I need help with a feeding plan...please :)

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I need help with a feeding plan...please :)

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    07-13-2013, 02:08 AM
I need help with a feeding plan...please :)

I know there's so much info out there. I can't just seem to nail down the *right* feeding plan. I even subbed to FeedXL and I'm still lost since I can't seem to balance the danged diet.

Everyone tells me I'm doing something wrong--either too much this and not enough that, etc.

Sherwin's gained too much weight and I need to level things out while still feeding him enough. He was very ribby when I got him. He's gained mostly in his belly but he does have more muscle too...just not where he *really* needs it. The consensus is that light riding is the only thing that can help his top line.

Anyway, the BM suggested half alfalfa and half bermuda, which we've been doing since he got here a month ago (after a few days on all alfalfa).

The latest vet said to take him off bermuda as he's more likely to colic on it since it can compact more inside of him than alfalfa (trainer and BM and others I've shared this with have shaken their heads).

Vet also said he was too heavy but then told me to put him back on full alfalfa and that the amount of Equine Sr. + peet pulp, etc. I've been doing is "fine."

So basically he gets four flakes of hay...no scale down there so no way to weigh it now. Was half alf. And half berm. But now all alfalfa. The flakes vary a lot in size and density which I'm sure you all would suspect. I might be able to buy a scale but then I'd still have no way of weighing it unless I asked them to set it aside for him. And he'd be ticked if he didn't get it at the same time as the other horses! LOL

Then on top of that I've been giving him (divided into two feedings) 8 pounds of Equine Sr. 2 pounds beet pulp (soaked but weighed before soaking, no molasses), Horse Manna Vitality (vitamin supplement), Sho-Flex (joint supplement), Omega Horseshine (flax supplement), 1 tbs. Himalayan salt and 2 cups a day of corn oil.

I ran out of corn oil and switched to coconut...and cut it back to one cup per day after I was told he was really getting a belly.

Last thing I wanna do is put too much weight on him!

His coat is nice and shiny though after being soooo dry...his hooves look so much better too. He just looks beautiful but a little too fat, mostly lower belly. His ribs aren't all that hard to find. He's been wormed with two different wormers since I got him...so everyone thinks it's actually excess weight and not from worms.

Anyhow, to get to the point...I really need some insight on how much to feed him? If I stick to the four mystery weight flakes of alfalfa per day, then how much Equine Sr. And beet pulp does he need?

I also have rice bran pellets that I would like to switch to when I run out of beet pulp. And Lakin Lites (alfalfa/bermuda with molasses and some vitamins/minerals).

I got the Lakin Lites with the intent to soak them to help increase his forage because FeedXL is screaming "not enough forage" even with the hay and Sr. Listed.

I went into the feed store to get hay pellets or cubes and came out with the Lakin Lites. His old owner said he liked those but I probably should have stuck with plain hay cubes but there were sooo many kinds I couldn't decide!

But he does waste a lot of his hay. And his teeth badly need done.**

I've pondered cutting the hay and doing soaked cubes instead or just providing the hay between meals to keep him busy.


Any thoughts would be appreciated!

**The equine dentist I really want to use is out of town, the vet I called out to float his teeth said he wasn't worth keeping and left without doing anything, the latest vet is focused on treating his current health ills first before giving me an estimate.
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    07-13-2013, 02:30 AM
I am interested in hearing what the knowledgeable say . I have no experience developing a feed plan, so can not offer an opinion based on using this or that feed. Where I lease, the horses are fed alfalfa twice a day, probably one to two flakes each. It's hard to say, since it's all thrown out in piles on the ground and they eat here and there. They get NO grain. No oil, and only vitamins or supplements if the the owner comes and gives it to them, which means gooing out on the 40 acres to find the horse first. The horses graze all day .
Some of them have to be moved onto a drier paddock, with poor grass, in the spring, when the grass is too rich. And some of the horses that are not ridden much are fat. But, they are all healthy, almost never any colic, and seem to do will without oil or grain. So simple, but it works.
    07-13-2013, 02:35 AM
No wonder you're confused. WHEW!

If he was mine I'd:

Get a FEC (fecal egg count) done to make sure his belly isn't from some kind of worm. And de-worm according to that, IF necessary.

Soak his hay cubes and just give him a little hay to chew on so he feels like he's doing something all the time, until you can get his teeth done.

You always want to feed forage first, so the largest amount of feed should be hay in one form or another. You need to figure out what he SHOULD weigh and then what he DOES weigh. So, for instance, he's a 15.2 QH and stocky and he SHOULD weigh 1200 lbs. But he really weighs 950 lbs. He needs to gain 250 lbs, so you start by feeding 2% of his DESIRED body weight of hay, so 24 lbs of hay(s). If he can't chew the bermuda without quidding and/or swallowing it mostly unchewed, then the vet was right it can cause impaction colic.

If he can't chew 24 lbs of hay, he can't use it to fill out, so for now, wet down 20 lbs of hay cubes or pellets and just give him 5 lbs of hay to play with. Once he's eating all that hay or hay cubes, if he still needs more, then I'd probably put him on a Senior feed. You can also soak that so he can use it better. You'll want to split it into 2 or 3 feedings, he can't hold much more than 5 or 6 lbs of cubes at one feeding.

I like to feed my horses Fastrack, it seems to help them all utilize their feed better, but it really makes a difference with the older ones.

I'd start with the basics and then start adding, but not ever subtracting the forage, if that makes sense? He may have dropped the weight really quickly but until he gets his teeth fixed especially, it's going to take him a lot longer to regain his weight. And you want him to go fairly slow, you don't want him to founder.
    07-13-2013, 02:45 AM
Quite the plan there!

Did I miss where the OP said he is a senior horse?
    07-13-2013, 01:59 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
quite the plan there!

Did I miss where the OP said he is a senior horse?
She didn't state it in this thread, but I believe she said he's about 24 in another thread. And she's feeding him Equine Sr, which I know isn't a guarantee but......I just sort of went with it.
    07-13-2013, 04:17 PM
Yeah, I should have mentioned that. I think our latest reliable info (found a registration that matches his history) is that he's 22 with bad teeth.

Thanks for the info!! I know the Sr. Is supposed to include "enough" forage but not according to FeedXL.

And yeah, his bermuda was coming out pretty much unchewed...just broken into smaller pieces.

As a kid our horses got alfalfa and if they got thin, we added a sweet COB mixture and that was that. I remember them looking pretty healthy but I don't think they had the shine that Sherwin's developed in the last few weeks on all his supplements. But we know he is going to have problems utilizing what he eats due to his teeth.

    07-13-2013, 04:23 PM
Oh and he is 15.1 hands and he's a Paint horse. Very stalky build, short neck, heavy-boned. 1st vet estimated him at 950-980. Second got 1060 from her tape and that was after 10 days on my feeding plan. Latest vet is saying 1050-1100 but too much around his gut. (Poor fella! LOL)

I agree that the FEC is the way to go to be sure it's not worms!
    07-13-2013, 06:29 PM
Originally Posted by lilypoo    
Oh and he is 15.1 hands and he's a Paint horse. Very stalky build, short neck, heavy-boned. 1st vet estimated him at 950-980. Second got 1060 from her tape and that was after 10 days on my feeding plan. Latest vet is saying 1050-1100 but too much around his gut. (Poor fella! LOL)

I agree that the FEC is the way to go to be sure it's not worms!
If he's truly 15.1 and "only" 1000-1100 lbs at this point, I wouldn't worry too much about his stomach, he might just be gaining there first. I'd go ahead and do the FEC, he might need a Power Pack or something, that will tell you for sure.

If he's built like Honey Boo Boo, she's about 15.3 and NOT pregnant weighs in at 1300-1400 lbs.

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    07-14-2013, 01:27 AM
Green Broke
Does he have access to green grass? While my old guy, with bad teeth, has trouble with hay unless it's really tender, he does quite well with grass. He is a hard keeper though and was even before the bad teeth. He gets 24 hour access to pasture & grass hay in the winter, fed once a day with a large coffee can of Equine SR., with a cup of calfmana, DC-Y, & Fluid Flex mixed in and then whatever room is left in his gallon size feed bucket gets topped off with the regular grain all the other horses get (corn, oats, horse pellets, tm salt, & small amount of molasses). 2-4 flakes (depending on size) of alfalfa are also added in the winter. Mind you if any of my other horses ate like this they would be foundered, but it keeps him at a body score of about 5 most of the time and down to about a 4 in Jan. & Feb. He still has a bad topline due to age though.

I can't believe you've been through 2 vets who wouldn't float his teeth. I would be LIVID! And finding another vet. That should be one of their major concerns because if the poor guy can't eat he will be dead for sure.

The pot belly you're describing can also be contributed to a grass or hay belly, and not be confused with being fat. An hour or so of exercise will make it disappear, at least it will until they fill back up.
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    07-14-2013, 01:48 AM
TEETH. I know you're waiting for the good guy, which I can appreciate, but until you get those done, he may not be making good use of what he does get down. The beet pulp, Sr, and oil will be okay, bad teeth or no, but hay, especially grass is going to be tough for him to digest and contribute to a hay belly if he can't actually chew it fine enough to use properly. I'd bet that once you get the teeth fixed and some exercise going, that belly will tighten up and the muscle will start going on, even if you don't change a thing feed-wise.
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