Grain, help!

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Grain, help!

This is a discussion on Grain, help! within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Really skiny horses
  • Can horses do fine on hay alone with grain as a treat

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    05-15-2008, 10:26 AM
Grain, help!

What is the best, all natural grain that I can give Sonny.

Currently he's on Blue Seal...but as I was reading the ingrediants the word "By-Product" popped I'm a huge pet food health nut and the minute I saw that I freaked hehe.

Anyone know some good, all natural grain with a fairly high protien content? Or average protien content?

Also, the guy at the store where I got my grain said that Sonny would do fine on a 14% protien...but is it better to keep the protien low?

Edit: also, if this helps, Sonny only gets grained maybe 3-4 times a week..he really only gets is when I bring him up to his stall to tack him up. I'm thinking of having him get grained every day but only 2 handfuls a day.

Is if better to give them grain every day? Or just give them it occasionally?
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    05-15-2008, 10:37 AM
Super Moderator
I'm huge on feeding "what works" so I'm not a hundred % sure I know what I'm talking about, I personally use purina because when I was dealign with all my sandcolic and tummy issues with Pistol, the equine senior brand "fixed" alot of his issues... so that is MY brand... BUT... I THINK.... Pennfield is all natural? I think....
    05-15-2008, 11:02 AM
Green Broke
Keep in mind too, that by-products in horse feed is not the same as by-products in dog food :)

That said, I don't know any off of the top of my head other than oats, but I do know that it is definitely better to feed on a consistent basis and not on an occasional one.

Then again, if he is an easy keeper and does not get that much when you get him (more like a treat sized portion), I don't think it would matter much. (IMO)

Horses don't need tons of protein...I'd shoot for something middle of the road.

ETA: Most horses don't need tons of protein...there are some that do, but most don't :)
    05-15-2008, 11:07 AM
First, nothing makes "all natural grains" better for horses--horses wheren't designed to eat grains and they are high in non-structural carbs (sugars and starchs) which your horse really doesn't need unless you are asking for lots of performance. And even then you would be better off providing energy in the form of fat. Grains are REALLY high in NSC's--especially corn and oats.

By-products can be fine for feeding--they are just what isn't used from a feedstuff for some other purpose. It's a matter of knowing what kind of use your horse can make from the by-products--can he digest them and do they provide a healthy source of nutrients.

How much protein your horse needs in his feed is dependant on what type of forage he is getting. Horses need between 10-12% protein in their overall diet for maintenance. So if you are feeding a hay with a lower protein content you will need to supply a higher protein feed in quantities sufficient to balance out the protein content of the overall diet. Or if you are feeding a forage with a protein content in the 10-12% range then you likely don't need any protein supplementation--mainly vitamin and mineral.

Do decide what to feed your horse, you need to consider how easily your horse keeps on weight, what type/quality of forage he is getting, how much work he is expected to do and if there are nay special medical/nutritional needs. So you need to start by assessing what he is already getting.
    05-15-2008, 06:08 PM
I don't know the percentage of protien that's in the hay Sonny gets...and I'm sure it isn't all the same.

Ryle, would I be better off just continuing to use the grain as a "stall" treat (meaning he only gets one cup full of grain when he goes in a stall...he only is in a stall when I go up to ride him, which is 3-4 days a week)...would should it be best if I just cut out grain all together?

Sonny usually can keep weight on fairly well...but I want him to gain a few pounds...he's at a fairly good weight, but I want him a tiny bit heavier
    05-16-2008, 11:47 PM
Our mares have free choice hay and a cup of 10% or 12% protein feed per day. Simple, nothing fancy. They're all very easy keepers...healthy, never colic. If anything, if they're not worked enough because of the weather, they will put on the pounds.
    05-17-2008, 04:06 PM
I'm going to see how much more my BO would charge me if I had her give Sonny a bale a feeding (that would technically be free choice I would think). But he doesn't seem to be getting much fatter with extra hay.
And I'd like to not give him extra grain if possible, though I will if need be

Sonny is an easy keeper...but he tends to be more on the skinny side...

It's hard to tell if he's actually skinny or if it's just the way his fur makes it appear...he does appear ribby, but he appears more so in a picture than in real life.
It's really confusing hehe
    05-17-2008, 06:35 PM
Ideally you should feel ribs but not see them. Feeding a couple of handfuls of grain occasionally won't hurt your horse unless he has a sensitivity to sugars etc. It won't help him gain either tho. He does look a tad ribby there but as you say, in person he doesn't seem to show it.. I'd want a tad more weight on him too if he was mine. BUT, if you don't ride often or work him hard he should do fine on hay alone. I would add alfalfa pellets or cubes regularly over grain.. I'm not a grain fan for most horses. What type of hay is your horse getting? You can look up the basic protein percentage online for most hays. It may not be exact but unless your horse is fed hay from the same source daily it's not worth getting it assayed. Beet pulp is also a good supplemental feed that will not make a horse hot etc. I try to get the no molasses added type when I use it.
    05-17-2008, 06:57 PM
I have noooo idea what type of hay she gets...all I know she plays $4 a bale for the hay...if that helps at all
    05-17-2008, 08:03 PM
Super Moderator
Is sonny in his own paddock or does he share? You could always ask if she minds if you can put a round bale out there, then he can eat freely, you'll just have to be mindful he doesnt end up with a hay belly

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