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My Horse Is ALWAYS Hungry...help?

This is a discussion on My Horse Is ALWAYS Hungry...help? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Feeding a fat hungry horse
  • My mare is alwyas hungry

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    05-23-2012, 08:05 PM
  #41
Weanling
First of all, what a beauty! And what a difference in him; he looks great! Chestnut can be boring or dazzling, and he is a dazzler, for sure.

I am in the "feed him hay" camp. My horses have always done best with free or nearly free choice grass hay. I sometimes suppliment with a handful of alfalfa cubes when I'm not confident about the hay. But I would rather feed more of a slightly lesser quality hay than less of a better quality hay. You can give a horse all the calories, vitamins, minerals and fats a horse needs in a complete feed, but the horse won't be satisfied.

I take it even farther; when my Arab developed Cushing's disease he was depressed and skinny and nervous despite more than adequate feed. I got him a small hole hay net and an automatic feeder that gave him a quarter cup of food spaced out into twelve feedings. Then I gave him a cup of additional grain with his suppliments and medications twice a day.

This regime changed his whole attitude from dull and cranky and fretful to alert, friendly and cheerful, AND he got by on way less hay, although still a lot by most standards.

My Percheron, who weights twice what the Arab did, eats a third less hay and also less grain.
     
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    05-23-2012, 08:55 PM
  #42
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissTwoPoint    
alrighty...
stealing hay from the the hay barn


Moving him at the end of the month to a new facility that will hopefully help him since its calmer and has less horses.
A) You should not feel the need to 'steal' hay from the hay barn if he was getting adequate.

B) If the new place will just feed him more hay, I bet you notice he quits being so grumpy and nippy.

Good luck.
     
    05-24-2012, 11:06 PM
  #43
Banned
I am really suprised that no one caught this- Enrich 32 is a ration balancer- it is meant to be fed to horses that are super easy keepers that get little to no grain at all as a source of the vitamins and minerals they would otherwise be missing. It is not a feed within itself. Basically, all your pretty boy is getting is a bunch of alfalfa pellets which is protien, and Enrich, which is 32% protein and nothing else to fill his stomach. While he may be gaining weight, he could also be doing serious harm to his stomach, liver and kidneys with all that excess protein.
A little bit of info I learned while having one f my own horses scoped for ulcers- the foregut is responsible for breaking down sugars and proteins. If for whatever reason the foregut does not break all those down before passing into the hind gut, you start running into major problems like ulcers and worse.
caseymyhorserocks likes this.
     
    05-24-2012, 11:42 PM
  #44
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delacy    
I am really suprised that no one caught this- Enrich 32 is a ration balancer- it is meant to be fed to horses that are super easy keepers that get little to no grain at all as a source of the vitamins and minerals they would otherwise be missing. It is not a feed within itself.
That's good info. I don't feed ration balancers, I know they're all the rage in some places but I haven't felt the need for them so I'm not familiar with them at all. 32% ANYTHING is pretty high for a horse, I'd be very careful about how much of that I fed to anyone.
     
    05-24-2012, 11:43 PM
  #45
Foal
He sounds like the kind of horse who would bite off huge chunks of the salt blocks in this condition. This is a dangerous behavior as it can cause choking. Try himalayan salt licks, they're great. The horses can't bite off chunks and they don't dissolve in the rain. There's also another similar salt lick called "Redmond Rock Salt" that I have yet to try. ;)

Himalayan Hanging Salt Lick | Dover Saddlery
Redmond Rock Salt Lick | Dover Saddlery

Your horse should have salt available to him at all times, easily accessible by his water. He may consume the salt quickly, so make sure that you buy a couple at a time, so that you always have backup when he finishes one off.

When feeding, make sure you're feeding by weight, not by quantity. (Two pounds vs. 1 flake) Every bale of hay's flakes will be a different weight, and to make sure that your horse is consistently getting the portions he needs, it is vital to feed by weight instead of quantity. The same goes for grains and pelleted feeds.

It sounds like your horse could benefit from free-choice hay. It's not always a good idea to give free choice alfalfa, but a good option is to feed free choice orchard, bermuda, oat, etc., and small feedings of alfalfa in the morning and evening. In addition, feeding him a complete or supplemental pelleted feed would be a good idea, too. In most cases, hay alone does not provide a nutritionally sufficient diet.

Have you thought about supplements yet? They can be a great way to help balance and complete your horses nutritional needs. There are supplements for all sorts of things, but if your horse is an OTTB, there is a pretty high chance that he has gastric ulcers. Starting with a supplement like U-Gard to first heal, and then a supplement like U-7 Gastric Aid to maintain and prevent is a great idea. Digestion and weight gain supplements are also relevant in this situation, as well. If he's been nutritionally neglected, his hooves may be unhealthy, so a hoof supplement is also an option. Coat supplements may also be valid here.

I'm sure that you can't afford to give him all of these supplements, but in reality, you don't need to. Think about what the most important areas are for him. I would venture to guess that first U-Gard and later U-7 Gastric Aid are going to help him a lot.

For complete feeds, senior feeds are a good option for weight gain (and in some cases maintaining hard keepers). Depending on where you are at, Triple Crown and LMF feeds are definitely a favorite of mine.

Good luck, and keep us updated!! :)
     
    05-25-2012, 12:20 PM
  #46
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delacy    
I am really suprised that no one caught this- Enrich 32 is a ration balancer- it is meant to be fed to horses that are super easy keepers that get little to no grain at all as a source of the vitamins and minerals they would otherwise be missing. It is not a feed within itself. Basically, all your pretty boy is getting is a bunch of alfalfa pellets which is protien, and Enrich, which is 32% protein and nothing else to fill his stomach. While he may be gaining weight, he could also be doing serious harm to his stomach, liver and kidneys with all that excess protein.
A little bit of info I learned while having one f my own horses scoped for ulcers- the foregut is responsible for breaking down sugars and proteins. If for whatever reason the foregut does not break all those down before passing into the hind gut, you start running into major problems like ulcers and worse.
Good catch. The Enrich 32 formula is designed to be fed with a grass-based diet (where the horse is getting at least 2% of his desired body weight in grass forage daily).

The protein level isn't actually high when fed correctly. Yes, it's 32% protein, but you're only feeding 1.5-2.5 lbs/day (0.48-0.8 lbs/protein), not the 8+ lbs/day that you would feed when giving a typical grain (1.12 lbs/day of protein for Purina Senior) So even though the percentage looks ungodly high, you're actually feeding less protein overall.

Purina does also make a ration balancer meant to be fed with an alfalfa diet- it's the Enrich 12 formula, which has lower protein content to compensate for the protein already in the alfalfa.
     
    05-25-2012, 06:53 PM
  #47
Started
My 11 hand, completely retired pony eats more than 2 flakes a day and she is a super easy keeper.

I feed Nutrena's ration balancer but my horses are on 20 acres of grass and have a run in. In the winter hay is free choice.

Look at the recommended amount of hay on the Enrich directions...

Purina Horse Feeds - NATURE'S ESSENTIALS
     
    05-28-2012, 04:28 AM
  #48
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delacy    
I am really suprised that no one caught this- Enrich 32 is a ration balancer- it is meant to be fed to horses that are super easy keepers that get little to no grain at all as a source of the vitamins and minerals they would otherwise be missing.

See another new thing today! I didn't know this, as I have no clue what a ration balancer is.. thanks for the information :)
     
    05-28-2012, 01:02 PM
  #49
Weanling
Good luck with the move, it sounds like a positive thing for this boy.

My BO had an OTTB for about 2 years named Willow, she had come with "frequent colics" and just had a lackluster coat which they figured out to be ulcers. Alfalfa is actually good for them because of the calcium, so the mare was given 1 flake of alfalfa twice a day, and then had grass hay in a small hole feed net constantly. She was not given any grain except a handful of plain oats as a "I'm sorry the other horses are getting grain and you're not, here's a token bite". This helped her so much, and after a few months she realized that the food was not going anywhere and they no longer needed the slow feed nets, she would eat her hay slowly and calmly instead of gobbling it down.

My mare has a tendency to be ulcery as well, but she is on the same diet as the OTTB and she has not been symptomatic since then. Her only symptoms were dunking her hay and picking at her grain. She is a picky eater and hay dunking can be common, but being she is a horse who is a bit neurotic (Neurotic Mare (tm)) and weaves and paces when she has anxiety, we pegged her as an ulcer horse and put her on the diet, I did choose to treat my mare with omeprazole for 14 days and did not show her last year. She looks better now than she has in years :) She is also at a very low-key barn with a consistent routine, which helps too. My mare gets 1 flake alfalfa in the morning before her grain, which she gets 1lb plain oats along with her supplements (Smart Flex Sr herb-free and Quiessence), she gets free choice grass hay all day long, comes in her house at about 5pm and gets 3 flakes alfalfa hay, along with 1lb of plain oats, and 1lb Empower Boost (a rice bran, high fat supplement). The 3 flakes last her until morning most days, of course she shakes the alfalfa leaves out of the hay part and eats those first, then munches on the stemmy part the rest of the night.
     

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