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Proper horse nutrition

This is a discussion on Proper horse nutrition within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Horse nutrition california
  • Alfalfa pellets ca p ration

 
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    08-25-2009, 04:02 PM
  #21
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by aynelson    
Hi everyone! I wanted to pick everyone's brains about horse nutrition. I have been so dissatisfied with molasses and high starch feeds recently, that I took my horses off marketed feeds and put them on hay pellets, alfalfa pellets, flax seeds, and a commercial horse vitamin (they also get orchard grass hay throughout the day). I was amazed that my "hot" horses calmed down and still maintain proper weight.

I hear about people having horses with Insulin Resistance, Cushing's Disease, and other metabolic problems and can't help but look at what we are feeding. So, I wanted to open up a discussion about this matter. What are your favorite feeding programs? A lush pasture is our dream, but when that turns south, what do you do? What are dangerous issues you have faced with improper mineral ratios? I am excited to hear from you!
You just told my story as well . My mare's heats/seasons also got better, my flighty half Arab is a lot more focused, and both horses have a better work ethic.

I feed (nearly) free choice grass hay, some grazing, and one meal a day of: 2-3 lbs alfalfa pellets, 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, and a custom vitamin blend from HorseTech.com. It's about a 4 oz serving (1 measuring cup) and includes 2 oz of their NutraFlax along with:
Per-Serving:
B-Complex (same as in Glazen)
Vitamin A 25,000 IU
Vitamin E 1,500 IU
Vitamin C 1,500 mg
Biotin 10 mg
Iodine (I) 0.63
Iron (Fe) 250 mg
Copper (Cu) 50 mg
Manganese (Mn) 200 mg
Zinc (Zn) 300 mg
Selenium (Se) 2 mg
Cobalt (Co) 2 mg
Magnesium (Mg) 3,000 mg
Potassium (K) 750 mg
DL-Methionine 1,750 mg
L-Lysine 3,515 mg
L-Threonine 1,250 mg

It costs me $154 (free shipping) for a 40 lb sack, which works out to about $0.88 per serving. It was cheaper for me than buying the vitamin and flax separate. If anyone wants to order it, you can call in and ask for "Trial 471". I like it because it is high in the amino acids that are often deficient in grass hay and pasture (in our area). Most vitamin mixes don't have much (if any) amino acids.

It does have Selenium, which is low in our area. You should check with your local cooperative extension service to find out of your state's soil is usually deficient in Selenium before buying any vitamin supplement that contains it.

I have out a mineral salt block, but the horses rarely touch it! And my mare used to be a total CHOW HOUND when it came to salt blocks. She was an "easy keeper" and couldn't have hardly any grain or feed. With just our hay and limited pasture, she would really demolish the red salt blocks... Now she only occassionlly licks on them.

Both horses have great hair coats, long mane and tails, good growth in their feet (no shoes!), and their overall "vim and vigor" is very good. Their attitudes are happy and relaxed.

I will NEVER feed comercially prepared feed/grain again (if I can help it).
     
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    08-25-2009, 04:05 PM
  #22
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicalRomantic    
I believe that I could possibly be dealing with a IR horse. I will try to have her tested in the near future for this but have done some reading and there are special feeds for IR horses. Seminole/Wellness seems to be the best to me. They are low carb feeds. You can visit the website to learn a lot more about their feeds and what ingrediants they have etc.
Avoiding feeds in general is a very easy way to deal with an IR (or suspected IR) horse. You can easily create a balanced diet with hay pellets and vitamins, while totally avoiding grains and high starch feeds.

Now, if your hay is high in sugar, then you'd either need a new hay supplier, or look in to hay cubes along with one of the complete IR feeds that can be fed at the rate of 8-10 lbs a day. This is a much more expensive solution though...
     
    08-25-2009, 04:13 PM
  #23
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979    
Avoiding feeds in general is a very easy way to deal with an IR (or suspected IR) horse. You can easily create a balanced diet with hay pellets and vitamins, while totally avoiding grains and high starch feeds.

Now, if your hay is high in sugar, then you'd either need a new hay supplier, or look in to hay cubes along with one of the complete IR feeds that can be fed at the rate of 8-10 lbs a day. This is a much more expensive solution though...

Thank you for your suggestion! My solutions are kind of limitied being that I board. The research that I have done on the feeds mentioned and also triple crown seemed to be the easiest/best route for me at the moment. The feeds that I have looked at are all low starch and no grains which is what we are shooting for correct? I'm still learning hehe

I have not had the hay tested I don't think it would do much good to be honest because the barn gets hay from maybe 3-4 different suppliers :( she does look 10 times better then when she first came here but I would still like to get her on a low starch diet to be safe for future! Thanks for your help :)
     
    08-25-2009, 04:17 PM
  #24
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicalRomantic    
Thank you for your suggestion! My solutions are kind of limitied being that I board. The research that I have done on the feeds mentioned and also triple crown seemed to be the easiest/best route for me at the moment. The feeds that I have looked at are all low starch and no grains which is what we are shooting for correct? I'm still learning hehe

I have not had the hay tested I don't think it would do much good to be honest because the barn gets hay from maybe 3-4 different suppliers :( she does look 10 times better then when she first came here but I would still like to get her on a low starch diet to be safe for future! Thanks for your help :)
Triple Crown feeds are definitely one of the best on the market. I would put her on the 30% supplement along with some hay pellets (timothy mix pellets would be ideal, alfalfa would be my second choice). You only need 1 lb of the 10% supplement a day. I'd start out on one 3qt feed scoop of hay pellets (about 3 lbs) plus the TC 30% and see how she does. That should be plenty; you might even have to cut back on the hay pellets some.

If it's not enough, you can increase the hay pellets and add some flax (oil, ground, or whole) to her diet. Flax has had some great results with IR horses. You can feed up to 1 lb a day safely (whole or ground), though most people feed 1 cup (4 oz). 1/4 cup of the oil is usually plenty.
     
    08-25-2009, 05:15 PM
  #25
Foal
Luvs2ride1979 - I am so glad you posted! I think your advice several months ago was what initiated me to switch to alfalfa pellets! Thanks a million! I ran into a question about alfalfa pellets: How do you manage the calcium:phosphorus ratio? Some things I have read say alfalfa is excessive in calcium as well as protein. But, I think this is if you feed like 10 lbs a day, right? What do you think?
     
    08-25-2009, 05:37 PM
  #26
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by aynelson    
luvs2ride1979 - I am so glad you posted! I think your advice several months ago was what initiated me to switch to alfalfa pellets! Thanks a million! I ran into a question about alfalfa pellets: How do you manage the calcium:phosphorus ratio? Some things I have read say alfalfa is excessive in calcium as well as protein. But, I think this is if you feed like 10 lbs a day, right? What do you think?
As long as you feed less than 8 lbs a day, you don't really need to worry about it.

If you feed more than that, then usually feeding a good serving whole flax (8 oz) or rice bran (1 lb) that doesn't have added calcium will help balance out the CA:P ratio.

ETA: I fed 20 lbs of Alfalfa hay a day back in the 90s when I was living in Southern California. All the horses at the barn were fed a similar diet (15-20 lbs of Alfalfa plus 5-8 lbs of grass) and they all did just fine.
     
    08-25-2009, 05:56 PM
  #27
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by aynelson    
luvs2ride1979 - I ran into a question about alfalfa pellets: How do you manage the calcium:phosphorus ratio? Some things I have read say alfalfa is excessive in calcium as well as protein. But, I think this is if you feed like 10 lbs a day, right? What do you think?
When looking at the ratio's you need to take into account the horse's daily intake. Read the feed lables and if you really want to know the exact amounts, get your hay tested as well.

A mature 1100 lb horse in light work needs 1.4 lb of protein per day which is approximately 7.2% crude protein in the total diet. I

Ca is 20 grams and Phos 14 grams. This translates into .21% C and .15% Phos in their total ration. The average ratio of Ca to Phos is 1.5 to 2.1. Wider ranges of CA to Phos can be tolerated, where you get into trouble is if the Phos is higher than the CA.

If your feeding a "milled" pellet the ratio's should be on the bag. If you are feeding based on the instructions the ratios should be fine.

Both of our horse's were raised on grass alfalfa hay. I'd say the alfalfa was about 40-50%. It's an excellent food source. Problems arise when you start throwing in all the other "extras. In the prairies here in Canada Alfalfa is all they grow.
     
    08-25-2009, 10:07 PM
  #28
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979    
If you feed more than that, then usually feeding a good serving whole flax (8 oz) or rice bran (1 lb) that doesn't have added calcium will help balance out the CA:P ratio.

.
You would want to be very careful with adding rice bran. The ratio of P could very easily throw the balance right out of wack.

This is a very well written article. It's from the women who wrote about beet pulp. In particular read the 4th paragraph and see the table at the bottom.
Understanding the Calcium-Phosphorus Ratio - Susan Evans Garlinghouse
     
    08-26-2009, 12:13 PM
  #29
Foal
Does anyone have any opinions as to whether or not beep pulp needs to be soaked in order for horses to eat it? I was told it did, otherwise it could expand in the gut and cause impaction. But, then I recently read an article saying that was bogus, stomach acids break down the proteins and expansion does not occur. Either way, is it better to feed it after soaking it or does it matter?

Here is that article; Beet Pulp
     
    08-26-2009, 12:16 PM
  #30
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by G and K's Mom    
You would want to be very careful with adding rice bran. The ratio of P could very easily throw the balance right out of wack.

This is a very well written article. It's from the women who wrote about beet pulp. In particular read the 4th paragraph and see the table at the bottom.
Understanding the Calcium-Phosphorus Ratio - Susan Evans Garlinghouse
That article is great for understanding how to calculate your own Ca:Ph. It cleared up so much for me! Thanks!!
     

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