feed question

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feed question

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    12-17-2012, 12:16 AM
feed question

Does anyone create their own feed?

When I had my horses at home, before my injury and I had them boarded, I use to mix a 14% sweet feed with oats and something else, I can't remember. Prior to making my own, I was using strategy. My horses are just for pleasure, they are not worked hard, so the strategy was a bit over kill and very expensive. I had also heard of a lot of horses colicing on it, so I stopped using it.

I am currently still boarding and the stable owner does a mix of his own, but not sure what is in it. I hope to have my horses home this spring and I am looking at what is best to give them.

My pony is an EASY keeper, my Arab is average and I have 4 miniatures. I have the miniatures on the new purina miniature/pony feed and the baby on equine junior/mare & foal mix. He gets purina 12:12 as well.

I feed praire hay that is baled across the street from me.

Looking for economical but nutritionally complete. I want something good for their hooves and coats as well.

What household products do you all use for supplements as well?
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    12-17-2012, 04:50 AM
Originally Posted by tigggr1570    
does anyone create their own feed?
Yes, sort of. My horses' main diet is grazing. I feed literally a handful daily of a pelleted supplement(because it's palatable & my horse is fussy) & add other supps to it, so they get what they need. I don't know if you'd class them as 'household products' but I add liquid seaweed emulsion for iodine & add magnesium chloride to their premixed 'ration balancer' powdered supp to 'top dress' that handful of pellets. They have a rock of salt near their trough too, to lick if/when needed.

I use to mix a 14% sweet feed with oats and something else, I can't remember. Prior to making my own, I was using strategy. My horses are just for pleasure, they are not worked hard, so the strategy was a bit over kill and very expensive. I had also heard of a lot of horses colicing on it, so I stopped using it.
Afraid sweetfeed is not a healthy choice - junk food for horses generally. Oats are a good choice IME *IF* a horse needs grain. But often there are also healthier alternatives if your horse needs more energy/phosphorus. It also depends on how many feeds a horse gets daily as to whether I'd consider grain or other high sugar/starch or hard to digest feeds. Though it sounds like your horses aren't likely to need any 'high octane' ingreds anyway like that if they're easy keepers.

Strategy is a sweetfeed 'product'(most ingredients 'products', not actual straights... Purina also don't have fixed ingredients or list them on their site, because they use different ingreds according to what's available & cost) that is meant more as a 'ration balancer' than feed - so you shouldn't have to feed much, so it may be more expensive per bag but may still be economical. But being relatively low-grade as far as they go, for a horse to get adequate levels of those supps, you do have to feed a relatively large amount compared to, say, Triple Crown. There are likely to be extra supps needed too (especially given high starch/sugar, I'd be giving extra Mg for eg.).

I have found, after analysis, that you do (often) tend to get what you pay for & choosing a cheaper product may be doing your horse no favours, so you're effectively wasting your money. BUT I have also learned, after analysis of many feeds & supps NOT TO TRUST blindly in the lables & company spiel about a product. I personally use a service called feedxl.com which is an invaluable program, to take the guesswork... & headaches out of working out specific horse's diets & nutrition.

My pony is an EASY keeper, my Arab is average and I have 4 miniatures. I have the miniatures on the new purina miniature/pony feed and the baby on equine junior/mare & foal mix. He gets purina 12:12 as well.
Are the mini's hard keepers?? If not I'm curious why you're feeding them high fat feed? I'd steer well away from any high fat/energy/starch rich prods such as that. If they are hard keepers, I'd actually want to get at the root of the problem first, but would still be inclined to avoid the Purina.

Looking for economical but nutritionally complete.
Something comes to mind about cakes & eating them! As I said, you do tend to get what you pay for, so IMO if you want good products you'll generally pay a fair bit more, but that's not to say they're necessarily uneconomical either - for eg. I used to feed a KER pelleted 'ration balancer' that essentially was perfect for my guys with nothing extra. It was (sit down!) $170/20kg bag, but I literally had to feed a single handful daily to the big guys(less for the ponies & after diet analysis, worked out they needed about 2/3 what the package recommended). So it was quite economical despite the outlay.... when I was feeding lots of horses - not worth it for the 2 I have now.

Oh & re diet analysis, so you can buy the prods that are genuinely best for your horse's situation, know how much to feed & therefore not be guessing & throwing supps at them willy nilly, I vote FeedXL Horse Nutrition: The D.I.Y. Equine diet planner as great value from an economic perspective too. Know I sound like I'm on their payroll, but IME for the minimal signup fee, this service has paid for itself a number of times over, in savings on amounts(of course the feed co's recommend more than needed), good supps that actually have what's needed, don't just say that on the lable, and peace of mind that my horses are getting what they should.... oh & the qualified nutritionist on call on the forum for info, research & to ask specific questions of shouldn't be undervalued either!

So... after all that, I'd start with the basics of grass/hay(pref. Low NSC, especially for the easykeepers) & add appropriate supplements to provide good nutritional balance. Then if they need more, ingredients such as beet pulp, rice bran, etc are high energy but very low sugar/starch.
nvr2many and tigggr1570 like this.
    12-17-2012, 05:08 AM
We Cut our own hay, does that count? Lol.
tigggr1570 likes this.
    12-17-2012, 05:15 AM
^Yep, that makes it a household product in my book ... unless you live in a trailer or some such!
twp and tigggr1570 like this.
    12-17-2012, 08:59 AM
Green Broke
The NSC in PurinaMiniature Horse and Pony feed is 22%. Seems kind of high. I actually use a few cups for my big horse in her meals but I don't give it to my 2 ponies.
    12-17-2012, 09:48 AM
Thanks for the information. A lot of information/abbreviations I don't understand but, will look up. :)

My pony and miniatures are both easy keepers, the arab not so much. He's not hard, just not easy to plump up like the others.

The pony could do without extra feed at all as he gets looking like he swallowed a round bale if not careful. The miniatures the same, I had to cut back their hay, too as they were getting very rotund. They are looking a lot better now.

We don't have a lot of feed stores around here. Mostly tractor supply and atwoods. So, not sure what I can find around here in terms of different products.

What do you all mean by a ration balancer ?
    12-17-2012, 11:58 AM
Green Broke
A ration balancer is a highly concentrated feed. Protein levels are around 30% for most. Lots of vitamins and minerals in a small amount.

I use Nutrena Empower Balance on ponies and I'm giving them 1/3 of a measuring cup for my 11 hand old girl at each meal. It's more expensive per bag but when you figure out what your feeding it's way cheaper.

NSC is the carbs and starches in the feeds. Ponies generally don't need much.
tigggr1570 likes this.
    12-17-2012, 07:22 PM
Originally Posted by loosie    
^Yep, that makes it a household product in my book ... unless you live in a trailer or some such!
Rofl, I do live in a trailer.
Red Cedar Farm likes this.
    12-17-2012, 07:56 PM
My horses just get hay/grass and minerals, most of the time. One mare is a harder keeper, so she gets a little bit of oats when I'm riding her regularly. I'm no nutritionist, but my horses stay healthy and sound and live a long time.

If you're going to invest in supplements/ration balancers, etc... it makes sense to get your hay tested first to see what you actually need. Your hay/pasture grass should form the basis of the horse's diet, and then anything else you add is based on what the hay isn't providing.
tigggr1570 and Red Cedar Farm like this.
    12-19-2012, 03:09 PM
Unless I have a late gestation mare, one that is nursing, a growing foal, or a horse who is in training, working hard or has difficulty in keeping weight on (which thankfully none of mine do), I do not give grain/feed at all. Right now, the only horse getting any feed supplementation is my 2.5 year old colt, Elvis, who is in moderate to rigorous training and is still developing. He gets 3 quarts of Safe Choice per day in addition to all the hay he can eat, plus I let him up in the yard to graze for an hour or so. He's maintaining perfect weight.
Horses, as a general rule do not need grain and do best when on a forage only diet in the way of grazing and/or hay. Sweet feed, IME, causes more problems than anything. If your horse (generally easy keepers) is insulin resistant (or IR), sweet feed and grains (especially corn) in general can trigger a laminitic episode in the same way that putting them out on fast growing or stressed pasture. It has to do with the sugar content. Ponies and minis are most susceptable, and most are IR, which is why so many of them founder so easily.
I've also switched out salt and mineral blocks for loose salt and mineral supplements that my horses have available free choice. It's easier for them to ingest the amount they need this way, as with the blocks it can be difficult for them to get as much as they need in one trip.
Hope this helps some. :)

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