All pellet and grain diet? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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All pellet and grain diet?

Yesterday my mother in law said to me that she was looking at a more pellet/grain based diet with very little hay. Why would someone feed a horse like this? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks?

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post #2 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 07:13 AM
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Sometimes if all the hay I can get (usually early in the spring before the grass has grown) is really low-quality, I supplement with lots of grains to make up for the calorie content... not sure if that is the same situation or not. I am switching to beet pulp though, it's my new love over grain because it appears safer to feed in large amounts.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 07:14 AM
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Unless the majority of the pellets are forage based, there ARE no benefits. Horses need forage in order to maintain good gut health. There is simply no way around that fact.

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post #4 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
Unless the majority of the pellets are forage based, there ARE no benefits. Horses need forage in order to maintain good gut health. There is simply no way around that fact.
Unless one wants to consider the risk of colic impaction as a benefit

Some years back, a good friend of mine was moving cross-country and it was too much of a risk to haul her mid-20's yr old TWH, so she gave him to someone whom she was sure would give him a good home. They gave him more grain than hay over the first winter and it wasn't long before they called her to tearfully inform her he had passed from colic

Horses were not designed to eat grain, it is we humans who made that decision for them.

If hay is in short supply, for the OP's MIL, or the quality is crummy, Tractor Supply carries a wide array of Standlees hay products in a bag.

Pure timothy pellets, timothy/alfalfa cubes, etc. TSC even sells baled hay in a bag BUT if there's an ingredients label on it, Beware, some of that chopped hay has had molasses added to it

Standlee Hay Company - Home and click on the "Products" button at the top
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 10:54 AM
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No benefit at all - just a high risk
Horses are browsers, they are designed to eat little and often to have a healthy digestive system
Horse in the wild would often go for long periods without food but when they did find it it wouldnt be by way of a huge bucket of high sugar/high starch grain and pellets it would grass and probably quite sparse at that. Plus a huge percentage of grass is water content
Feed good hay and if money is an issue cut back or cut our the grain and pellets.
Sugar beet is good value, mix with some chop and add a small amount of some quality pelleted feed. You can adjust as per how the horse looks and performs
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 11:42 AM
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The only way I could picture that being remotely healthy is some of the complete feeds- which have high levels of forage in them. I'm not entirely sure what the market is for them, though to be honest. Horses that can no longer chew hay at all, but the owner is too lazy to make a beet pulp/rice bran/hay cube mash? I'm not sure how expensive it is, but you have to feed in such high quantities (15+ lbs/day) that I can't imagine it's any cheaper than other bagged alternatives.

Does your MIL's horse have any health issues? I just can't imagine why someone would purposely change a healthy horse's diet to be all pelleted grain
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Kitty's only health issue that I know of right now is some thrush which *I* am working on clearing up.

My MIL wants less mess to clean up. If they hay didn't end up all over the stall floor she wouldn't mind. -.- (that train of thought from her made me cringe) I won't let her do this, I tried explaining to her that she'd still need to feed a hay alternative. Now I can show her this thread.

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post #8 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 12:01 PM
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If you're in a pickle where you can't get good quality hay, or any hay at all, I've been told that hay cubes can be a possible substitute for forage. Still NOT ideal, but possible in an extreme circumstance.

But I agree with everyone else. You are just asking for health problems by feeding all grain and pellets with very little to no hay. The horse's digestive system is not made for it.

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post #9 of 14 Old 10-16-2012, 07:43 PM
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If the horse is making a large mess why not use a hay net?
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-17-2012, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Tiamo, there is a hay rack installed. *sigh* my MIL is just impossible.

As for cubes, I'm thinking of picking some up as a supplement to the hay my own horse is already getting. He eats hay like it's going out of style.

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