Protein percent in feed - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Protein percent in feed

I just moved my horse to a new barn and his feed was switched. He is getting feed with 12% protein, and it is just not working for him. He's dropping weight and is lethargic and I'm looking into switching it. I'm going to talk to the BO to see about getting him an extra couple flakes of hay a day, and I found a feed that seems to be okay, but I'm a bit put off by the protein level, which is at 28%. Is this too much to feed him? He's a 16.1hh thoroughbred, between 1000 and 1100 pounds.

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post #2 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 01:05 PM
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someone told me once that they only need 14%, if the feed has more they just pee it out ! not 100% sure on that though

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post #3 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 01:05 PM
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28%? WOW
I feed my QH gelding purina strategy which is 14% and I've even been told that 14% is a little high. I guess if you do decide to switch just make sure you do it realllyyyy slowly because that sounds like a really drastic change.
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post #4 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 01:06 PM
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That seems real high. I put broodmares and foals on 16% and I thought that was a high level. Im not a feed expert though.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 01:36 PM
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Most adult horses do well with 10%. 12% is usually good for horses in medium work. Most protein over that, unless your horse is young or in heavy, heavy work, is useless and a waste.

You need a high fiber content, the QUALITY of the feed AND the quality of the proteins must be high. Quality of hay should be good if you're looking to get any nutritional value other then 'munch time'. You can try beat pulp, extra hay, or a better feed. 28% is excessive and unnecessary.

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post #6 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 03:57 PM
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It's not the amount in a single feedstuff but the amount in the overall diet that you need to look at. A 28% protein feedstuff is probably a ration balancer and designed to be fed at a rate of 1-3 lbs per day. 1 lb of 28% protein feed fed along with 14 lbs of a 9% protein forage is going to give you a protein content of 10.26% for the overall diet.

To calculate protein content of the diet, use this formula:

[(wt of concentrate X %protein)+(wt of forage X % protein)]/ total weight of diet= % protein


So, you really need to know the protein content of the forage that is being used to know how much of any concentrate feed of a given protein content is going to be providing sufficient protein in your horse's diet. That being said, protein is not the biggest factor in weight loss or weight gain. In fact, there is only a slight change in protein requirements for heavy work or pregnancy. So if the diet is providing 10-12% protein then it's likely that there is simply not enough digestible energy being provided. This occurs when there is simply not enough feed stuff being given---generally a lack of forage is the main culprit. The first thing you should look at is just how much forage your horse is getting. Horses need a minimum of 1.5% of their body weight in good quality forage per day. For a 1000 lb horse that is 15 lbs of hay or grass a day. Some horses need up to 3% of their body weight in forage per day to meet their energy requirements.



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post #7 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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That was awesome, thank you Ryle.

With the feed we were looking at we would only have fed about three pounds a day. The reason I brought up the protein was because the percentage just seemed so outlandishly high. We talked to the BO today, and she's going to up his hay two flakes a day, more if we need them to. There's another feed I'm looking at that's 12% protein, but I still have to look into these a little more.

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post #8 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 06:26 PM
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What feed was he getting at the other barn? I'm always baffled why TB's seem to gain more weight on protein than on fat. I'm very curious to see what was working for him before.
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
What feed was he getting at the other barn? I'm always baffled why TB's seem to gain more weight on protein than on fat. I'm very curious to see what was working for him before.
He was being fed a feed that was almost exactly like Purinia Strategy. I think it had about the same levels of everything, just a different name. He looked fantastic before I moved him-muscle definition and healthy and all, but he's just starting to lose weight now...hollowing out around the withers and his hips.

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post #10 of 22 Old 10-18-2009, 08:25 PM
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That's interesting because it has relatively little fat in it. I'm going to be moving my horse to a new barn where I will have complete control over his feed. He's only 7 years old, but I'm starting to think I should try one of the higher protein senior feeds. It's just SO confusing.
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