Whole Oats and Beet pulp - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By verona1016
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-23-2013, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Whole Oats and Beet pulp

Hi there,

I'm new to this whole forum thing, so bare with me abd try and get to this.

I have two horses on free choice grass hay, and pasture which seems to be diminishing, as well as salt. I was feeding alfalfa cubes and sweetfeed to them morning and night. A friend recommended that I switch to beet pulp and whole oats because it doesn't have the same additives the sweet feed does. He told me the amount, but it is significant higher then what I was feeding them.

My one horse had worms when I recieved him. Since then he has been vet checked and his teeth were done. He did lose weigh during the time and I hope to put it back on him before it gets to cold out. I don't know how much my scoop holds but my friend suggested three scoops whole oats and three scoops beet pulp, morning and night, watered down, then drop it down to two and two once I am happy with his weigh.

My second one is at a good weight, a little over what he should be but with winter I as not to concerned about him losing any. The only thing is he is really stubborn and acts out a lot. I currently feed him half a scoop of oats and half a scoop of beet pulp.

Here are my questions.

For my first one, what weight in oats and beet pulp would you be feeding as I want to compare to my current amount.

For my second one, what amount would you feed him, our would you take him of f of them completely (our just beet pulp). My friend who suggested this food recommended I stop feeding him this due to him acting out.

Sorry for the long message. Hope ii have everything thanthanks for your input.
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-23-2013, 07:41 PM
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Dump the oats. Grains are not good for horses. Their digestive tract isn't designed for grain (oats, corn, barley, etc.....). To try to explain it all would require me to teach a course in it, but there are so many problems that come from feeding horses grain. Most of them digestive problems and foot problems (diet is probably the single greatest cause of laminitis and feeding grain is one of those major problems). Of course there is the impact grain has on the hind gut which is stuck trying to deal with all of it without being designed for it. Good microbes needed to digest fiber (grass, hay, beet pulp, etc...) get killed off because of it while unhealthy microbes that thrived on grain greatly increase.
The study of equine nutrition, healthy diet and digestion is well worth taking. You find out why so many people have so many problems with horses and why people are "killing them with kindness". Look at Secretariat. Dead at 19 from laminitis that was probably the result of his "race horse" diet which tends to be very high in grain. They do it thinking it's needed for the high energy, but oil works better for that. It's easily digested and much in the foregut.

At any rate. Beet pulp is excellent. Higher nutritionally than hay. Basically it's just super easy to digest fiber that's the easy for the horse's hindgut to digest. It's got good CA, but virtually not P so you'll need to make sure you have a good source for P in the horses diet. They need both, but had a higher CA to P ratio.

There's loads of information online about foods that are good for horses and what they need to meet their optimal nutritional needs (but things don't have to be text book perfect to still have a healthy horse....just close ). What amino acids, minerals, etc.... are needed and at what ratios (the ratios are important.....e.g. having more P than CA would need to be corrected). In my case I like the concept of balancing it by using copra and beet pulp since both are very easy to digest, low in NSC (always go as low as you can for NSC - non structural carbohydrates). Copra never reaches the hindgut because it's so easily digested in the foregut. If you have an easy keeper be careful to limit the amount of copra as it being so easy to digest it can put weight on. However, if you have a hard keeper it can help them put on some lbs.

There are many things to consider when it comes to what's best when feeding a horse, but one thing that should be a standing rule, because of how the equine digestive system is designed and works, is NO GRAIN.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-23-2013, 07:44 PM
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Hi & welcome to the forum!

Firstly, consider why are you feeding what you are? Your first horse needs extra 'groceries' by the sound of it, but not the second. Are you concerned about balancing their nutrition?

Your friend is right that sweet feed is generally 'junk food'. Oats can sometimes be a good & appropriate feed for horses, but they're still high starch & can be problematic, like other cereal grains, but to a lesser degree. They're also not a good source of minerals & vitamins, especially with modern farming & fertilising practices. They're high in phosphorus & can be in potassium, but little else. If that's what's needed to balance a diet, then they may be appropriate. If you can feed them little & often, rather than over only 1-2 larger meals daily, they may be appropriate, otherwise I'd look for alternatives.

Alfalfa is a great feed for horses generally. It's high in many nutrients, especially calcium & protein. It's also high energy, so good for horses that need extra calories, but needs to be fed sparingly if at all to 'easy keepers'. Beet pulp is also high energy, high Ca & other nutrients. It's high fibre too, so a good feed, but again be careful with energy levels for easy keepers.

As for how much to feed them, the first horse needs more & as the second is overweight, it only needs a small amount of low calorie whatever, enough to provide good nutrition. As for what you might feed, that depends on what they're getting out of their pasture for a start, nutrition-wise, and while your thin horse needs some high energy feed to gain weight, such as alfalfa, beet pulp, etc, this should be fed sparingly if at all to the fatty.

It's also important to change/add feed gradually. While you may want to get up to the amount suggested by your friend(need weights of feed, scoops don't tell how much) for the horse than needs extra, I'd start with something like a cup(1/4lb) of each(measure beet pulp dry) & build up gradually over a week or 2.

So.... I'd ditch the sweets, but keep the alfalfa & possibly add some beet pulp to the first horse's ration. I'd give the second horse no more than about a handful of alfalfa or beet, to be a carrier for whatever nutritional supplement is appropriate, which may or may not include oats. As for working out what they're getting from their diet & what may need supping, FeedXL Horse Nutrition: The D.I.Y. equine diet planner is one great resource for that.

Last edited by loosie; 10-23-2013 at 07:49 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-23-2013, 08:00 PM
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I'd also avoid both the sweet feed and the oats.

Are your horses getting any kind of vitamin/mineral supplement? (Not including mineral blocks, since those are generally not a significant source of anything but salt) If not, I'd look into getting them either a ration balancer or general vit/min supplement to cover their bases nutritionally. I find that ration balancers are more complete and offer the additional protein a horse needs to build muscle and are often not much more expensive (if at all).

It sounds like the first horse is the only one who will need anything beyond the hay + RB. For extra calories, there are lots of non-grain products that are good for putting on weight. Alfalfa is a great option- cubes, pellets, or hay are all fine. Beet pulp, rice bran, and flaxseed are other good alternatives. If you stick with alfalfa cubes I'd aim to feed ~5 lbs/day (about the equivalent of one flake of alfalfa hay) and adjust up or down (or add in one of the other alternatives) as needed.
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