Okay, so since it has been determined that my gelding has no ulcers, should I change his feed back to a regular grain-based feed?
At our barn, we feed SafeChoice, so that is what I would readily have access to (along with other Nutrena and Purina products). I still want to continue with his hay pellets, so it would only be a matter of really which feed he gets more benefit from for the amount of money I would be spending....the reason I am concerned about price point is he will be moving to pasture board shortly and for the most part it is self care.
Currently I spend 50 dollars on a two month supply of Nutrena Empower Balance. He gets 1 pound of this a day in addition to the 5 pounds of timothy hay pellets and now 6 lbs of alfalfa cubes (its been hot and they haven't been eating the cubes, so the BO just cut back on them for everyone). The pellets, for a 4 weeks supply, cost $50 dollars so all together I spend $75 a month on feed....if I add in the alfalfa cubes I will have to buy, I will be spending a total of $125 dollars per month. If I were to move him to SafeChoice (assuming he gets 5 lbs a day), I would be spending about $140 dollars on feed, total per month.
The only real significant difference between these two feeds are their protein content....The RB has 30% fat, and SafeChoice has only 14%. SafeChoice is lower in all of the vitamins and minerals when compared to the ration balancer, but it is higher in fat (7% compared to 5%) and it is also higher in fiber (15% compared to 8%).
I could also raise his ration of the ration balancer (the max is 2 lbs per day), which means I would be spending at maximum around $175 dollars on feed per month (the third bag would always carry over though).
Any way it happens, he is still going to be on a fat supplement because the way I see it, both feeds are meant for relatively easy keepers and are lacking in the fat department.
I am open to other feed suggestions as well, given that they are cost effective for what they provide.