20 lbs of grain- Nutritionist advise please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-09-2011, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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20 lbs of grain- Nutritionist advise please

My QH 17 yr old mare is currently getting 20 lbs of grain a day for the past 2 weeks or so. 10lbs in the morning and 10 in the evening. She is getting 5 lbs of senior diet and 5 lbs of a fat supplement pellet in order to gain weight to make up the 10 lbs for each feeding. She has been on the senior diet forever but the fat supplement was gradually added about a month ago because she was losing rather than gaining weight just as the harsh winter is about to start.
She has free (theorectical) access to grass round bale during the day but gets shoo-ed away a lot by other horses and gets 2-3 flakes of mixed clover/alfalfa at night.

She is finally gaining weight but the barn owner is worried about laminitis. She also gets a weight gaining powder supplement from Smart Pak too that was added before the fat supplement. She was on that for weeks before I made the decision to add the supplement.

I don't believe she has ever founded. At least it doesn't look like it. I've only had her for 6 months or so. She is wormed regularly and the vet has checked her teeth and they are good. She is a very efficient eater...doesn't spill any of her grain anywhere.

And, of note, she acts like she is starving when it is grain time, even now that she has gained back a little. For example, she started pulling against the cross ties when she saw the grain was being made just several feet down the aisle in front of her the other day. She nickers when she sees food or even when I lean down to give her a treat. I've never seen a horse with such an appetite actually.
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-09-2011, 01:44 PM
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is there any way to have her separated so that she can be provided with free choice hay 24/7 where she is not chased away from it? imo, that is one of the most important ways to go about healthy weight gain.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-09-2011, 01:49 PM
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That's a lot of grain. I don't know what you are feeding but your BO does & she may be right to be concerned about laminitis.
I agree, remove her from the herd situation or have more feeding areas available.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-09-2011, 11:57 PM
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Wow, that's is a boat load of grain. Considering I buy, as most others I know, in 50lb sacks, I'd be buying a sack every couple of days. That horse eats like a horse! She needs more fiber than protein, which means more carbs. You gotta up the hay, roughage & cut back on the grain.
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-10-2011, 12:04 AM
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Have you tried beet pulp? Also, rice bran oil is very good for putting on weight. I would cut back on grain (that's a LOT) and try beet pulp and rice bran oil. I have an older mare that's a hard keeper and has foundered twice. The beet pulp and rice bran oil have worked WONDERS on her weight. She's probably gained 200 lbs in the past 3 months or so. Good luck! I hope whatever you decide to do works for you!
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-10-2011, 12:12 AM
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Equine senior isn't really grain- it's a pelleted feed and will not cause laminitis since it is designed and can be fed to a horse as a sole diet. The idea of 20lbs of grain or sweet feed had me very concerned for a minute there! What is the fat supplement? 5lbs of that may or may not be a lot, though it sounds like a much bigger amount than I am used to feeding. If it is a high sugar or simple carb feed as opposed to something like fat or fermentable starch, it might be a problem to feed that much. What are the label directions for that feed?

I agree with making sure she has free choice hay 24/7 if possible. What is her hay like for protein? How are her teeth? Worming? Does she have ulcers? A probiotic is a safe thing to try that does really help some horses.
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-10-2011, 08:25 AM
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More mixed herd issues.
Your horse needs hay. Doesnt sound like she is getting any all day. I cant imagine feeding a horse that much horse feed. I imagine most of the nutrients are just being pooped right out. Was this diet Vet recommended ? Id cut back on feed to a normal amount, and throw a cup of water on it. I have read studies that show a bit of water on feed helps older horses digest better. Then make sure she has 24/7 real hay access.
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-10-2011, 08:48 AM
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How many horses is she turned out with? How long has she been where she's boarded at?

There may be too many horses she's in with for one bale and the BO should put another bale in. If she's only been there for a few months, she will start to fit in soon and start getting up to the bale.

I think she should have better access to the hay. I would also switch her to beet pulp. It does wonders and is easy to digest.

I wouldn't consider her acting like she is starving. She is just excited to get her feed. Our horses act the same way and they are definitely not starving. They are pretty plump, because they get a good quality hay and beet pulp. Our hard keeper is even showing a little plumpness. They stand at the gate, stare at us, nicker and whinny, and paw at the ground while waiting. They chow it down pretty quickly too.
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Last edited by usandpets; 12-10-2011 at 08:52 AM.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-10-2011, 09:20 AM
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Because I can observe my horses most of the time from the house, I've learned to set out two large round bales for 4 horses spaced at least a hundred yards apart. The horses may drive one away from a bale when first delivered but it has the option of going to the other. It usually settles down within about 10 min. You need to ask the BO to set out another large bale wll away from the first. The exercise is good for the horses as they will move back and forth. This movement aids digestion. All the protein you are feeding is likely making expensive manure. She needs long fiber (hay) as that is what her gut requires to function properly. Grain does not provide that. I'd continue with the 5lbs per feeding of senior's which has extra oils, beet pulp but rather than the grain add alfalfa pellets or a pelleted hay, which will give her the long fiber. If you can, hang three buckets in her stall and distribute the rations amongst the three to slow her down a little. I''d also dump some water on each to moisten them as a horse needs to make a lot of saliva to eat them dry. I keep alfalfa cubes on hand and those are given as treats. What is available to us are pressed in long square tubes but will break up in to 1/4" wafers. If you change her diet be sure to do it over about 10 days.
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-10-2011, 09:30 AM
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Is there a way she could come in her stall to eat her hay ?
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