Nutrition for draft horses? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-20-2013, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Question Nutrition for draft horses?

I have a coming two year old draft filly who I will be beginning buying my own hay for by next month. Now that I'm taking the initiative to find my own, quality grass (will be getting a hay analysis tomorrow for my potential source hopefully) I'd like to find out what she really needs. I've had horses for a while but, I've never been responsible for the diet of a draft horse let alone a growing one. So if anyone has any good information, or links/directions to some good information I'd be very grateful.

Currently, she stays fat off of timothy/brome/orchard grass which is not of the greatest quality (she's free fed though through winter) this is part of the reason I will be getting her own hay. Occasionally, mostly before she was free fed, I fed her 3lbs of purina junior once per day. Lately, I've been feeding beet pulp ~3.5lbs with water.

look forward to hearing from ya'll


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Last edited by Ashleysmardigrasgirl; 01-20-2013 at 12:57 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-20-2013, 10:29 AM
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Get yourself a copy of by Dr. Beth Valentine. Good info on feeding drafts.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-20-2013, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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thanks a bundle biggreyhorse!!! much appreciated!

life has no remote control hitch them up and drive them your self
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-21-2013, 05:19 PM
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Free choice hay is actually very good for her, especially during winter, and the less grain she gets the better, if she is holding her own on free choice hay.
Find a good pellet that is high in fat and low in sugar/starch. Since she's growing maybe a pellet that higher in protien as well to help avoid the awkward baby belly that a lot of colts/fillies get. I fed my guy Blue Seal Demand for the first 2 years and he did great on it.
Right now I have him on a Timothy/Alfalfa cube sprinkled with oil, a bit of flaxseed and a multivitamen. He's 3, but his growth is starting the peeter out. He's a belgian.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-22-2013, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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The grain I fed her was purina junior and according to purina can be fed alone without forage as it's mostly just compressed grass with nutrients. <-- according to the feed store and purina

Would you consider this the high in fat low in sugar and starch?

here's nutritional facts from purina


also do you think it would be better if I forgo the grain all together and just feed beat pulp since it's low cal and 10 percent protein, 0.8 percent calcium and 0.5 percent phosphorus

according to some reading I've done " It has been used to replace over 50% of the forage in horse's rations without adverse effects when fed with other balanced concentrates" <-- which makes me wonder if I should feed them in conjunction with each other? Maybe in reduced rations (though she doesn't get very much any ways)

I will also add, I do like to feed the beet pulp and would prefer to feed this to her as I appreciate the ability to make sure she's getting some more water, especially coming from a very dry environment in winter.

this will be her new slowfeeder box
need to find a screen for it, I'm thinking 4 inch plastic trellis
anyone here have experience/ ideas for a screen?

life has no remote control hitch them up and drive them your self

Last edited by Ashleysmardigrasgirl; 01-22-2013 at 02:26 PM.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-22-2013, 02:47 PM
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I've never owned a draft or draft cross, but from what I've read and observed from my trainer (who has a couple), they do need a different diet than light horses as they are very susceptible to EPSM (I think that's the right one...), hence the high fat/low starch.

Purina doesn't publish the starch/sugar (NSC) content of their feeds, but many of them are quite high so I'd do some digging on any of their products before deciding to use one.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-22-2013, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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I'm quite familiar with epsm I have been resarching it a lot. Hence why I think it's important to properly feed her (and why I'm asking for others' opinions ) I've seen that purina doesn't publish sugar or starch which is why I've been considering dropping it all together.

My next question would be how would the beet pulp replacing the grain affect her diet if she was fed free choice (we'll assume medium quality grass)?

Would I need to get a multivitamin type supplement? (The reason I fed the purina was I was under the impression it was fortified with nutrients) <- but the high sugar/starch potential makes me want to find another alternative. My biggest priority is that she's getting what she needs nutritionally.

Should I be feeding an oil?

forgot to mention earlier idk if it matters but, she's gets free choice salt/mineral blocks too.

life has no remote control hitch them up and drive them your self

Last edited by Ashleysmardigrasgirl; 01-22-2013 at 03:04 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-23-2013, 12:21 AM
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If she maintains a healthy weight on a mostly hay diet, then I would put her on a quality vit/min supplement mixed in with the beet pulp, or put her on a quality RB (ration balancer).

I use a RB. I use Buckeye Gro N Win. It is 13% NSC which is low. I will feed anything under 15% NSC. Triple Crown 30% is a RB and has higher levels of vit/min so you can actually feed less of it than you could of GnW. Plus, it is 9.3% NSC.

There are 3 feed brands I will use. Triple Crown, Buckeye and ADM. All three of these companies have fixed formulas. Companies like Purina & Nutrena have low cost formulas, which means that not every bag will be the same. They swap out ingredients with whatever is cheapest at the time. Fixed formula is just that; a fixed formula. Every bag is the same. It doesn't change.

IF Purina is easiest for you to find, you can feed their RB. I know quite a few ppl who do feed it and are happy with it. I believe their RB is Enrich 32. The Enrich 32 is 16% NSC I believe. Low, but there are others that are lower.

RB's are not "grain." They do not contain any cereal grains (corn, oats, barley, etc). This is why they are low NSC (starch/sugar).

It is a good idea to read the ingredient list on potential feed purchases. Just like human labels, the ingredients at the top are the most prevalent. If the ingredient list starts with corn, oats, molasses, barley, etc... then move on b/c it's going to be a high NSC feed. (actually, move on if any of those are present) Look for things like soybean meal, alfalfa meal, distillers grains (the way they are processed cooks all the sugar/starch out), flax, etc.

I just bought a slow feed net that fits a square bale in it for my feeder.
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Last edited by OneFastHorse; 01-23-2013 at 12:28 AM.
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