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Grain free? Anyone do no grain diet?

This is a discussion on Grain free? Anyone do no grain diet? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Feed horse alfalfa pellets rice bran, no grain

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    04-08-2013, 12:32 PM
  #31
Trained
Thanks for all the info =]

She is in a huge herd so slow feed is not an option, they get lots of hay it just runs out at a certain point. Soon they will have grass to eat [hopefully]. I feed her 1-2flakes when I bring her in over the winter.

She was on enrich 32 over a year ago and her coat was super dull despite the same ammount of grooming. Her coat is great on strategy.

Do you think flaxseed and alfalfa pellets would be a good mix ?
     
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    04-08-2013, 03:17 PM
  #32
Trained
I have used one bag of Enrich for mine, but also fed flax, so I can't really judge it.
And yes, flax can go in with the soaked alfalfa
The ration balancer would provide all necessary vitamins and minerals, which 2 lbs of strategy won't. You could also try the strategy healthy edge. I prefer that over the TX because it's lower in nasty sugars.
     
    04-08-2013, 09:46 PM
  #33
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
because she eats 2lbs of strategy and hay all day until it runs out and she is slim.i would not say she is under weight,
It actually doesn't hurt horses(or us) to lose a bit of weight. In fact it's long term 'good condition' or being overweight, no regular 'hard seasons' to use up fat stores that commonly causes metabolic diseases. Of course you don't want your horse getting too thin, but I'd wait until/if she might need extra before feeding, rather than pre-empting & feeding her extra 'for Justin'.

As desert said, first & foremost, I'd ensure she doesn't run out of hay, but if you use a slow feeder, she won't be able to gorge on it either, so it may not mean she needs more hay.

If fed 2lb of strategy all at once, only once a day, she's probably not getting a lot from it & may also be suffering gut probs which cause her not to be an 'easy keeper'. It's possible that simply stopping feeding that will allow her to digest/process her feed better.

Quote:
also are alfalfa cubes and alfalfa pellets considered equal or are cubes better ?
I don't know about cubes - are they just compressed hay/chaff? If so, that would be better than more processed pellets. But remember the more processed stuff like that often is made from sweepings & such, the more processed the less nutrients it may retain, and horses' digestion also benefits from chewing of long stemmed fibre, so if feeding lucerne/alfalfa, I'd opt for hay, or at least chaff, rather than the more 'fast food' type.

So... all types of feed are best fed little & often, and you need to start gradually anything new - for eg. If you wanted to feed a whole cup of flax daily as Desert suggested, I'd start with a 1/4 cup & increase gradually over a week or so. If feeding starchy &/or fatty/oils, it's more important not to feed infrequent/large meals. But as per previous, if/when there is a need for extra energy, there are healthier, more easily digestible options such as rice bran, beet pulp, etc.
     
    04-08-2013, 09:55 PM
  #34
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
because she eats 2lbs of strategy and hay all day until it runs out and she is slim.i would not say she is under weight,
It actually doesn't hurt horses(or us) to lose a bit of weight. In fact it's long term 'good condition' or being overweight, no regular 'hard seasons' to use up fat stores that commonly causes metabolic diseases. Of course you don't want your horse getting too thin, but I'd wait until/if she might need extra before feeding, rather than pre-empting & feeding her extra 'for Justin'.

As desert said, first & foremost, I'd ensure she doesn't run out of hay, but if you use a slow feeder, she won't be able to gorge on it either, so it may not mean she needs more hay.

If fed 2lb of strategy all at once, only once a day, she's probably not getting a lot from it & may also be suffering gut probs which cause her not to be an 'easy keeper'. It's possible that simply stopping feeding that will allow her to digest/process her feed better.

Quote:
also are alfalfa cubes and alfalfa pellets considered equal or are cubes better ?
I don't know about cubes - are they just compressed hay/chaff? If so, that would be better than more processed pellets. But remember the more processed stuff like that often is made from sweepings & such, the more processed the less nutrients it may retain, and horses' digestion also benefits from chewing of long stemmed fibre, so if feeding lucerne/alfalfa, I'd opt for hay, or at least chaff, rather than the more 'fast food' type.

So... all types of feed are best fed little & often, and you need to start gradually anything new - for eg. If you wanted to feed a whole cup of flax daily as Desert suggested, I'd start with a 1/4 cup & increase gradually over a week or so. If feeding starchy &/or fatty/oils, it's more important not to feed infrequent/large meals. But as per previous, if/when there is a need for extra energy, there are healthier, more easily digestible options such as rice bran, beet pulp, etc.
     
    04-09-2013, 01:31 AM
  #35
Trained
My horses were only fed high quality alfalfa during the warmer months for years. In many cases the "pastures" they were on had no "lush grass". They did just fine.

I don't buy into the whole "all grains are bad" thing. But, I would be far more inclined not to grain a stalled horse. I feed some oats during the winter, I would feed barley instead, if available.
loosie likes this.
     
    04-09-2013, 09:13 AM
  #36
Trained
^^Yeah, agree that alfalfa can be a great feed for horses, just that it's important to ensure it's part of a balanced diet(where possible - drought & other necessities not withstanding of course). IMO diet & nutrition are a huge part of healthy horses. Also agree with your second statement - grain, particularly oats, can indeed be the best choice for some horses. But it's important to consider a horse's digestion, how difficult (most) grain is to digest, how high in starch & what effect that can have... etc. I do believe there are generally better options these days too.
Clava likes this.
     
    04-09-2013, 05:27 PM
  #37
Trained
I agree, I would rather have a horse that was thin over a fat horse. I just don't want her to lose any weight.

I bought some alfalfa pellets today and mixed some with her strategy. She ate some of it and then had a fit and wouldnt eat any more...shes a diva.

Like I said, slow feeder is not an option. I try to get as much hay as I can into her when I bring her in, but she lives in a huge herd and they get what they get.she gets more than most because she's bossy. It will be better when theres grass. She's lives out 24/7 btw.
     
    04-10-2013, 03:03 PM
  #38
Foal
My horses are on a grain free diet. For the ones that need supplementation, I feed alfalfa cubes (2 lbs/day) and rice bran (1 lb/day) and flax seed oil (2 oz). However, they are on 24/7 turnout (80 acres) with a round bale available at all times. When showing, I fed this same diet with free choice hay. Horses did very well. No energy spikes and seemed more relaxed in general.
     
    04-10-2013, 03:21 PM
  #39
Trained
I don't feed mine any grain. My mule gets free choice bermuda grass and my horse gets free choice bermuda grass in the morning and alfalfa at night. Since my horse is a little underweight right now I give him some alfalfa pellets with some corn oil. And they both have salt/mineral blocks.
     
    04-10-2013, 04:48 PM
  #40
Yearling
Mine get no grain of any kind.
A little bit of copra and beet pulp just to keep them use to it (so it's easier to gear them up when needed for riding distance when there's less hay and grazing), but normally 99% is grazing and hay or all free choice hay if there's no grass.
Back in the 70's and early 80's we fed grain. Thought our working horses needed it (hey, back then we didn't know any better and the horses worked fine). Discovered that it was BS. We went to better quality hay, kept the grazing and the horses did just as well and were probably better off.
     

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