Winter feed: corn mix, or pellets ? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ohio
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Winter feed: corn mix, or pellets ?

I've always fed pellets, now I am at a farm with only 1 other horse. To simply matters I used the same mix that the farmer has always fed his animals last winter.

2 bags TizWhiz pellets(the least expensive of their line)
1 bag oats
1 bag corn

My problem is the birds.

The birds eat the by-products and peck all the manure to shreds and I can't pick it out of the sawdust. The birds did not pick apart the manure from my horse when he was fed pellets, only his mare's. I want to go back to pellets this winter and to put his mare on pellets too. I like birds, but this is too much.

The farmer is concerned that pellets don't have the added fat without protein that he says the corn provides to keep them warm. The mare is his retired TB who does not tend to get fat even on unlimited pasture, my Appaloosa on the other hand is much wider and heavier than before I moved him here, would have limited his pasture for weight control if I could have. It is an old cattle barn, large, no stalls, 3/4 of the front is open so it gets cold in the winter.

Does corn add fat but not protein?
What type of pellets would add fat but not protein?
Will that help them stay warm?
What brand of pellets would be most like his mix?
Could I achieve the same corn benefits by adding corn oil to pellets?
Does the TB mare need the corn mix, while my gelding does not?

Thanks for any input and advice.
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
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Corn is not a good feed for horses. I learned yesterday that cows can't even digest it [which causes problems in their gut which leads to them being pumped full of antibiotics. Moral of the story; don't eat corn-fed beef.] If wild_spot shows up, she can go into more detail on it than I can [and I'm sure other members can too, but hers was the one I read].

Your horse may not even need grain at all. Just feed more good quality grass hay. If you do want him on a "grain," I would stick to beet pulp [soaked], and/or alfalfa, orchard, or timothy pellets. I also feed my girls Safechoice. You should also stay away from sweet feed.

Corn oil won't really do you much good for weight. It will make his coat shiny though.
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 11:06 AM
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I personally do not feed grain or corn anymore because I don't like my horses getting corn. Corn is not "lasting" energy, but quick energy.

I am switching my 4yo to just oats, B.O.S.S. (for his coat) and a mineral supplement. He also still has good pasture right now, and will get good quality hay in the winter, and is currently holding weight just fine on this diet. Your average horse in simple work will need about 2-3lbs of oats a day. Because oats have no mineral content, a mineral supplement is necessary to feed too doing just oats.

Contrary to popular belief, oats do not make a horse hot. My 4yo has actually calmed down quite a bit after being switched from a commercial pellet to oats. Oats provide lasting energy, which means that the energy burns slowly. Corn has been proven to give "flashes" of energy, which is not something you want in a riding horse. Corn also does not digest well, and you end up feeding more of it to compensate and keep weight and condition. It provides a lot of unusable fats, that are useless i keeping a horse warm through the winter.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 11:50 AM
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Agreed. I have no idea what is in the Tiz Whiz pellets - but I would definitely skip the corn. Read the ingredient list for the pellets - if they're anything like what I was (was) feeding, there's a lot of junk in them.

For me, it will be soaked beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, flax meal and boss. Substitute timothy pellets for the alfalfa pellets for my puny one, and I'm looking around for a protein supplement that doesn't have alfalfa in it to give him a protein boost. (alfalfa is 16% protein, but timothy is only 8% - according to the bag)

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post #5 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 02:39 PM
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Hay hay and more hay with a good vitamin/mineral supplement to help balance it all ... I think Tiz Whiz has an "ok" one

Corn is 76% sugars and starches which is not easily digested by the horses so basically a waste of money the only thingn "hot" about corn is that hyper energy and lots of stomach problems

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 02:42 PM
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Heat for horses is produced in the process of digesting, absorbing and metabolizing any feed. And this heat is useful for helping the horse to maintain its body temperature in cold weather. The greatest amount of heat produced during digestion comes from the breakdown of fibre by the microorganisms living in the horse's large intestine. The higher a feed's fibre content, the more heat produced during digestion. Therefore, more heat would be produced from the digestion of high fibre feeds like hay or beet pulp, compared to heat produced from digesting low fibre grains like corn, barley or wheat. Although low in fibre, even oats produce about 25% more heat during digestion than other grains because of the fibrous hull surrounding the oat kernel.
You can still feed corn or barley in the winter because they contain lots of energy, and energy needs are certainly increased during cold weather as the horse battles the elements. However, if you want to help the horse produce more body heat, feed more hay.

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post #7 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Illinois
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• Horses: 0 this is about hte only thing I could find they make without grains ... off to reserach them some more since they have a few new products out

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #8 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
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orn is bad, bad, bad. Out of all the grains corn is one of the worst - Horses aren't equipped to digest the huge amounts of starch and sugar contained in corn - As you can see by the birds still finding the corn in your horses poop.

Heat comes best from fibre, as Maverick said - So hay, hay and more hay. Hay is also the best thing for getting weight on horses - Free choice hay, even when pasture is available, would be fantastic for the TB.

If you want to add some fat, you can use feeds like Copra (Coconut meal - high in coconut oils = fat), Oils, Rice Bran - All are high in fat due to their oil content and are much more effectively utilised by the horse.

I personally feed Speedi-Beet as a base, and then have a low dose vit/min supplement (Konkhes Own Cell Provide) and for my fatties have added Konkhes Own Trim, as well as iodised salt.

If you really want to get feeding right, I suggest having a look at Feedxl - A website that allows you to completely balance your horses diet easily.

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post #9 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 04:41 PM
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I will also join in the consensus that corn is bad. Horses can't properly digest it and what they do digest isn't very healthy for them in terms of a balanced diet. 24/7 access to a decent quality roughage (hay) will keep them warmer in the winter and keep them healthier too. I am a huge advocate for keeping things simple, our horses get alfalfa and nothing else and they are all fat, healthy, and happy year around. Avoid sugars and starches like what is commonly found in sweet feeds. If you want to feed pellets, then I would keep to either a hay pellet or a nice balanced complete feed.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-09-2010, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Thank you all, it is unanimous for no corn and as much hay as they want, now to convince the 85 year old farmer.

Up until last winter I've been feeding Elwood Purina Enrich 32 (it used to be called Natures Essentials Born to Win). In the winter Elwood gets about 2/3 pound am & pm, in the summer just a handful pm only.

Peggysue - I printed that flyer out, the farmer likes TizWhiz brand

Wild Spot is copra available in the US, is it in a dry form?

Beet pulp - I want to find out more about it, do you need hot water to soak it? I think of beets as what sugar is made of so have thought it would be too sweet ?

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds - Has anyone else used them? I put about 1/2 cup in with pellets for color on a couple of black horses, they looked great with it. A visiting nutritionalist said they were probably good for fat & protein with nothing harmful she knew of. And they are only about $13.00 for a 50-lb bag. But the birds ....

By the way, the farmer grows a little hay and has an arrangement with a local hay man who makes the hay, plus stores a bunch of his own in the loft of the barn. So there is mucho hay right there, but the farmer is always telling me I am giving them too much.
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