Low starch/sugar feed questions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-10-2012, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Low starch/sugar feed questions

I'm going to be sending my 3 yo TWH to be started this year and the only thing that I am worried about is that the trainer uses what he calls 12% feed, which I am assuming is a sweet feed, that he can be given if he needs more calories.

Baldur (easy keeper), Thor (air fern), and Eyore (easy keeper) currently eat grass hay and have a loose free choice vit/min supplement (ADM GROstrong) with an occasional handful of corn as a treat. They stay a very good weight this way, actually Thor is quite fat, but when Baldur starts training he will be burning more calories and may need something additional.

I really dislike sweet feeds (seen too much bad stuff happen with them) and would rather take my own feed. But it's been so long since I had a need to feed anything but hay I'm a bit out of touch with what is out there now.

What is everyone's preference for low starch/sugar feeds? Why do you like that particular one so much? Thanks guys!
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-10-2012, 03:38 PM
Green Broke
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My older QH gelding needs a low starch/sugar diet and I was using Purina's Wellsove L/S and he did very good on that. But, I wanted to get all my horses on the same feed so I switched to Life Data Lab's Barn Bag for Performance Horses. It's a concentrated feed (my QH gets a cup and the Arabians a little less, the amount depends on the their weight) that you mix with whole oats for energy (depends on how much work they do). You can forgo the oats and mix it with beet pulp for lower sugar/starch.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-10-2012, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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I may as well ask this here as well. About beet pulp, I've heard a lot of good things about it but have never actually seen it. I know it comes in shreds or pellets and needs to be soaked, that's all I know. How long does it need soaking? Is there a starter amount that is generally used that can be upped later?
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-11-2012, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by smokeslastspot View Post
I may as well ask this here as well. About beet pulp, I've heard a lot of good things about it but have never actually seen it. I know it comes in shreds or pellets and needs to be soaked, that's all I know. How long does it need soaking? Is there a starter amount that is generally used that can be upped later?
I would recommend soaking, as fed dry it can commonly cause choke (it is not true it swells up int their stomach), and pellets expand more, meaning they need more water and more time to soak, typically about 4x the amount of water than the amount of beet pulp, and I would soak for about 30 minutes, but shredded 2x the amount of water than beet pulp, and soak for about 15 minutes. There really is no starter amount, start small and slowly up it.

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post #5 of 9 Old 02-12-2012, 06:18 AM
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Corn is high starch, high sugar, think horse candy. It's a treat for a job well done here and nothing more. Mostly it's for my chickens.

A ration balancer with some hay pellets is about as low starch as you can get. The ration balancer is pretty rich but you feed so little that it doesn't matter.

Some of the complete pelleted feeds are very low starch. Blue Seal's Trotter is one. I used it for years and years on my air ferns. My oldest air fern started gaining on even a handful of that (small, 37 year old pony) and I switched to a ration balancer with some very low carb hay stretcher to fill her up.

I've got a walker but she came to me in really rough shape in the beginning of winter. I do suspect she will be an easy keeper too. It's been kind of hard putting weight on her only because I can't separate the pony so I have to stand guard over the richer food for the walker. Even the walker isn't getting a bunch of high test stuff. I didn't want to overload her system. Most of her extra fat is coming from rice bran. Tried a few senior feeds but they seemed to make her hot. Tells me she was getting more sugar from them than she needed.

So I'm back to free choice hay, ration balancer and rice bran for fat and calories. I'm also using a very low starch hay stretcher to fill them up because a 16 hand horse gets all it's nutrition from a cup of feed when using a ration balancer.

It's also subzero this morning. They will be getting a bucket of warm beetpulp.

Beetpulp is great food. It is a major ingredient in most of the senior horse feeds and many of the higher calorie performance feeds. It's nutrional value falls somewhere between grain and hay.
Drawback.... lot a calcium in beetpulp, not much phosphorus.
Careful going too heavy with it in a young horse. Can mess up the bone growth. A few cup fulls to add calories will do no harm. For old horses it's a godsend.

I doubt the trainer is going to add all sorts of this and that and make feeding complicated if this is a multihorse barn. Keep it simple. A pelleted complete feed, some rice brain for fat and calories. Make any changes in feed slowly.

Calories per pound chart

Calories per Pound Reference Chart

about ration balancers

Ration Balancer Reference Thread
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-12-2012, 06:43 AM
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The % that you listed has to do with the amount of protein and not necessarily a sweet feed. Sweet feeds have gotten a bad rap but I'm a firm believer that it is an old wife's tale. It is the ingredient order and amount and not the molasses that makes the difference. I've been using sweet feed for over 30 years and have never noticed an ill effect from it.

The one I am using now is made by a regional mill in SC and I feed 1lb each feeding twice per day with no problems and my mare is in excellent condition. I've taken some pretty thin horses back to a good weight using it as well.

This is the formula that is used:

Elite feed.jpg

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post #7 of 9 Old 02-12-2012, 04:39 PM
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I feed my guy Blueseal Carb Guard. It has pretty low sugar\starch, no molasses or corn. I have noticed a major improvement in my boy as he was getting hot off his normal feed. Its main ingredients are alfalfa and beat pulp, instead of corn and wheat which was in his last feed- purina fat\fibre.
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-13-2012, 06:59 AM
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I wouldn't imagine(or want) the trainer to be doing anything like hard physical work when starting a 3yo, so wouldn't think they'll need more 'calories' for the task anyway.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-14-2012, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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He will not be doing hard work soon, but I plan on leaving him at the trainers for a long time this first time as well as sending him back later for additional training. Eventually he will be worked enough that he will most likely need some extra calories.

I just don't want to be like others I've seen who suddenly realize they need to feed their horse something and scramble to figure out what's available, what is good to use, and what is not. Better to learn ahead of the need even if I never need the knowledge, I tend to think way in advance.

Around here if a person uses a protein amount to refer to feed it is a sweet feed so that's why I'm assuming that's what he has when he said 12% feed. It's just sort of the lingo around here. If it is some other type of feed it is usually referred to by name.

Since he is getting all the fiber and vit/min he needs already I'm thinking it may be simpler to just use a bit of stabilized rice bran if he needs it for the extra calories.
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