Help! Horses eating redwood trees! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 09-29-2013, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
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In the US, grass hay can have a nutrient level ranging from very low to quite high. 'Improved grasses' like Bermuda Grass can be quite high in protein a quite nutrient dense. It is affected a lot by fertilization and stage that it is cut. The earlier it is cut, the higher the protein content. Regardless of how it is grown and cut, most grasses are very low in Calcium.

Cereal grain hays are usually very high in sugar content and quite nutrient dense if cut early. They are also low in Ca and high in P.

Clover, Alfalfa and other legumes are much higher in Ca and, if cut and cured right, are also higher in protein. Some kinds of clover are very difficult to get cured well and can be dusty. Some clover can also make horses slobber and drool.

Generally, a person's feeding program must be built around the forage that is available in any given area and must be built around any metabolic issues a horse may have. Mature grass hay is really safe to feed mature horses and can usually be fed free choice. Nutrient dense hays must be fed in smaller portions because horses will over-eat it and get obese. Most grains are very high in P and very low in Ca. One can easily add protein to a horse's feed if they need it and one can add Ca, Mg and vitamins.. There is no way to take out any nutrients.
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post #12 of 15 Old 09-29-2013, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: CA
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The feed store we buy from only has one mix of grass and alfalfa. Sometimes it's 50:50, sometimes closer to 80:20. We get whatever they have at the moment. It's really good quality stuff.

I'm discussing options with my dad. We're thinking electric fence, but I'm also going to feed them more often and put their food in slow feeders.

So Cherie, you think they might need more calcium? Should I get a bale of alf and feed them some daily...?
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-29-2013, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: CA
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And thanks for all the advice and ideas, everyone. I really appreciate it. :)
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-29-2013, 07:57 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
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they are definitely missing something in their diet, or not getting enough of it

"It is the difficult horses that have the most to teach you" - Double Dan Horsemanship
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post #15 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 08:48 AM
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The quickest and most effective way to see if it is Ca and Mg is to get a loose mineral that has both and has only about 1/4 as much P as Ca.

Do you have any cattle raising areas near you? Go to a feed store that sells livestock supplies and feed. There are literally dozens of loose mineral formulas formulated for livestock producers. The minerals with Mg and high levels of Ca in them are usually labeled for 'Grass Tetany' or as a 'Wheat Pasture Mineral'. I would not use one that is more than 2-3% Mg. Most of these kinds of minerals contain about 25% salt and about 25% Ca, only 5 or 6% P and most have 100,000 to 250,000 IU of Vitamin A per #.

Horses will just gobble it for a while when they really need it. Then they settle in to eating 2-4 oz. of it a day. Pregnant mares, lactating mares and growing horses will eat more. They will almost instantly stop eating wood and trees and dirt when it is available. It also has enough Vitamin A in it to keep horses from getting rain rot in the winter and spring.

The one we use is labeled as an 'Un-medicated Wheat Pasture Mineral'. It should NOT have a red label, which indicates that is is medicated and not suitable for use in horses. The one I use costs $18.00 for a 50# bag unless it is bought in large quantities. It is great stuff and keeps our mature grass hay well-balanced out.

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