Absolute refusal to eat beet pulp - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Absolute refusal to eat beet pulp

We took in a 3 and a half year old Tennessee Walking horse a couple months ago who is blind in one eye from a tree branch mishap at 6 mo old. The woman we got the mare from said she couldn't afford to feed her anymore, and had both the 3 year old and a 27 year old on a mud lot surrounded by a fence. All they got was hay, and last year, with the drought, it was very expensive, and this woman could very plainly not afford to feed them much, since they were both bones. We took in Montana, and began feeding her grain in addition to pasture and hay, as we did our other rescue horse who is currently about ready to pop with her foal. This diet worked very quickly for our pregnant rescue horse, she has beefed up quite fast, added weight all over the place. Montana on the other hand, not so much. Or maybe it is just taking longer, I don't know. She needs to gain a lot of weight, the vet estimated about 200-300 pounds of weight. She has unlimited pasture, mineral, salt, a clean pond for unlimited water, freedom to run and play and build muscle, has been wormed twice. We grain her twice a day, with 11%. She gets carrots and apple wafer treats and even alfalfa cubes. She can eat all the grass she wants and they have a big round bale sitting right there if they would rather have hay. She just is not filling out very fast. She has gone into heat three times, and spent a lot of that running around neighing and carrying on at the neighbor's mini donkey...who is thankfully gelded. Maybe she ran off what she gained?? I figure exercise is good for her, though? So we decided to try beet pulp, since its mentioned on here so much. We mixed her nightly ration of grain with it, after soaking it a while. She turned her nose up at it, refused to eat it. She ended up sharing one of the other horse's feed that night. Every single one of the horses refused to eat it, even our most food driven girl, Idaho, the paint, who is first in line for dinner and treats. We then called over the chickens and ducks, thinking at least it wouldn't go to waste. They just picked out the grain, leaving the beet pulp untouched. Eventually we just carried it down to the neighbors pigs and even they gave us a look like, "Really?" Anyone have any suggestions on how to get a horse to eat beet pulp? Is there something wrong with our bag? It doesn't smell great, smells a bit burned or something, but never having smelled it before, I have no idea what it should smell like? It doesn't smell moldy or anything. And if beet pulp isn't going to work, your thoughts on helping her gain are much appreciated. I would like her to be able to be as healthy as possible. The last pic was taken about a week ago, so you can sort of see the progression from the day we got her home to now.
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Last edited by Chechatonga; 07-01-2013 at 05:23 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 05:26 PM
Green Broke
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It's an acquired taste. How much grain does she eat a day in pounds, and what brand in particular? Some grains do a way better job of putting weight on horses than others. You get a lot more out of your grain per pound if you use a good quality grain.

I always started with a 1:4 ratio of beet pulp to grain to start out. I also top dress with a little molasses to start. Introduce the beet pulp slowly and in small amounts until your horse is use to the texture and flavor. Some horses also like a little apple juice or peppermint flavoring added for the first couple meals.

When you're feeding her, take her away from the other horses and the other horse's food. Lock her in a stall with her beet pulp and give her time to eat it undisturbed.
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 05:41 PM
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She looks to have good grazing there which really should be enough to put weight on her.
The beet pulp shouldn't smell bad - actually has a nice smell to it so maybe it was badly stored.
Have you thought about one of the pelleted feeds that are sugar beet based and complete with all fats and nutrients, vitamins, minerals?
She might prefer them
Boiling oats and barley makes them more digestible for weight gain - but it is a messy job.
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Its Country Lane brand, from Orscheln's. It is about 3 pounds of grain a day, we have a big scoop that we measure it out with. That first day we tried the beet pulp, we gave her about 1/4 beet pulp, and 3/4 grain ration. And sheesh, you'd have thought I put ant spray on her food.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 05:51 PM
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someone recently got some beet pulp with fertilizer mixed in it, throw it away or take it back. Those pigs are trying to tell you something. Also what kinda wormer have you given ? Have you given one that will kill tapeworms ?
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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I had read the beet pulp thread about the fertilizer, and when we bought it, I immediately dug around in it to see if it had anything in it like that and it didn't. Its a different brand too, Standlee Hay Company. I can't place the smell, its just different than what I know I guess. Yes, the neighbor's pigs, they will eat anything, and when they wouldn't eat the beet pulp we all stood around looking at each other in disbelief.

We used Ivermectin to worm her both times.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 06:16 PM
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I use Standlee beet pulp and haven't had a problem with there being anything bad in it. My filly is a very gung-ho eater and had to adapt to eating BP also though, so don't worry too much.

To me beet pulp smells strange too, but not bad. The best I can describe it is that it smells sweet but distinctively plant-like, especially after soaking.

What I did to get my gal to start eating it, was I started with only a handful mixed thoroughly into her feed and I upped it until she was eating as much as I wanted her to. I also don't soak it as long as some people do, which other may disagree about doing. I soak pellets for about 2 hours, and shreds for only 1 hour to keep it from getting TOO slimy, because then she doesn't seem to like it as much.

Are you feeding shreds or pellets? My filly greatly prefers shreds.

Also, something you could think about doing is adding in alfalfa pellets for taste. I feed Kenzie (the filly) BP and Alfalfa together, both soaked, at a 1:2 ratio and she gobbles it up. Alfalfa is great for growing horses anyways, if she isn't already getting some.

Honestly though your filly doesn't look bad to me at all. A few pounds won't hurt her, but you don't want her to be fat.

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post #8 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Nope I do not want her to be fat! She is doing better than she was at first, still ribby, its mostly those hipbones sticking out that bother me. They do get alfalfa cubes, as treats along with apple wafers. In the bottom of that bag are the little bits and pieces that fall off the cubes, and we tried mixing some of the alfalfa cubes and that extra stuff in with the beet pulp but she picked out the cubes and turned up her nose at the beet pulp. I do think she might be getting taller though, she just seems to be all legs. I will mix in just a small bit with her dinner tonight and see if she will go for it. I have apple cider vinegar too that I can add. And its shreds.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 06:54 PM
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She doesn't look anywhere near as bad as I expected to see.

She's got 3 - 4 more years of growing up and filling out to do.

She is one of those TWH's that is naturally high hipped so don't try to stuff her full food to make them completely disappear - lol lol

I have a 19 yr old Generator-bred gelding that is built exactly like her. He needs to lose 40 - 50 pounds because I can see his belly from behind.

But I can't see his hip bones. When the rest of him is at good weight, I can always see a bit of his hip bones protruding.

Has the vet examined her yet? I would take a fecal to the vet and worm according to that. I would be surprised, given the conditions you took her from, if worms didn't show up in the fecal. If she would happen to have a really heavy load, it's best to worm under a vet's direction.

She's a beautiful horse - nice lanky athletic build, like my Generator fella who is my toughest, go all day long, trail horse. Don't let her get fat - TWH's are on the Predisposed list for metabolic issues; two of my three have been diagnosed

Looks like somebody kicked her on the left rump?

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post #10 of 13 Old 07-01-2013, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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That makes me feel a lot better!! She has bulked up since we got her, but I definitely won't try to make her fat. Between the paint mare who came to us a butterball from eating hay nonstop in a tiny lot with no exercise (she is getting back her girlish figure with exercise and pasture) and the saddlebred mare who is about to foal any minute (seriously large belly), her thinness might seem pronounced to us. Its the hips that worry me most. She finally got a butt, and some muscles in those legs. Her chest though, when she stands facing me, next to the 15 mo old Thoroughbred filly we have, she has no muscles on that chest, comparatively. Its like her neck goes straight to her legs, no chest in between. Now I know they are different breeds, but considering age and such, it just worried me. She definitely has high hips. Oh, and Ellie the pregnant mare kicked her on her rump for getting too close to her dinner. We can worm her with a different wormer, if necessary. We just wormed them last week, so shouldn't I wait a bit to worm again? And what would anyone suggest as an alternative to Ivermectin. Thank you all so much for your help.
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