Standlee Timothy Pellets - my learnings - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By Left Hand Percherons
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-09-2013, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Standlee Timothy Pellets - my learnings

I've been feeding Sam Timothy pellets without knowing much about them. So I started researching the Standlee brand on this and on other horse forum boards. several people advise against feeding the pellet au natural because of fear of choking.

Most suggested feeding it soaked with water since this also acted as another method of getting water into the horse.

My main concern was if the Timothy grass pellets were actually "forage" for the horse or if only hay counted.

I found a white paper on forage that said the pellets were indeed another source of forage. In fact, the white paper went on to say that processed pellets could be used as a sole source of forage and that they had benefits over long-stem hay. One benefit was volume to store/maintain opposed to hay bales. the lack of dust, elimination of mold and the guaranteed quality of pellets over baled hay. it even suggested that there was less waste on the part of the horse.

This white paper suggested feeding soaked.

so, I soaked my dosage of pellets. Since several people on other boards commented about the soak time of the Standlee brand, I decided to start the soak process as soon as I arrived at the barn.

An hour later those pellets were 3 times the size of mass in the bucket. Great big fluffy green worms.

I shook the bucket and dumped it into the feed trough. At first Sam wasn't sure what to make of the fluffy mush, but he did eat it. And, in observing him, I found less did leave his mouth and hit the dirt.

I'm glad I started to soak the pellets. I can't imagine that serving expanding in his stomach for the first time.

He is probably getting "light" servings of actual hay served to him. One or two flakes 2x a day in addition to his pasture forage. I think the timothy pellets are complementing this nicely since he appears to be stabilizing his weight. (He dropped quite a bit ~ nearly 150 lbs when we moved barns.) Added to the hay, pasture (scrub grass) and pellets is Purina ePlus.

In looking at Sam tonight, I am seeing the vibrant horse he was before the move and his temperament is returning. He is no longer losing weight and he is not gaining.

what i am observing on his current diet.

(I found out the BO is feeding him a can of grain 2x day, I'm going to ask her to stop that this week.)
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-10-2013, 07:53 AM
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Make sure that by dropping that can of grain you aren't taking his nutritional requirements below what he needs calorie wise to maintain. He may need ration balancer with those pellets to round out or a mineral supplement, is that what ePlus is? I'm not familiar with that.
It's my opinion that the using them as the whole forage source is not a good idea, long stem fiber sweeps the gut- and horses need food in their stomach most if not all of the day. Unless he has good grazing he still needs good hay.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-10-2013, 10:12 AM
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We feed our horses the small hay pellets as one of their 3 meals. I know people who feed nothing but pellets. I tried it a while, and the horses seemed OK physically, but they also seemed glad to see some hay return. For most days, 2 servings of hay and 1 of pellets seems a good ratio.

On very windy days, or days when it rains a lot, they may get nothing but pellets. Our horses are in corrals, and a 50 mph wind means most of the hay blows away. We've tried hay bags, ans still use them sometimes, but the horses pull the hay out and then eat it off the ground...
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-10-2013, 10:21 AM
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You can use a slowfeeder net with a tub or a rubber mat below to keep what falls out off the ground.
I use hay pellets to bulk out a no grain meal, as carrier for the vit/min or ration balancer, the flaxseed etc. As sole ration I wouldn't, since it doesn't provide the chew time they need to keep their stomachs healthy.

OP, look into rice bran as an additional cold energy source if you skip the grain. This grain could have contributed to his gain, as cakemom said.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-10-2013, 12:08 PM
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Pellets can have their place in a horse's diet but you are paying for it. # for #, it has the same nutrition and calories as grass hay. If you paid $10 for a 40# bag, that's $500/ton or 2-6 times the price of grass hay depending upon where you live. It does not take the place of long stem forage. You need the long stem forage for a healthy digestive system and in the winter the hindgut fermentation of the fibers is what keeps him warm. All the benefits they list are for us, not the horse.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-10-2013, 12:48 PM
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Interesting thread. Don't feed pellets, but I have added alfalfa cubes, soaked. What came to my mind is a person who drinks coffee as liquid, and we know that it pulls water from your system to digest. That expansion after soaking is truly scary. The cubes don't expand like this, just mush up.

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post #7 of 9 Old 09-10-2013, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons View Post
All the benefits they list are for us, not the horse.
I agree with this!

Personally, and I know the pellet companies will hate me, but I really think HAY should be the cornerstone of a horse's diet (or grass if you are blessed with such). The drawback of pellets (besides the price) are:

The horse eats them quicker and then they have nothing to much on.

They are easier for a horse to choke on.

I have read they are easier for a horse to colic on (due to lack of bulk in the gut).

And what I have always wondered know all that "stuff" that finds its way into your hay bales? Sand, dirt, garbage, rocks, dead animals, moldy patches, weeds and such? Where does that stuff go when they are making pellets? Is your horse now eating that stuff that they normally would let fall to the bottom of the feeder? Maybe they have very good quality control, but I bet they aren't able to sort ALL that odd stuff out.

Now I have fed pellets. Just not as a sole ration. They have their place, but I personally think hay is more natural, takes them longer to eat and is safer.

There was a place I considered taking my horse for training and they fed nothing but pellets. That was kind of a turn-off for me because I knew my mouthy colt would be vacuuming dirt and sand on a pellet-only diet.

The only time I would feed pellets only is if I had no other source of forage or if I were having to pack feed in on a camping trip or something.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-10-2013, 02:17 PM
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I feed the Standlee timothy pellets as a carrier for supplements/vitamins for my girls. I only give a pound, and I don't usually soak them. I've never had a problem, but as long as I separate the horses, they don't scarf them down too fast, and they get a long stemmed hay meal right afterwards. I've used them to supplement my hay when I was running low, too. Then they need soaking if only to slow consumption. I wouldn't want to feed 100% hay pellets, though. Expensive and the horses would be unhappy. Too much time without food. I would only do it if I had no other forage options.

One benefit of keeping them around--well soaked, they are a good way to trick a stubborn horse in to drinking after a long trailer ride. :)

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post #9 of 9 Old 09-10-2013, 02:39 PM
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One big benefit to pellets (mine are made by Lakin) IS quality. The hay in southern Arizona is very variable. We get good hay at times, and sometimes it is awful. But the pellets companies can afford to test their hay, and are required to meet their listed nutrients (protein levels, fiber, etc).

I don't recommend them as a sole food source, but that is because I think horses enjoy chewing hay. From what I've seen, if anything, horses are more regular on pellets than when on hay.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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