Getting old, easily distracted, ladies to eat? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By riccil0ve
  • 1 Post By HarleyWood
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-22-2012, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Getting old, easily distracted, ladies to eat?

So I do not know what is up with Miss LaceyLace but she has been getting impossible about meal times.

She'll eat about half her AM/PM RB ration (which is currently split into 2 feedings) then wander off.
I stall her while she eats so she can't go far but after she decides she's done, she's DONE. There's no convincing her to return to her food.

This is like half a pound that she's having difficulty finishing, it shouldn't be this hard!

Of course, she's certainly not a hard keeper so nutrition-wise she's fine. However, it's basically imperative that she finish her food because, due to her eye stuff, she gets a large amount of anti-inflammatories+pain stuff that need to be ingested to work.

I've started adding about an ounce of chopped carrots to each "meal", to hopefully keep her attention but that's only working somewhat.

Anyhoo, not sure what the goal of posting this is but maybe someone has an idea for something to help her get interested in her food again?

As soon as the current bag of RB is done, she's switching to hay pellets+a vitamin/mineral supplement so maybe that'll help... Maybe she's just tired of the RB? She's been eating the same brand for over 2 years...

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-22-2012, 05:40 PM
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I have two theories. One) she is an old girl going off her feed, she has a lot of issues, it wouldn't be surprising if she has lost some of her appetite. Two) she's not that hungry. Why feed her a pound of "grain" if she isn't that hungry? It's like making yourself two sandwiches for lunch even though you are only hungry enough for one. Decrease the amount fed to what she actually wants to eat. A horse with 24/7 pasture isn't like a stalled horse with "meals." I only feed my girls just enough grain for them to eat the garlic powder I put in there. Otherwise I'm just wasting grain and they aren't getting the supplements I want them to have. I doubt she is "bored" with her food, she's eaten grass her whole life.
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-22-2012, 05:40 PM
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molasses kind of helped my gelding who had to get allergy stuff he at least eats all the supplements i pour it over the supplements and it will be a chunk of it adn he will eat most of the supplements that way. my other gelding has a hard time focusing on anything at all, hes always looking for the other horses when ridding and would walk away from his feed to eat my moms horse (dont have stalls yet and it takes forever for my other gelding to finnish in 30 minutes!) i added Vitamin B1 from smartpaks to his feed he will eat it out of my hand and LOVES to eat it! and now will finnish eatting his own food witch we doubled before trying to gives moms horse a chance to eat his own.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-22-2012, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Ricci, she gets as much as she does because of two things (otherwise I'd totally agree): it's a ration balancer so it's "supposed" to be fed in certain amounts to make sure she gets enough of her vitamins+minerals (that's partially why I'm going to be switching her to grass pellets+powdered supplement - don't need to feed as much to get "enough" in her) and, some of the things she gets are apparently "gross" in higher concentration. For instance, the flax seed she's fed. She just won't eat it if the seed:pellet ratio is too balanced in favor of seeds. Flax is said to be really good as an anti-inflammatory so I'm loath to cut down on that, you know?
Or salt, I supplement her salt because she doesn't have another source of salt but apparently the most salt "we" can "stand" is 1 tablespoon/half lb of feed. According to FeedXL, she needs at least 3 tablespoons/day of salt for her to be getting barely enough but just 2 is a major struggle.

Old horses, I tell you! I'm hoping that the hay pellets will do the trick. Neither of the horses seem to think Enrich 32 tastes all that great. They'll eat it but neither one is really thrilled about it. And maybe, since she is in pain a lot of the time (though she is on some major painkillers to help), that's just taking her appetite for "less than tasty" things away. I know when I have a migraine, I'm still happy to eat...pudding but real food just doesn't appeal. Maybe it's the same...

HarleyWood, I WISH I could add molasses! She would sure eat it then! haha However, she's insulin resistant, on top of everything else, so sugar=terrible.

However, this has given me some good thoughts. Maybe I'll switch from giving her the majority of her "stuff" in the morning to giving it in the evening. She usually always cleans up the evening feeding (the smaller of the two - I feed all the things that work best with spreading out - like her painkillers, etc - then)...maybe she's just hungrier then. I suppose that would make sense, after wearing her grazing muzzle all day and with the sun going down, making her eyes feel better...

I will try that. :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-22-2012, 07:07 PM
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How about adding no sugar added apple sauce to try to entice her to eat? I'm not sure if that would be allowed for an IR horse tho.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-23-2012, 07:34 AM
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My 26 yr old Arab is a picky fuss-budget

He always has been but the farther into his 20's he gets, the fussier

He gets a physical twice-yearly. The vet keeps declaring that he will still be chuggin' along when my Walking Horses aren't; two of them have metaoblic issues.

Streeter is really nit-pickey about hay but the hay we have now will cause him to "wander" away from his feed pan, like the OP's horse does.

He's on Triple Crown's 30% RB so, as the OP stated, there's a certain minimum amount that has to be feed for him to get his vitamins/minerals.

He has four molars missing, so he also gets well mushed up timothy/alfalfa cubes. He LOVES those --- until he sees anybody else in the barn getting that Prime Rib hay that he finds so tasty. He forgets what he's eating and will cold stare me down until I give him hay

My theory is this is just who my Arab is but it gets worse as he gets older.

The same could be possible for the OP's horse but I would still have the vet give the horse a good physical, including some blood work just to be sure.

It's also possible there might be mild ulcer issues stopping the OP's horse from finishing its supplements. My 25 yo TWH, with equine metabolic syndrome, has hind gut ulcers plus the vet is suspicious of lipomas.

Sometimes he finishes his food at night, sometimes he doesn't. He is on daily ulcer meds for the rest of his life, but if the heat/humidity are up it seems to affect his eating anyway.

I have learned to discern when he's not feeling Up To Snuff. At night I often sacrifice feeding his Triple Crown Senior and will give him 3/4 cup of equine rice bran with a handful of crushed apples and carrots, to get his metabolic and arthritis supplements in him.

The rice bran at least keeps his energy up and lets him go right to his hay when he's done eating. While they need their supplements, they need to be munching hay more than anything
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-23-2012, 08:29 AM
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Is it possible to feed her several small meals through the day (I know it's not manageable for everyone, so just wondering)? Otherwise I'd try apple sauce or little bit of molasses (if you don't feed sweet feed).

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post #8 of 9 Old 08-23-2012, 08:42 AM
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Well that is one thing Lizzy does not have an issue with. She will eat whatever I put in front of her. Have you tried flax seed oil instead of just the seeds? Lizzy gets the oil and gobbles it right up, even licks the bottom of the bucket clean.

I have started giving Lizzy the Healthy Glo rice bran from ADM and it smells like cocoa puffs lol, I have to check to make sure there's no molasses in it though. They have a controlled starch version of it too. So maybe if the other stuff smells just as good perhaps adding a bit just to add flavor would help?

When I tried giving Lizzy alfalfa cubes (which are a huge no no in her book) in order for her to finish them I had to tie her up so the only thing she could reach was her bucket and she wasn't let free until she ate everything. Kind of like a child at dinner with veggies lol.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-23-2012, 08:46 AM
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If you are feeding her a pound I doubt its to much.

My mare Molly goes threw times of being a picky girl. She has mostly decided that unless its 3rd cutting mostly alfalfa hay she would rather STARVE than eat any hay at all. So "princess" has her own stash of hay now...

She isn't as easy to keep weight on as she used to be (she is 26) so I feed her 3 pounds of feed along with three pounds of soaked alfalfa cubes every morning & evening. She will NOT finish her grain (and thus leaving the supplements she needs...) unless the soaked cubes are mixed in. Occasionally changing up her feed all together or feed times seems to bring her interest back. But some days she is just to busy with a change around here to be bothered with eating at all.

So my suggestion is to see if she likes beet pulp, alfalfa cubes or pellets, soaked and mixed in with her meal. Maybe making everything all together softer and more like strained soup will encourage her.
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