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Cracked Corn

This is a discussion on Cracked Corn within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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        02-12-2014, 06:24 PM
      #21
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    Was going to question the 'oats are high protein' but Verona beat me to it They're high in starch & have a fair amount of phosphorus(not usually otherwise lacking anyway) & that's about it.



    Agree with you generally, but what makes you say oats are among the worst?? I understood, as you have also explained, that digestibility & starch content were the biggest probs, which makes corn about the worst, but oats are quite low in starch(in comparison with other cereal grain) and easy to digest - nutritionists advise they're the one exception to needing to be processed.
    This will be long (but it's really short if you knew how much information is being skimmed over or not covered)

    Since I'm in town with my son's laptop I don't have any of my old "material" I'll have to attempt this from memory. This is also going to be incredibly condensed and will be missing loads of additional information (that really should be included), but there's not way I'd retain it all (it's a course of study , that includes a lot of information). However, here's some very condensed information. (and hopefully my memory is still not too far off).

    Quick note for those who don't already understand. Horses cannot actually digest the long fiber that is mainstay of what nature has designed them to live on and is the healthiest thing for them to eat. They require microbes (bacteria might actually be a more accurate term....and might be what they taught....I honestly don't remember off the top of my head) that break it down and make it usable for the horse.

    Corn, oats or barley all are less then 50% digested by the time they reach the cecum (beginning of the hindgut). Corn gets the prize for being worst largely because it is the most dense with regards to starch and has the highest % (over 2/3 if memory serves, but not sure by how much) that the hindgut is forced to deal with (over 2/3 if memory serves, but not sure by how much) trying to digest (carbs are suppose to be absorbed in the foregut so it's bad for them to get to the cecum and large intestines).
    This results in change of the ph in the cecum.
    (I generally dislike saying "bad" vs "good" microbes, since both actually serve a purpose here, but for the sake of the explanation I'll use bad and good microbes)
    The load of carbs being dumped on the cecum and the resulting ph changed basically creates a breeding ground for these "bad" microbes that should only be present in significantly small numbers. At the same time is significantly reduces the amount of good microbes that the horse requires for digesting the long fiber (hay, grass, beet pulp, etc..) that make up the most crucial part of the equine diet. The resulting imbalance can lead to certain condition (acidosis comes to mind) and can even, in severe cases, bring on colic.

    Yes, it's very over simplified and I've often wished I'd kept all my notes and materials (I was younger and only saw it as something I needed to know so all I still have are some things I found interesting enough to save).

    But basically, all grains are bad (they all end up doing the same thing). Corn, oats and barley just topped out the list (possibly because they are also the ones most commonly fed), but people feed a lot of things that aren't good. History, tradition, the "feed industry", etc.... have all contributed to people "killing their horses with kindness". Feeding grains is just one of a long list of those things (I won't even get started on the junk foods, like wheat brand, that many people believe are great, but are really bad). One of my favorite examples of this is Secretariat. One of the most valuable horses in US history. Was put down at 19 almost certainly because he was kept on the grain diet (lots of oats) that they are probably still feeding race horses. They never seem to catch on that there are better and healthier energy feeds for a hard working horse (that won't mess up their feet in the process).
    loosie likes this.
         
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        02-12-2014, 06:33 PM
      #22
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
    This will be long (but it's really short if you knew how much information is being skimmed over or not covered)

    Since I'm in town with my son's laptop I don't have any of my old "material" I'll have to attempt this from memory. This is also going to be incredibly condensed and will be missing loads of additional information (that really should be included), but there's not way I'd retain it all (it's a course of study , that includes a lot of information). However, here's some very condensed information. (and hopefully my memory is still not too far off).

    Quick note for those who don't already understand. Horses cannot actually digest the long fiber that is mainstay of what nature has designed them to live on and is the healthiest thing for them to eat. They require microbes (bacteria might actually be a more accurate term....and might be what they taught....I honestly don't remember off the top of my head) that break it down and make it usable for the horse.

    Corn, oats or barley all are less then 50% digested by the time they reach the cecum (beginning of the hindgut). Corn gets the prize for being worst largely because it is the most dense with regards to starch and has the highest % (over 2/3 if memory serves, but not sure by how much) that the hindgut is forced to deal with (over 2/3 if memory serves, but not sure by how much) trying to digest (carbs are suppose to be absorbed in the foregut so it's bad for them to get to the cecum and large intestines).
    This results in change of the ph in the cecum.
    (I generally dislike saying "bad" vs "good" microbes, since both actually serve a purpose here, but for the sake of the explanation I'll use bad and good microbes)
    The load of carbs being dumped on the cecum and the resulting ph changed basically creates a breeding ground for these "bad" microbes that should only be present in significantly small numbers. At the same time is significantly reduces the amount of good microbes that the horse requires for digesting the long fiber (hay, grass, beet pulp, etc..) that make up the most crucial part of the equine diet. The resulting imbalance can lead to certain condition (acidosis comes to mind) and can even, in severe cases, bring on colic.

    Yes, it's very over simplified and I've often wished I'd kept all my notes and materials (I was younger and only saw it as something I needed to know so all I still have are some things I found interesting enough to save).

    But basically, all grains are bad (they all end up doing the same thing). Corn, oats and barley just topped out the list (possibly because they are also the ones most commonly fed), but people feed a lot of things that aren't good. History, tradition, the "feed industry", etc.... have all contributed to people "killing their horses with kindness". Feeding grains is just one of a long list of those things (I won't even get started on the junk foods, like wheat brand, that many people believe are great, but are really bad). One of my favorite examples of this is Secretariat. One of the most valuable horses in US history. Was put down at 19 almost certainly because he was kept on the grain diet (lots of oats) that they are probably still feeding race horses. They never seem to catch on that there are better and healthier energy feeds for a hard working horse (that won't mess up their feet in the process).
    What would you feed? Ny mare is also underweight.
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        02-12-2014, 06:51 PM
      #23
    Yearling
    A quick note on the corn vs oats vs barley vs....any other feed grain.

    You'll hear to feed one gain over another (oats is most popular), because it's healthy or not bad. Well, that's not technically true since they all have the same problem to some degree. It puts me in mind of my youngest son who became a biochemical super freak in school (lucky for him it's a passion that makes a good vocation). Among the many things he has fun with proving is that nothing is poison in and of itself. It's the dosage that kills you . So when comparing grains you can think of it that way. Or to give you a mental "picture" to keep in your head.....
    Corn is cyanide, oats is arsenic and barley is strychnine. Small enough doses of any won't hurt you and you can survive larger doses of some.
    So you can use that as the bases for saying that some grains are safe (it's what much of the feed industry has been doing from the beginning).
    loosie likes this.
         
        02-12-2014, 07:13 PM
      #24
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kimberlyrae1993    
    What would you feed? Ny mare is also underweight.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Ok, let me preface by saying that you'll need to look at other things. Horses need minerals and amino acids. All within a proper balance and ration with each other. What I'm going to suggest is strictly from the perspective of something that his healthy and will provide a lot of calories. It's not an inclusive diet (they still need hay or grazing or some type of forage that hopefully provides the nutritional balance they need...or supplements). Never forget that for best health in their digestive system a horse needs to be taking in smallish amounts of fiber over most of the day. That keeps the gut working, which is how nature designed it to function.

    Now, for putting on some weight. If your horse is a needing to put on weight (and please make sure it really is needing it, since too many people actually keep their horses heavier than what would be a perfect weight...some people think my younger mare needs more weight even though she's at the text book weight, but she stands next to my older mare, who needs to drop 100-150 lbs and "appears" then to them).

    Beet pulp and copra are both healthy feeds that are healthy for the horses digestive system and provide a lot of calories. Low NSC and low sugar (if the beet pulp has molasses added you might want to soak/rinse it out)
    Beet pulp is fiber that digests easily in the hindgut. Has at least a 1/3 or more nutritional value than hay (not all hay is equal). Has high Ca and little or no P. (You need Ca in the higher quantity, but you need some P to keep the ratio in balance)
    Copra is super easy to digest and never reaches the hindgut. Digested in the foregut and goes straight into their system. Fast calories, but a "cold" feed. High in P with a low Ca. So more Ca is required to keep the needed ratio in balance.
    For the Ca to P ration beet pulp and copra make a good match, but make sure about all the rest.

    As I said earlier people who own horses really should take a vet level course in equine nutrition and digestion. You'll never look at the equine food industry the same again (and the industry would HATE it )
    loosie likes this.
         
        02-12-2014, 11:26 PM
      #25
    Trained
    Lbs, that was well explained. Yes, that is all as I understood it. BUT for the oats being so bad. I like your 'poison' analogy too.... won't confuse the issue with the homeopathic side of it.

    But I still wonder about oats being SO bad, whether this is old info & it's to do with more research that has given me this, but a nutritionist I have a fair amount of respect for has told me that oats are the 'lesser evil'(still not great & there are generally better alternatives...), because they're relatively(compared to other cereal grain) low in starch & they are also able to be broken down in the stomach(as you no doubt understand that's conditional, depending on amount, etc, etc) That it is still best to feed processed, but it is the exception to the rule compared to other grains, that MUST be processed or they are completely unable to be broken down in the stomach.

    So... not saying oats are good for the horse, just the best of a bad bunch.

    & just have to comment on the Secretariat bit, as you hear so many people say 'he can't founder, he's a TB' or 'he's not fat so...' - Unfortuantely tradition is always slow to change, but it is coming to be understood that racehorses & other 'high performance' intensively kept horses do indeed very commonly suffer laminitis & other (gut) issues, due to their (high octane) diet & lifestyle. It's not just fat ponies or too much grass that is a problem.
         
        02-13-2014, 12:13 AM
      #26
    Trained
    I won't have straight feed corn on my property. It isn't just that it is high in starch, it is how it is available and how a horse will process such readily available power packed "energy" - a horse's tolerance for just a little to much corn just isn't there. There are so many other options, why even consider it? And, when it is stored, there is the potential that a horse might get out and get into it someday - which is like keeping a little pit of poisonous snakes nearby, too.

    A small amount (by weight) of corn, of course, is in a lot of R&B's and pelleted hay mixes which reduces the "dose" to an amount that is not threatening if you feed just a little to much.
         
        02-13-2014, 12:57 AM
      #27
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Strawberry4Me    
    Once upon a time, I had a horse that was a little under weight, and my farrier at the time (you know, the BEST one around ) told me to feed her corn. It would help put on weight, AND help keep her teeth smoother.

    She colicked and died about 2 months after we started her on the corn. This is what the vet had to say:

    Corn. Is. Bad.

    Could he say definitely that it was the corn that did it? No. But he did say that corn is extremely hard to digest, it sits in the hind gut and ferments, causing quite a lot of pain and gas. Its not worth feeding, and really doesn't do much for weight gain.

    I should have asked the vet to begin with. He said rice bran oil, flax seed oil, and beet pulp are the best things you can give a horse for weight gain. Its easy to digest, AIDS in digestion, is great for their skin and they can eat it along with their regular feed/ hay schedule and be fine.

    I would stay as far away from corn as you can. If your horse needs weight, give her some beet pulp. You can't go wrong with it.
    THIS! This is why people give corn for warmth, it ferments. But the truth is its extremely hard to digest. Even corn oil is hard to digest. Hay is much better for keeping a horse warm.
    Strawberry4Me likes this.
         
        02-13-2014, 05:57 AM
      #28
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sparks879    
    THIS! This is why people give corn for warmth, it ferments. But the truth is its extremely hard to digest. Even corn oil is hard to digest. Hay is much better for keeping a horse warm.
    My BO says he feeds it to keep his gelding warm!!!! but we have free access hay..
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        02-13-2014, 05:58 AM
      #29
    Weanling
    So my question to everyone is what is your horses diet?
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        02-13-2014, 06:07 AM
      #30
    Trained
    Grass/hay & a nutritional supp.
         

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