Putting Weight On a Broodmare
I bred my TB in June and right after she was bred she dropped a little weight ~75 lbs. I started her on Purina Amplify and a mix of Omolene 400 and Healthy Edge ~9 lbs split between 2 feedings and she started filling out a little but very slowly gaining back maybe 50 lbs. Then in August I went away for 2 weeks and paid someone to feed for me. They hayed and watered but fed very little if any grain and she dropped another ~75 lbs. So she went into September about 100 lbs underweight. She is not emaciated but she doesn't have much extra on her either if you know what I mean. She's probably a 3 on the Henneke scale. She is now getting about 16 pounds a day in 3 feedings a mix of 30% of a sweet feed 12% protein and 70% of Strategy along with access to still green pasture, spring water and a salt block with hay supplemented if they need to be brought in and she will have free choice hay all winter.
She is a picky eater and will sift through any powders and most pellet supplements and is also picky about her grain and won't eat anything oily. She has not to this point ever been a particularly hard keeper, she was previously maintained in work and in condition on pasture and 6 lbs of whole oats plus 1 lb of 12% feed per day.
I'm not sure what else to add to her feed that she will eat or if I should just stick with what I'm doing and let her add weight slowly or if it was a good idea to bump up her grain again. She will eat beet pulp but I wasn't sure since she is also on free choice good pasture if it was worth it to feed that as well? I have blankets so worrying about her maintaining body temps through the winter isn't really an issue but I like them to have a fat pad going into winter and she doesn't plus she's eating for 2 and the baby is going to continue to take more and more from her as the winter goes along. If anyone has any suggestions I'd be grateful as I've never had this problem putting weight on her before. Thanks!
When I have one who is down on weight, I like to give Omolene 400 plus 2 or 3 lbs of Ultium Competition. I feed the 400 at a rate shooting for about 200 lbs more that I would actually like to see them at, for instance: Mare weighs 1000 lbs but needs to be at 1100 - 1200 lbs and gaining due to her stage of pregnancy, I would wean her onto the 400 over about a week's time and end up feeding her for a 1400 lb horse until she was back at the weight she needs to be at. So, they say for the first 250 days gestation to feed her 13.25 lbs for 1200 lb mare and 15.50 lbs for a 1400 lb mare. I would end up feeding her 15 lbs of 400 and 3 lbs of Ultium split 3 or even 4 ways to keep the meals small and do that until she was at a good weight and had comfortable padding for going into winter. Then I'd cut back to the maintenance amount or switch back to Strategy and once she's in the last trimester, I'd start adding Omolene 300. Once you've got the weight on her, unless you just like the way the Ultium makes her look, you can cut that out for just normal feeding.
I don't feed 'sweet feed' per se, most of them are crap and a waste of money. I have really good luck with Purina products and try to stay with them as much as I possibly can. I love the Strategy Healthy Edge, and in summer I love Omolene 400, but I try to avoid having to use it in winter because it bricks like a BEAST. If that's their low bricking formulation I'm glad I never saw it when it bricked bad (according to them). On horses that I need weight on, I do NOT cut back on the amount of hay they get, but I do make sure they eat the 400 first. That's not usually a problem.
With my pregnant mares I use Strategy GX, can't get the Healthy Edge formula around here, Ultium Competition when needed, and Omolene 300 for lactating mares and new foals. Free choice grass hay and of course, lots of fresh clean water.
So your suggestion is to bulk her up with the 400/Ultium then stick with the Strategy and feed Ultium and/or Omolene 400? I worried that feeding her such huge amounts of the 400 and Strategy would be too much but I don't want to keep switching feed. The sweet feed is just added to make it a little more palatable for her as she isn't as into just the strategy pellets alone. I could add the 400/Ultium instead of the basic sweet feed to the Strategy I was just trying not to add too much rich feed all at once.
Also, have you ever supplemented with extra Amplify? I bought a 50 lb bag and mixed it into the Healthy Edge and 400, which already has Amplify in it when I first started trying to add weight to her but I didn't really notice a difference with the extra amplify. Was just curious if anyone supplements with it. I was also tossing around the idea of adding rice bran as she will eat that if it's well mixed and it's not more than about 30% of the total she's eating at once but again wasn't sure how much more fat I should be adding since I know regardless of what I feed she's going to gain slowly and imperceptibly at this point.
I've never had to deal with a hard keeper before, all mine generally tend to be balloons that need weight kept OFF not put on so I know the general rules of thumb but not anything more than that.
First thing, the 400 is designed to be a complete feed, so when you feed that it's not necessary to add anything else. I added the Ultium because it puts weight on fast and if you spread her feedings out to 3 or 4 times per day, you aren't feeding that much at any one time.
Strategy is designed to balance out hay rations, and is designed to be fed with hay. I would not add anything other than the Ultium, which they find to be very palatable, to either ration.
When feeding a couple of hard keepers I found that the simpler I kept it, the better it went for them and ultimately the cheaper it was for me. I have not used Amplify but have a couple friends who have and they weren't real impressed at results vs cost, so I have stuck with what works for me. For my hard keepers the Rice Bran did nothing.
The key, for me, was to use the extra weight formula. Feeding that little bit of extra food (in the 400's case it amounts to 1.25 lbs per DAY not feeding) and tossing in the Ultium at 1 lb per feeding, the weight came on quickly and was not hard to keep on from then on.
So if she was my mare, and assuming I wanted to feed her to the 1400 lb weight limit, I would feed her 15 lbs of 400, plus 3 lbs of Ultium PER DAY. Divided into either 3 feedings of 6 lbs each or 4 feedings of 4.5 lbs each and free choice hay.
To put that in perspective, I use a 3 quart feed scoop which when filled level equals about 5 lbs and a little heaping is 6 lbs. I use a little 1 pint scoop for the Ultium. Each horse then got 1 big scoop of 400 or Strategy and 1 little scoop of Ultium per feeding. This hasn't been an overload on any of them.
Read your feeding instructions on your feed bags, you'll be surprised that you're probably not following the directions on how the feed was designed to be fed. When you start addng this and adding that you can easily upset the balance that is designed into the feed and you find that nothing is working as well as if you went with one thing and stuck with it. And I'm saying that about ALL brands of feed, not just Purina. That's just what you're using and what I've had good luck with.
Use either the 400 or the Strategy, don't mix them as they aren't designed the same. Your worry about too much rich feed is valid if you're mixing, but either one alone or with a small amount of Ultium is not a real rich feed. You are more likely to have a problem by adding sweet feed which is mostly sugar than you are to have one just following the instructions on the bag.
If you're using the Strategy Healthy Edge, they say to feed only 6.25 lbs per day with a MINIMUM of 17 lbs hay per day for a 1400 lb horse. If you feed less hay than that, then you need to increase your feed amount. This can actually end up being pretty cost effective if you are feeding enough roughage. Strategy Healthy Edge is 12.5% Protein and 8% Fat.
With the 400, it is designed to be a complete feed and doesn't figure hay into the amounts fed equation. I think it's easier to figure out and weigh the feed than to weigh hay, especially if it's grass hay, so tend to recommend using this to get the weight on because it's easy to figure. 400 is 12% protein and 5.5% fat.
Ultium is guaranteed 11.7% protein and 12.4% fat.
So, if you add the 11.7 + 12.5 = 24.2/2 = 12.1% protein, and 12.4 + 8= 30.2 = 15.2% fat with Strategy
11.7 + 12 = 23.7/2 = 11.6% protein and 12.4 + 5.5 = 17.9/2 = appx 9% fat with 400.
You still keep the protein down around 12% which is a healthy level and you increase the fat on both which is where the added weight will come from. It's a personal choice which way you decide to go.
Ok thanks! Nutrition is one of the areas I am definitely lacking in as I haven't had to deal with many nutrition issues before this. Getting my local feed store to order regularly or have in stock 400 is like pulling teeth which was one of the reasons I went with the Strategy so I think I will keep the Strategy and add the Ultium. I will try to back down on the sweet feed that's in it and see if she will keep eating it but I have it mixed in a big garbage can in a 3 Strategy: 1 Sweet Feed ratio so if I have to keep it then it shouldn't really be an issue I wouldn't think. Thanks for the tips I will definitely get some Ultium!
I wish I could get the Healthy Edge version of the Strategy, I could probably cut my feed back by at least 1/4 to 1/3 in amount and since I go through 2 PALLETS of Strategy a month, that's a significant savings. I haven't bought a bag of Ultium in a while but I think it was around $40 for a bag. Good news is, you probably won't need more than 2 bags and she'll be nice and chunky.
So if you could feed Healthy Edge instead of the Strategy GX you could cut your feed amounts? Because of the higher fat amounts? I was told by the feed rep to go with the GX versus the healthy edge to put weight on so I switched to the GX as I only went with the HE originally for my guys because my gelding was getting grained at the time and I like to watch his sugar/starch as much as I can because he's a chunky monkey QH. Thanks for all the good info!
I think the rep might have been confused because GX is 14% & 6% vs HE is 12.5% & 8%.
If I want to add weight, I don't up the protein and drop the fat. Higher protein makes the kidneys work harder.
Quite possibly. It's definitely been a learning experience for me and I know not to go with just one person's opinion. The GX around here is 3-4 dollars cheaper than the HE but they are both available. When I finish the GX I have I will definitely go back to the HE =)
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