Wheat Bran?

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Wheat Bran?

This is a discussion on Wheat Bran? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Horse how much nutrition wheat bran
  • Horse nutrition wheat bran

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    05-13-2011, 11:13 PM
Wheat Bran?

Ok- so I just bought this horse less than 2 weeks ago and he's my first.... so I'm new to figuring out diets. He's a 17.2 Percheron/TB and is at a perfect weight right now. He is just eating alfalfa cubes- that's it. I had gone to the tack shop to get him a joint supplement and I went with a powdered one... the lady working there suggested serving it in wheat bran. So I got a HUGE bag of wheat bran, then got home and looked it up. I've read some things that say NOT to feed wheat bran every day as it can lead to a calcium deficiency. Is this true??
If so... what should I be feeding him his supplements in??

Should I also be getting him baled hay to have in a snacker bag in his stall??
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    05-14-2011, 01:22 AM
What was his previous diet? Just feeding cubes is not the best choice. Cubes are a very expensive way to feed hay. You pay over $400/ton ($10/50 bag) where baled hay should be $200-300 this time of year ($15-18/ 120+# bale). Cubes are also eaten faster than hay which can lead to boredom and stall vices. Cubes are also typically make out of inferior mature hay so they'll have a lower nutritional value than hay.

But that's not what you asked about. Have you opened the bran yet? Take it back if you haven't, if you have, feed it and don't sweat it. As we have a better understanding of the relationship of individual nutrients in equine nutrition, bran is no longer a feed of choice. It has a severly inverted Ca:P ratio (1:10). It's rather hard to explain this in a sentence or two but Ca and P are best when they are offered at a rate of 2X the Ca to P (2:1). Feeding 1/4# of bran is not going to upset that ration much as it's a relationship to the entire diet. Alfalfa also have an elevated Ca value that will nullify the high P. Whene fed in very high amounts, the P in bran can actually pull Ca out of bone. As a feed product, bran is pretty useless. It doesn't have any nutrient values that will enhance the diet so don't waste your $$ on it. Don't take any more advice from the tack store lady either.

I would offer at least 50% of his forage in hay. In S Ca, you have options of oat and some grass hays in addition to alfalfa. Mix it up. They typically scarf down the alfalfa than pick at the oat and grass. That's good. It gives them something in their stomach all night long as well as keeping them busy. You still need some type of vit/mineral. If he can maintain his condition on just hay, than look at ration balancers (it's a nutritent dense low feed concentrate). If he can't, than you have to explore grains and concentrates as a concentrated source of calories. You can add the joint supplement to either product. You might want to wet it down slightly to make the supplement stick to the feed and not fall to the bottom of the bucket.
    05-14-2011, 02:15 AM
Thanks so much for your response!! He was just on alfalfa cubes before. My boarding includes the cost of the cubes, so I don't have to pay for them. If I want hay then I have to buy that on my own. Do I need to worry about weight gain if I add in hay to his diet?
I have opened it and it was only $15 for a 40lb bag.
I know a bunch of the ladies at my stable feed Equine Chia (Equine Chia: Organic, Natural Horse Nutrition -- Home) I ordered the trial bag to see if he likes it. Would this be enough to provide the vitamins and minerals he needs?
His previous owner literally told me that she didn't want to feed him anything extra because it would make him poop more and she didn't want to clean it. Same reason for not giving him salt... it would make him pee more and she'd have to spend more $ on bedding.
    05-14-2011, 01:05 PM
I wouldn't trust the claims of any product that doesn't provide the guaranteed analysis to back it up. It might be a fine product for a little additional fat in the diet, but I wouldn't be offering it thinking it would fill the vitamin and mineral holes in his diet. There are some fine vit/mineral products out there that are cheap and you just top dress with. My favorite is Moorman's Grostrong. It has very high values of key nutrients at a cost of about $.12/day. Other good products are the Progressive Nutrition products and MP Show Glo. You can take a handful of cubes, soak them in water until they fall apart than add any supplement to them. If you're paying for cubes and he does fine on them than just stay with them. Hopefully, they feed a minimum of 3 meals/day.

Horses do need added salt. That is one nutrient that is very low in all forage products. Does he lick metal panels and such? You're close enough to the ocean that salt in the air will settle on objects and they will lick things trying to satisfy that need. (but they still need more).
    05-14-2011, 11:21 PM
Since you are in So Cal, look up the LMF feeds. There's is one called Super Supplement, which is a feed through daily vitamin and mineral supplement that comes in alfalfa or grass formula (sometimes called a or g.) You can find information on the internet as well and see if it's something you would like to try. My best friend feeds it religiously to her warmbloods, and I always fed the "Select" products to my Arabians. Her horses look really good, and it seems more palatable than the Select so there's a better chance he will eat it. Adding that to his cubes and a plain salt block or brick to his stall should do the trick.

LMF SUPER SUPPLEMENT :: LMF Feeds - LMF Horse Feeds - the finest feeds for your horses health

Which joint supplement did you get?
    05-14-2011, 11:23 PM
Ok- thank you! I got him a himalayan salt rock and he seems to love that! I got him corta-flex and MSM powder since the cortaflex doesn't have msm.
    05-14-2011, 11:33 PM
Cool, Corta-flex is a good product! I always turn to MSM as well, so I think you'll have good luck with those products.
    05-14-2011, 11:37 PM
The place I get my bedding from also delievers hay... what kind should I get him????

Our Hays:

Oat hay
Straw bales
    05-15-2011, 02:01 AM
Well, that really depends on what you want to accomplish. I would see how he fairs on the alfalfa cubes and his supplements for a month or two first, and if he needs something else then add it. I think it's easy to get carried away with different products, but as far as I am aware of drafts are pretty easy keepers and need a lot less than most people think they do. If you do end up needing to add something, the bermuda grass is probably your best bet, it's a nice low protein, low fat, high fiber coastal grass.
    05-16-2011, 09:45 PM
Green Broke
Alfalfa is actually pretty high in calcium, so adding a small amount of bran, like enough to mix his supplements in (maybe a couple cups), is not going to hurt him. Actually, it should help balance out the calcium/phosphorous ratio in the alfalfa.

That is why a lot of people who feed straight alfalfa also feed oats. Because grains in general are high in phosphorous, and alfalfa is high in calcium, so they actually compliment each other.

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