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Older horse needs separate feeding area

This is a discussion on Older horse needs separate feeding area within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        09-12-2011, 11:06 AM
    Green Broke
    Many times with the senior horses, it isn't fat calories they are missing but protein.

    If she isn't allergic to soy, buy some soybean meal and add it to what you feed her in the morning.

    Soybean meal has the highest amount of protein and amino acids of anything.

    I feed my 25-1/2 yr old Arab 1/8th cup during the warm months and double that during the cold months.

    I also give him 1-1/2 lbs of well-soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes twice daily, but that is a lot of extra feed to shove down her when you can only be there once a day to hand feed her. So I would try the soybean meal and see if it helps.

    I could easily see her getting trapped in a chute - either because someone is pushing her forward from behind and she can't go anywhere except over the top (and get hung up) or thru it (and get hung up) or kicked to death since it's obvious she is weakening and losing her alpha-dominant role. Also, if she has arthritis it's too difficult for her to back up.

    I really understand your current dilemma but, I am sorry, I just really think an un-attended feeding chute is a bad bad idea for a horse. We only used chutes when we were loading cattle.
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        09-12-2011, 11:07 AM
    Green Broke
    Would it not be easier and safer to put in some step in posts and hot tape to separate her from the others?
    natisha likes this.
        09-12-2011, 11:08 AM
    Can you build some small pen in the pasture, put her in, leave her to eat, then come back and let her out an hour later when she is finished?
        09-12-2011, 11:13 AM
    A friend put up a paddock with push-in rods with non electrified ribbon. It was about 12 x 12. She herself could duck under to get to the gate and let her old girl out to eat on the far side, and close the gate to the others. Worked slick. BTW, if you dampen the pellets until like wet grass she will consume them a little faster as she will find it more comfortable.
        09-12-2011, 01:29 PM
    If it really takes a full hour for her to eat her feed, I would be concerned about her teeth. Have you had them checked recently?

    And adding water to her feed, as Saddlebag suggested might well help.
        09-12-2011, 01:41 PM
    Originally Posted by AlexS    
    If it really takes a full hour for her to eat her feed, I would be concerned about her teeth. Have you had them checked recently?
    Teeth - or lungs. She may have to stop to breath while she is eating.
        09-12-2011, 02:04 PM
    Green Broke
    Divide the 4 pounds into 2 feedings. She'll eat faster & it would be better for her.
        09-12-2011, 02:10 PM
    She's had a full vet check and her teeth are just fine. There are no problems with her lungs. She's just s...l....o....w and has always been slow. She's gracefully transitioning into old age, as I hope to do one day using her example, and there's nothing for her to get aggitated or angry about. My husband has a great idea for dealing with her situation, and we're going to construct it this weekend. We have a 50 gallon Rubbermaid trough that leaks, so it's not in use. He's going to pour cement into the bottom of it to weight it down (tips easily at the hands of our geldings), and then cover one half of the trough with a "lid" so only one horse's head can get in there. She can slowly munch away with no one being able to horn in on her muzzle. The others will have hay for distraction, and I think they eventually will get frustrated enough to give up. It's not that they can make her walk away from food - it's just that she'll share with them if they get their heads in there. I think this is a safe, inexpensive idea that surely worth a shot. I'll let everyone know how we do!
        09-12-2011, 02:16 PM
    If that is the only problem then the standard bucket hung on the fence would be much easier and give the same solution.
        09-12-2011, 02:23 PM
    If you have a barn and a stall your husband could probably rig something up like we have done in our barn, we feed our old guy in the stall and we have the door on a spring so it closes by it's self and when he is finished he just pushes the door open and lets himself out. It works out great because before I was having to fend off the other horses for about 45 minutes while he was eating.

    feeding queries, older horse, thin horse

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