gave half if recommended amount of a vit/ min. They are both in good condition, bright, good hooves and are super shiny and dappled.
    01-10-2013, 12:46 PM
Most Senior formulations assume that your horse can't eat hay or is old enough to have a compromised digestive system and they try to compensate for that in the feed and so they say if you aren't feeding the recommended levels, you aren't getting all the nutrition from the feed. True statement as far as it goes.

Here's the feeding directions right off the Triple Crown Site:
"Triple Crown Senior is designed for horses that have difficulty consuming hay and traditional horse feeds in pelleted or textured form due to damaged or worn teeth. The nutrient concentration of Triple Crown Senior has also been adjusted to provide a greater allowance to older and other metabolically challenged horses that sometimes experience difficulty in digesting and/or metabolizing normal feedstuffs, minerals and vitamins.

IF YOUR HORSE CAN EAT HAY: Provide good quality hay and/or pasture, salt, and fresh, clean water on a free-choice basis. Adjust the amount of Triple Crown Senior fed on a daily basis in order to maintain the horse’s body condition at a moderate level. Begin with approximately 6 pounds of Triple Crown Senior per day and then adjust up or down as needed after 2 to 4 weeks in order to maintain desired body condition. Do not feed more than 5 pounds of Triple Crown Senior at a single meal. Allow 3 to 4 hours between meals when feeding 4 to 5 pounds of Triple Crown Senior at a single meal."

I would probably use a different feed if your horse is able to eat a substantial amount of hay.
    01-10-2013, 02:13 PM
I read what's on the feed bag. A Triple Crown rep did not tell me this, a rep did though. She was on low starch but was losing weight. She is vetted annually and her health aside from having a past with laminitis is good. I like their senior feed, doing good on it.
    01-10-2013, 02:28 PM
Super Moderator
I'm not sure which complete feeds would be instead of hay or grazing - not the ones I've ever used anyway as to get enough fibre to maintain a healthy digestion would involve feeding huge amounts.
I don't feed the total recommended amount but even if I did my horses would still have empty stomachs for a huge part of the day
Most horses in light work will do just fine on good hay alone with grazing where available and as per any restrictions for things like laminitis and obesity
If you are concerned your horse is lacking in something - based on health and overal appearance/performance you could put a mineral lick somewhere or buy a good supplement to top up what you think is deficient when feeding the reduced amount
    01-10-2013, 02:39 PM
She has a mineral lick.

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