Cutting feed costs - Page 9

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Cutting feed costs

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  • Whole oats not enough for barrel horse

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    01-24-2013, 02:55 AM
Originally Posted by IIIBarsV    
Now the one thing yall are missing is: How big is the OP's horse?

Horses under 1100 lbs can maintain very well on a good-quality hay if they're not in heavy work. Pasture ornaments and light riding of those weights can meet their nutritional requirements through hay alone in some cases, especially if the hay tests well.

This is not always the case for a horse over 1100 lbs who is working harder than a trail ride or a 30 min leisurely ride once or twice a week.

It comes down to nutritional density per lb. Smaller horses have smaller nutrition requirements. Big horses have bigger nutritional requirements. Sometimes the big horses simply cannot eat enough of a particular hay or forage to meet ALL of their requirements, especially while in moderate to heavy exercise, and especially in sports like racing, jumping, and barrel racing which also require some level of starch present to fuel anaerobic muscle activity.

Hay alone, even grass alone, is simply not dense enough in minerals to meet the daily intake of a 16hh 1250 lb barrel horse (for example). Whereas, it might totally be with a couple lbs of oats for a 14hh, 950 lb trail horse or casual riding horse.

Following? Ok.

The question is not "horses can/can't live only on hay".... mineral deficiencies can be silent. Magnesium deficiency = tying up. Calcium deficiency = epiphysitis in young horses, Bighead syndrome, fractures, weakness of bones. (Because no yearling halter horse ever got epiphysitis, right... I mean, they have SO MUCH body condition!)

Body condition is not everything. Mineral imbalances and deficiencies (and rarely, excesses), can cause serious health and soundness problems down the road. If you're raising a weanling, you need to make sure they're getting enough minerals and that their calcium : phosphorus ratio is 2:1. Too often it ends up in reverse with high phosphorus and then hey presto, people wonder why that foal later needs joint injections.

We don't know if the OP's horse can make do with JUST hay right now, because:

1) We don't know the age and weight of the horse.
2) We don't know the current workload or type of workload of the horse.
3) We don't know what her hay tests at or how many kg's/lb's she currently feeds, roughly. (Unless the horse is out on a round bale free-choice 24/7).

Maybe her horse needs just the minerals balanced, maybe it needs nothing at all... maybe a complete feed would be better, maybe a complete feed with starch, maybe a complete feed with low-starch.

OP, I'm in Ontario, too... if you're in Eastern Ontario, you can get Triple Crown feeds in some areas. The next best is Buckeye, but it's bloody expensive right now. Purina is third on that list--- the Equilizer, Integri-T, and Evolution Elite are my personal choices of all their feeds.

Depending on the answers to those three questions, something from Purina could easily fit the bill. I fed those three Purina feeds for a few years before switching to Triple Crown, and they did all right.

At one time, I also fed beet pulp with whole oats and a top dress of Purina Equilizer... pretty sure Sugar Bear won his first Congress polebending championship on that mix, so I guess I'll say it works all right for barrel horses. Lol
Nope, unable to get Triple Crown in my area. It would be an even further drive then what I am doing to get the Gro n' Win.

13 year old Quarter Horse gelding weighing approx 1100lb as of spring 2012 (I would need to re-tape to get an updated estimate). Free choice grass hay that has not been tested. Worked currently twice a week for ~two hours each time of mainly trot & canter arena work. Previous work load was a mix of arena and trails 3-4 times per week at about 2 hours each time with again a lot of trot, canter and hill work. Actually started looking at the clock recently. Hope to be team penning this season. Health concerns: arthritis both hocks, hoof concerns: previous very slight rotation of left front coffin bone and has previously had caudal heel pain in both fronts (mild calcification of navicular bone on right front 3 years after diagnosis). Previous bad thrush problems. Previous veterinary concerns of IR/Hypothyroidism ... blood work normal and re-checking this spring if funds are available.

This winter we had a very bad problem with rain rot and mud fever. That is why he has been getting supplemented with oral Vitamin AD from Jeffers. I did not start this until the end of December so we're just finishing the first month and it will no longer be a weekly supplementation ... I have been fallowing directions laid out by a member here.

This is why I do not want to take him off a RB or supplement altogether as I don't think he will thrive on hay alone. He would survive, no doubt. However to me surviving is just not enough ... especially the winter months where the hay is more then likely lacking in areas. The BO has not tested and I cannot afford to test at this time (cannot afford to purchase the hay probe to get samples let alone the cost to send it off). Maybe in a few months the situation will be different. I would certainly love to know but at this time I have limits.

I have contacted the area rep for Purina and she provided me with information on the Equilizer and Optimal. Currently awaiting NSC values on both of those products. I would most likely use Equilizer. It's not far off from the Gro n' Win apart from a little lower in vitamin/minerals in comparison and does not contain biotin or omega 3's as far as I can tell from what was provided to me (will need to double check the website) nor do I know the NSC content at this time.

The option I wanted to consider for a loose vitamin/mineral supplement to top dress over something like beet pulp ... defiantly not going to be an from what I can find locally. It's simply not going to come close to what a commercial pelleted RB is going to give me. For this reason it's out unless I can find something different OR get the hay analyzed to know for sure.

I created sheets in excel to compare the different feeds (Gro n' Win, Purina's, KER All Phase) so I will have to post these shortly when I am off work. This is helping me make a more informed decision ... sitting down and looking at values to compare and then comparing cost.

Thank you everyone for the advice and product recommendations. Unfortunately I am unable to get some of those products around here. If I can't get the bill down then I'm not going to be overly upset but it never hurts to look and it certainly makes you analyze things a little closer.
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    03-12-2013, 10:42 PM
Holy opposing views Batman!

This whole thread makes me uncertain about feeding, and I don't even own a horse! I am looking to own one in the very near future, and to use them to farm in the not so near future, so I'd like to look at light work vs heavy work.

I want to produce all the horse's feed on my own land, but not if it meant s/he would be deficient. I know I could just buy a supplement, and I'm keeping that option open, but I want some opinions on this.

So pasture has everything needed, but hay doesn't? Does that mean if I grew fodder (Grains sprouted until 4" high) it would contain everything needed? I want to avoid grain, since I know it's a huge issue with most horses, but if I had to feed it, how finely it should be ground, and which grains? I know someone mentioned that oats was 52% indigestable, is there a different grain that would be better?
    03-12-2013, 11:08 PM
Grass/pasture doesn't automatically have everything a horse needs. There are mineral deficiencies on a regional basis (selenium is a very common one) down to that particular field (which could be deficient in a particular mineral because of the crops that were grown on it previously combined with poor crop rotation).

When you cut & dry grass to turn it into hay, the nutrients that are present start to degrade. Some- like vitamins & omega-3 fatty acids- degrade VERY quickly, so even hay made from "perfect" grass cannot be counted on to provide sufficient amounts of these. Other nutrients degrade more slowly, but loses quite a bit over the year it's stored before the next batch of hay is grown and harvested.

I think it's best to avoid grains entirely- most don't really have a lot of nutrition, and are very high in sugar/starch which horses digest poorly. Keep in mind that even though many people call all pelleted feeds "grain" not all pelleted feeds actually contain grain. ("Hard feed" is a better term to use for anything that isn't hay/grass.) For easy keepers, the only hard feed they might need is a ration balancer or a multi-vitamin supplement. The RB or multi-vitamin is there to simply fill in the nutritional holes that exist because no grass/hay is completely perfect.
    03-13-2013, 11:51 AM
Feeding horses is actually pretty simple if you know the basics and are familiar with the horses digestive system.
Missy May likes this.
    03-13-2013, 11:59 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by OneFastHorse    
Feeding horses is actually pretty simple if you know the basics and are familiar with the horses digestive system.
Lol until you start researching all the new discoveries.
    03-13-2013, 12:00 PM
Originally Posted by poppy1356    
Lol until you start researching all the new discoveries.
IMO, it's pretty easy. I don't go overboard with it, but I have a pretty nice feeding plan, I think.
    03-13-2013, 12:09 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by OneFastHorse    
IMO, it's pretty easy. I don't go overboard with it, but I have a pretty nice feeding plan, I think.
It can be easy enough until you throw in some other factors like laminitis, overweight, IR, allergies, the list goes on. That's where it gets confusing and sometimes people have no idea they are dealing with any of those things.

My feed plan is now very simple and basic and I have cut my costs by 2/3 by finding the right program for my horse and taking care of the other issues that were caused by the feed.
    03-13-2013, 12:25 PM
There are as many Veiws on feeding as there are horses.. I read learn and what works best for my Horses is what I feed.. around here Most feed stradegy. A 50lb bag cost about $17 and I feed Nutrina Safe Choice at the same cost. I give msm but other that the feed and grass hay that is it. Mine are 100% healthy and sound I have 1 10 year old geldings 1 15 year old gelding then up north we have 4. 3 mares that are 10, 16 and 26 and a gelding who is 20 all of the ones up north are working show horses and are feed just like the ones here. I seriously think Some people Go WAY overboard with out needing too..
    03-13-2013, 12:31 PM
Originally Posted by QuarterHorseLuv    
I'm looking for some input from everyone.

I'm looking to cut down on the cost of feed. I'm encountering some financial difficulties and I wouldn't mind cutting costs without sacraficing on my geldings nutritional needs.

13 year old Quarter Horse gelding. Always been an easy keeper. Outdoor board for spring/summer/fall and Indoor board over the winter. Free-choice grass hay is available at all times. Ridden 1-2 hours 2-3 days a week, so light work IMO.
Currently he is fed 1lb Gro n' Win twice daily (product info here - Product Details - Gro 'n Win) and one 50lb bag is $35.25 (lasts ~25 days) and on top of this he gets 1 scoop of 3000mg glucosamine ($35/month) and 1 tbsp yucca ($5-7/month). $50 to supplement him with Vitamin A orally throughout the winter as he has been deficient this year...

The vet actually has concerns of an allergy to an ingredient in the Gro n' Win which is causing an oily skin which is leading to other problems. I'm not on board with this theory yet but ... may be an interesting test to see what happens if I do change up our products.
Nothing against your vet, but I would be more concerned with feeding a 32% Protein feed to an animal with weight issues.

The other thing I'll suggest is, it's a lot cheaper to pay the feed store than the vet. I don't over spend on my feeds but I don't try to cut corners either.
smrobs likes this.
    03-13-2013, 12:39 PM
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    
Nothing against your vet, but I would be more concerned with feeding a 32% Protein feed to an animal with weight issues.

The other thing I'll suggest is, it's a lot cheaper to pay the feed store than the vet. I don't over spend on my feeds but I don't try to cut corners either.
The gro n win is 32% on the label, but you're not actually feeding 32% protein at each feeding. You have to do the math and figure out how much protein is in each lb, b/c that's not how it works. The GnW is HIGHLY concentrated so that you can feed 1-2lbs a day depending on the weight of the animal and it's workload.

This is why feed labels are misunderstood.
verona1016 likes this.

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