Feeding whole flaxseed? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-28-2012, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Feeding whole flaxseed?

Do you guys feed whole flaxseed? Is it safe to feed whole, or does it have to be ground? I've also heard if you do feed it whole it has to be soaked and then boiled, is this necessary? Is it worth it to feed whole flax over ground?

I'm really just trying to learn guys, there's so much to information about feeding and I just feel so lost when I hear someone talking about how they feed this and that because blah blah blah. I'm also thinking about starting to feed flax, so really any information is highly appreciated.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-28-2012, 09:28 PM
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Actually ground flax seed will spoil. When you ground it, it releases its oil. The oil in flax is really good for their coats. When i used to feed flax, i never fed ground. Always whole. And i never heard of boiling it or anything.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-29-2012, 08:21 AM
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I actually did a ton of research on this recently. Whole is best, ground spoils REALLY quickly. Boiling and soaking destroys nutrients :) If you soak, a lot of the nutrients are leeched out of the seed, and get tossed out with the water.

Feed whole or just the oil. You'll probably get a million different opinions on this, though.

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post #4 of 18 Old 02-29-2012, 08:29 AM
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I also feed whole flaxseed. While some may pass through the system intact and can seen in the manure, enough get ground up in the chewing and digestion to do the job.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-29-2012, 09:19 AM
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I've fed flax on and off for years. Use about 1/4 cup flax seed to 2 cups of water. You can soak it first overnight to reduce boiling time. Watch it closely as it will suddenly boil up so use a large pot. That's the time to reduce the heat and stir well for about 5 min if presoaked, longer if not. The seeds should be nice and plump. If not many go right on thro. Take the entire contents of the pot, toss in a tbsp of salt and mix it into your hard feed, oats, pellets, etc. Hate to tell you but it looks like thick snot. It has a short fridge life of perhaps 24 hrs so don't make a huge batch. Fed daily for about a month your will see a difference in the coat.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-04-2012, 01:55 AM
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I use the blender and grind enough for 4 horses for 1 day all at once. I once tried to feed the whole flax and it did not make the difference in their coats i was used to seeing. That was proof enough that it does need to be ground for them to utilize it as well.

The seeds are small and hard and unless the horse actually chews it good enough to break the shell, it will pass through completely undigested. I figured out that I was wasting alot more than my horse was getting chewed by not grinding it and im a waste not want not kinda gal.

If you fill a regular blender about halfway to 2/3 full and just turn it on and dont shake it till it stops moving up the sides, it will grind it just like a coffee grinder but do a whole lot more all at once.

Fresh ground is vastly superior and does not waste. I bet half of what I was feeding or more was passing through undigested and its worth my time to take 3o0 seconds a day to grind it up.

Boiling it is now unnecessary but probably done before the days where it was common to have blenders and coffee grinders since it does spoil when ground and people in those days did not like to waste. Many things pass on from generation to generation not taking in to account the change in the times and knowledge.

So long story short, IMO and IME, grind it daily for the best utilization, but no need to boil or add water.

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post #7 of 18 Old 03-04-2012, 02:06 AM
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What are the benefits of flaxseeds? Are the fresh seeds more potent than the oil?

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post #8 of 18 Old 03-04-2012, 08:59 AM
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The healthy omegas in flaxseed are evident in coat shine and condition. If you google flax oil for human use you get far more info about their benefits. There are different kinds of flaxseeds out there that effect ruminants differently than single stomach creatures like humans and horses.
I buy my flaxseed from a feed mill in a 50lb bag. They are "feed" grade high fat flaxseed and aren't nearly as expensive as most flaxseed people get for themselves or animals.
In ruminants (which I have) unground/undigested seed isn't an issue since they have 4 stomach chambers and they chew cud, but I decided to give them to my horse whole anyway.
He is a slow eater who chews his food well without hoovering it down, and I have seen a difference in his coat since bringing him home and putting whole flaxseed directly into his feed. Because of how I buy my seed, if some don't get ground up and they pass through it's ok to me. The chickens will get them when scratching out the manure piles looking for other goodies.
Yes, the results in my ruminants are somewhat better than my horse so far, but I'm also the lazy sort who doesn't want to have to clean the blender or grinder each day.
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-04-2012, 09:12 AM
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I just want to add I feed it whole, I have for 15 years, I learned this trick from an old Pinhooker. (someone who buys TB yearlings, and sells them as two year olds).
It really works.

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post #10 of 18 Old 03-07-2012, 08:06 PM
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Whole grains are generally hard for a horse's system to digest & seeds such as flax(linseed) have a harder coating on them too, making them even less digestible whole. I wouldn't rely on horses chewing them up either, because for one they're extra small & also it depends very much on the horse's teeth, the way they chew their feed, what they're fed, etc. People are right though that processed flax loses it's nutritional benefits very quickly. Also heating destroys some of the essential fatty acids, so soaking in boiling water can reduce it's goodness too. Therefore I do what Trinity suggests & grind it fresh daily. As they don't need much at all & at present I only have 2 horses, I use a coffee grinder. The oil is good too, but it needs to be cold pressed & kept in a cool place & lightproof container. My prob with this is not only the practicality of me keeping it properly, but how it may have been stored before I got it & how long it may last before losing it's goodness.
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