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No grain?

This is a discussion on No grain? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        10-29-2009, 04:11 PM
      #11
    Showing
    More hay, less grain, not no grain at all.

    If you have an ulcer-prone horse, every good vet I've ever known recommends a complete feed, fed in small amounts 3 to 4 times a day, with as much hay as the horse will eat.

    Vet technicians are not veterinarians, so I'd take anything a non-professional says with a grain of salt. Grain, get it? Haha! God, I crack me up....
         
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        10-29-2009, 04:16 PM
      #12
    Trained
    Really, the "cheapest" way to manage an ulcer prone horse is to move him to somewhere where he can be outside in a large field with other horses in a "natural" setting with as close to free choice forage as possible.
    If you want to manage him while he is being stalled, then you're going to be forking out hundreds of dollars a month.
         
        10-29-2009, 04:17 PM
      #13
    Trained
    LOL, true. But veterinarians are not nutritionists. In fact most of them get less than a full day of nutrition training in their 4 years of schooling. Right now I (animal science undergrad) have had more equine nutrition hours in school then your average veterinarian gets. That's really sad.

    Hopefully you have access to a veterinarian who goes above and beyond to learn additional information. And uses a source other than a feed company.
         
        10-29-2009, 04:18 PM
      #14
    Banned
    Having been at a hunter barn filled with OTTBs with no turn out for a good chunk of time I have known many a person dealing with ulcer issues.

    I have never ever heard a vet say no grain for any of them.

    Yes, free choice hay if at all possible. The goal is no empty stomach at any time.

    And grain as needed to keep weight because what good is an ulcer free horse that is skin and bones to anyone? And no, not all horses can keep their weight on even free choice hay, even good hay.

    If grain is needed in any amount it is best to divide it into as many small meals as was possible for the situation. Usually the vet said two was good enough if that was all that was available. Three was better. Four was even better.

    Again, I have never heard a vet say no grain at all. There would be lots of horribly underweight horses if that was the case.
         
        10-29-2009, 04:23 PM
      #15
    Trained
    I've spoken with many vets who say no grain at all. Of course they also recommend increasing the quality and quanity of hay too. More alfalfa or higher grade alfalfa. This will almost always take care of the weight problem. You can't expect a hard keeper to gain weight on a limited quanity of lower quality grass hay.

    But if you cannot do that, Always behind and Speedracer are right that it is best to split it into many small feedings throughout the day. And I know in some areas it is really hard to get good quality hay (not a problem in my area ).

    Sorry I'm splitting off here.
         
        10-29-2009, 07:38 PM
      #16
    Banned
    Alright I'm going to try and answer all of the questions that I've read.....

    As of today, I have zero dollars extra to spend on him. I'm currently looking for a higher paying/second job with the same pay so I can afford to take care of him. Tough economy, made tougher when you're 19 and no one wants to hire you.

    If he was able to be on 24/7 turnout, I don't think that would help....since theres no grass, he can't graze, and all he does is crib. On top of that, he bullies the horses he has been previously turned out with, or they get in to fights with each other, which is why he's on night turn out in a pasture by himself.

    I currently have him on Joint Combo Hoof and Coat, Optizyme, and the U-Gaurd. I previously had him on Hoof HF, Forta-Flex with H/A for joints, and Super 13 for the coat in addition to the Optizyme.....anyway I look at it, its about the same amount of money. I know he's getting more than the minimum amount of hay needed, unless four flakes for an 1000 pound horse isn't rationally accurate. He gets Alfalfa in the AM, and Alfalfa/Tifton in the PM.

    He's acting silly because he's an OTTB, and has only been off the track for a year and change. I'm the first one to actually ask him to do something other than run his heart out, so he's going to act like a green horse with half a brain even without the grain....he'll just look skinny.

    I have called his vet, who hasn't seen him crib ever (at his old place, he was on 24/7 pasture with a hot wire running along the fence line and around any convenient trees) and so he says we would need to scope his stomach in order to officially diagnose him and offer additional advice. Again, I don't have the money to pay for the sedation or the scope, or even the trip out to my barn.

    The hay we do use is actually excellent quality, its all organic, compressed and it smells like you'd want to eat it. Its definitely a step up from the regular bales we used to get.
         
        10-29-2009, 08:38 PM
      #17
    Trained
    In my opinion, take him off the supplements and up the hay. Stop feeding him the Safe Choice and change it to alfalfa pellets or just up the hay again. Flakes can be very pretty widely in weight, so is there a way you can weigh the hay? I don't have any experience with compressed bales (I feed large rectangular ones) so I don't know how much they weight.

    Do you have any stall toys for him? Or possibly feed him some hay in the stall. I've heard of some people double bagging the hay in hay bags so it takes him longer to eat the hay (he'll be busier longer).

    I feel your pain in the money dept... broke ass college student myself. If I didn't live at home and get to board for free there I would have to sell.
         
        10-29-2009, 08:59 PM
      #18
    Banned
    He does have a stall toy, it even smells like apples which are his favorite, and when I put it in there he looked at it like it was an abomination to all of horsekind. He has a very serious and to the point personality. He gets all of his hay in the stall anyway, if I do get the extra bales for myself I plan on bagging it, but if I pay the extra money per month on board, then he'll be getting the same compressed bales he usually get, which are hard to bag and just go on the stall floor.

    I'll have to ask my BO how much they determined one of the flakes weighed. We do have alfalfa pellets as an option for feed, but guess what? More money! Lol. She usually reserves them for our geriatric group.....they also get the front pasture which has all of the grass

    If I do take him off the supplements, I would only take him off the U-guard (to see if more food equals less cribbing) and just put him on a singular joint supplement...I'm debating on the pro biotic because that was vet recommended, and it lasts me like 2 1/2 months for 20 bucks. I interviewed for a job today that was 10.00/hour just sitting on the phone, and I've also put in resumes at the local vet hospitals....hopefully I'll get something and be able to determine exactly what my next step is going to be.
         
        10-29-2009, 09:47 PM
      #19
    Trained
    Quote:
    Again, I have never heard a vet say no grain at all. There would be lots of horribly underweight horses if that was the case.
    Lol! Grain is NOT the only feed that will help hard-keepers gain and keep weight. Oils are high in fat - Better fats than grains in a lot of cases. Copra is a dried coconut meal that is high in coconut oil and is safe for horses who need to be off grain - I.e. Low in NSC.

    I have taken all my horses off grain recently, as the research I did about one of my horses tying up convinced me that grain does more harm than good. They are now on hay, beet-pulp and copra, and all fat and happy.
         
        10-29-2009, 11:27 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    There is a very good informational video on the Horse.com about ulcers. The veterinarian on the video says to keep them in free choice hay if stalled, and give alfalfa as well, as it acts like an antacid. It's a lengthy video but well worth the watch.

    Keep him on the probiotics!!!!
         

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