Is it safe to feed bread to horses?
We are rehabbing a rescue mare who is in pretty bad shape. We have her on 1 big scoop of Life Design Senior + a large handful of shredded alfalfa + a bit of vegetable oil, 2x a day, because this is what the rescue I volunteer at uses for their emaciated horses and they've always had excellent results after 3-5 months. This mare also has a nice round bale of hay due to the fact that we have little grass. She also has a ~7-month-old colt on her side, and though he is on a good Mare&Foal feed, he occasionally will still try to nurse (I don't think the mare has much--if any-- milk, however). He is going to a new foster home this week, hopefully tomorrow, to be weaned so if he is pulling her down at all, that won't be an issue anymore.
Lately I have seen several people on my local horse/tack sale groups discussing adding a little bread to a horse's feed to help with weight gain. My question is, is bread safe for horses to consume daily? We can get about 25 loaves of day-old bread (as in, the nice brands like "bunny bread" or "nature's own") from the local bread factory/place for ~$3, so it's pretty convenient and cheap. I have researched this a bit but most of the threads I find on other sites are older.
If we started this mare on bread, we would likely only give her two slices per feeding and would definitely crumble it up into small pieces before adding it. I've heard choke is a concern, but with such little bread, would the chances of that be slim? What is the maximum amount of slices we should/could give her per feeding?
Has anyone else fed bread to help with weight gain?