My Horse Is ALWAYS Hungry...help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Question My Horse Is ALWAYS Hungry...help?

I rescued a 6 year old OTTB Gelding at the beginning of April. He was underweight, but not super severely. I brought him to his new home and he has put on a good amount of weight (his ribs and hips don't stick out anymore) and he has put on a nice amount of muscle. He is ALWAYS hungry though. To the point he tries to eat chains, poop, lead ropes, anything he can put in his mouth. He gets fed alfalfa pellets 2 times daily and I feed him the recommended amount of Purina Enrich 32 every day. All the horses at the ranch get fed the same amount of the 2x daily pellets, but he acts like he isn't eating enough. It gets so bad I catch him trying to swallow and digest his lead rope and he won't listen or cooperate at all until he's eaten. He also has gotten more aggressive when he eats. If you go anywhere behind him when he eats, he will kick without a doubt.
I know that it sounds like its because he wasn't fed for so long before he was rescued but he wasn't like this when I first got him.
At the shelter he had free feed hay all day and got senior feed, (he was there for about 2 months) and then I moved him (safely) of the senior and onto Enrich. That was about the time he got moody about food and acts like he is "starved". Is it the food, the way he's feeding, or could something else be wrong?

Idk if it helps at all, but he is 100% regular as far as going to the bathroom everyday..nothing has changed there. And he has always been on the recommended amounts of food in the 2 months I've had him now...
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post #2 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 10:51 PM
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I think it sounds like he has a mineral or salt deficiency. They will eat weird things to fulfill a mineral/salt deficiency. Does he have access all the time to a white salt block and loose red minerals for horses?
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post #3 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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No he hasn't. I was going to try a salt block next. The red minerals...what can I give him that contains that or is it a one or the other thing between the white block and the red minerals....also...what is the difference between the brown salt blocks and the white? I heard one is better but which one is it?
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post #4 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 10:57 PM
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Does he get any hay or pasture?

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post #5 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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he is supposed to (according to my board agreement) be getting 1 - 2 flakes a day, but I have yet to see that happen...if he isn't though, its nothing new and this behavior is relatively new and worsening.
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post #6 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 11:03 PM
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He REALLY needs hay in front of him all the time.
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post #7 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissTwoPoint View Post
he is supposed to (according to my board agreement) be getting 1 - 2 flakes a day, but I have yet to see that happen...if he isn't though, its nothing new and this behavior is relatively new and worsening.
I'm not an expert but horses like to graze either hay or pasture. From all the things I've read its much like a baby and their instinct to suck, it soothes them at the same time as they get nourishment. The salt block is a must as well, not sure which one is better.
I'm not a big grain feeder myself just good quality hay and access to pasture, so I might be biased but my horses are all very friendly and seem to have good attitudes. Just my opinion.
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post #8 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 11:15 PM
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1-2 flakes a DAY??? I'm really not surprised he's acting the way he is.

1-2 flakes where I board is a "oh I wandered by and gave the horses a snack". I would quadruple his hay and if he is gaining too much weight, cut back on the grain.

Horses are designed to graze on grass, hay and the like. Not get 2 giant meals of grain and nada in-between.
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post #9 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 11:16 PM
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Red minerals - the feed store where you get the white salt blocks will have it. Be sure to get what is labeled okay for horses - if they get the kind with selenium it is toxic to horses if they get too much. You can also get him loose white salt - plain cheap table salt is fine to start.

Agree that if he is not getting forage (hay or grass to chew) then he probably has some serious digestive issues, maybe ulcers. He may be hungry but he's also got something else going on if he's chewing on whatever he can put in his mouth. If horses can't find grass or hay to eat, their stomach acid will give them ulcers, particularly if they are in a new environment and/or stressed (your horse qualifies, being new within the past few months). The barn owner needs to make sure he gets hay and for now he needs hay as close to 24 hours /day as possible (e.g., fed throughout the day, not just once or twice).
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post #10 of 49 Old 05-19-2012, 11:19 PM
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Completely agreed with Delfina.

A horse's digestive system is set up to be processing food near on constantly. Not doing so can cause all sorts of health issues.

Honestly, get him on a minimum of 2% of his ideal bodyweight in hay. If he should weigh 600kg, get him on 12kg of hay. Free choice hay is even better. If he needs the grain then give it to him, but I think you will be surprised how well he will do if you add a proper amount of hay to his diet.

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