Revamping my TB's diet-ulcer prone horse - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 05-21-2012, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Revamping my TB's diet-ulcer prone horse

My TB is becoming(ok, she has been for a long time!) very expensive to feed. I've finally gotten her ulcers under control for the most part and I'm thinking about changing her diet to make it more budget friendly but still effective. She is currently getting 3lbs triple crown senior twice a day and 3 lbs alfalfa pellets twice a day. She used to be under weight but now she is at a good weight, borderline a little over weight. I'm thinking about dropping the alfalfa pellets and switching her to either the 30% supplement or switching her to TC lite. Both have a very low 9.something% NSC. Which would be better for a horse with ulcers? Or should I switch grain and leave alfalfa or just drop alfalfa and keep her on the senior. She is on ulcer supplements as well, which I don't plan on stopping. I just did the math and not including her supplements I spend $126/month to feed just her(I also have 2 others and a donkey that I pay half to feed) If I include her supplements in that math I may be sick, so I'm not going to ....So as you can see, I'm drowning in feed bills and need to do something asap to cut my costs lol
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-21-2012, 09:37 PM
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I'd personally consider changing the TC Senior to something without molasses for a start. While I think a 'textured'(ie more long fibre, more chewing) rather than pelleted feed is better, if you're going to stick with TC, their 'lite' or 'low starch' feeds are OK(tho it amuses me they both say 'grain free' when they're not!). If the horse needs extra energy/is a hard keeper, the low starch may be the better. I would ensure that the lucerne/alfalfa is balanced nutritionally with the rest, as it's very high protein & calcium for eg. I would not feed that extra high protein supp together with lucerne, unless under nutritionist's advice.

Another consideration, which may allow you to feed her less & be safer regarding ulcers, lami, etc, is splitting her meals into more per day.

I gather she's also getting free choice hay or such?

It may be(I reckon it is, has ultimately saved me money) worth the small outlay to sign up with a service such as feedxl.com so you can make sense of it all, ensure you're feeding her a well balanced, healthy diet & be able to factor in the feeds that are available to you & prices too.
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-22-2012, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
I'd personally consider changing the TC Senior to something without molasses for a start. While I think a 'textured'(ie more long fibre, more chewing) rather than pelleted feed is better, if you're going to stick with TC, their 'lite' or 'low starch' feeds are OK(tho it amuses me they both say 'grain free' when they're not!). If the horse needs extra energy/is a hard keeper, the low starch may be the better. I would ensure that the lucerne/alfalfa is balanced nutritionally with the rest, as it's very high protein & calcium for eg. I would not feed that extra high protein supp together with lucerne, unless under nutritionist's advice.

Another consideration, which may allow you to feed her less & be safer regarding ulcers, lami, etc, is splitting her meals into more per day.

I gather she's also getting free choice hay or such?

It may be(I reckon it is, has ultimately saved me money) worth the small outlay to sign up with a service such as feedxl.com so you can make sense of it all, ensure you're feeding her a well balanced, healthy diet & be able to factor in the feeds that are available to you & prices too.
TC is the best grain I can get, my only other options are nutrena, blue seal, dumore or purina. On another board a few people have expressed a concern with switching to the light since it will be such a drop in calories she may lose too much weight. She gets grass hay(I believe) and it's very good quality and pretty much free choice. I feed the alfalfa for her ulcers. I'm not sure what the price difference between the low starch and the senior is, but both you feed 6lbs+/day so if it's the same price I may as well stick with the senior since she is doing well on it. I'll look into the feedxl, seems interesting, it would be hard to input every thing since I don't have a hay analysis of the hay I'm currently feeding.

I'm trying to cut out the alfalfa since the price is skyrocketing
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-23-2012, 10:57 AM
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If costs are driving your need to change, I'd eliminate the senior and replace it with 1# TC 30. That will reduce your costs approx $1.75 per day. You will be giving her the same amount of vitamins and minerals without paying a premium for the forage in the senior. Unless you are paying over $600/ ton for alfalfa hay, ditch the pellets and feed hay. It will slow her down, provide chew time and be of higher quality. You should save over $2 a day with those 2 changes.
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Last edited by Left Hand Percherons; 05-23-2012 at 11:03 AM.
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-23-2012, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons View Post
If costs are driving your need to change, I'd eliminate the senior and replace it with 1# TC 30. That will reduce your costs approx $1.75 per day. You will be giving her the same amount of vitamins and minerals without paying a premium for the forage in the senior. Unless you are paying over $600/ ton for alfalfa hay, ditch the pellets and feed hay. It will slow her down, provide chew time and be of higher quality. You should save over $2 a day with those 2 changes.
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It's mainly the cost, but it's also the fact that with the move on the 6th she is getting more and higher quality hay, I have already noticed a fairly significant weight gain. The only alfalfa hay I have been able to find is the standlee at tractor supply which costs a whopping $17.99/compact bale(which is why I went with the pellets). I've tried to find locally grown alfalfa hay but I haven't been able to find anyone so far.
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-24-2012, 11:17 AM
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Does she have pasture available? You can probably dump just about everything except a RB for the summer months without her dropping weight or aggrivating the ulcers.
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-24-2012, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Does she have pasture available? You can probably dump just about everything except a RB for the summer months without her dropping weight or aggrivating the ulcers.
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Yes she does, but it gets grazed down pretty good.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-24-2012, 01:59 PM
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don't drop the alfalfa! Alfalfa absorbs excess stomach acid that causes the ulcers to form, so keep that in the diet.

Like others have said, find a low starch, low sugar feed if the horse still needs extra feed on top of the alfalfa pellets. I would reccomend Dengie Alfa-A oil, or Dengie Alfa-A Molasses free. Niether of these feeds have molasses, so are low sugar, and both are low starch. These feeds aren't pellets, but I prefer the uncondensed feeds, more natural. GDA for a 500kg horse is 1kg for these feeds so it works out about £25 a month for me in winter, <£12 in summer.

I have tried SO many suplements for Alli, but non have worked as well as the pure alfalfa diet! Now trying nettle tea (LOLZ) as it helps repair the stomach lining. Liquorice root is something I am also looking into as it reduces acid secretion (a little like omeprozole and rantidine, just less severe and much less costly!)

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post #9 of 11 Old 05-24-2012, 02:13 PM
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I agree not to drop the alfalfa. We have a guy at the barn who was high stress high medication. Dropped the stress , added alfalfa, and he's on no more meds. Grazing, dressage work, pasture and alfalfa and not an ulcer episode in 2 years.
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-24-2012, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Rachel1786 View Post
the feedxl, seems interesting, it would be hard to input every thing since I don't have a hay analysis of the hay I'm currently feeding.

I'm trying to cut out the alfalfa since the price is skyrocketing
Yes, you can't get really accurate without pasture analysis, but the feedXL program is pretty good with pasture considering this - they provide a wide range of different grasses, different qualities, etc to mix & match, so you'll get a fair idea.

Quote:
Dont drop the alfalfa! Alfalfa absorbs excess stomach acid that causes the ulcers to form, so keep that in the diet. ....
I would reccomend Dengie Alfa-A oil, or Dengie Alfa-A Molasses free.
So far as I'm aware, alfalfa/lucerne doesn't have any special qualities regarding stomach acid(??) and it's just the fact that there is food in the stomach that is good. Also saliva from chewing is actually a buffer against stomach acid, so one good reason to feed long stemmed(more chew time) fibre than pelleted(prechewed) feed. If already feeding alfalfa, I would NOT be advising feeding more of it, let alone a 'pure alfalfa diet', at least without nutritionist's advice, as already explained, it's likely to cause imbalances which will cause other issues.
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