Advice: Purina Senior Feed 2x/week a good idea?
My mare is at a comfortable weight, and she has 24/7 free-choice hay available, but winter is coming, and she is a senior, and I wouldn't mind supplementing her intake with something a little extra. As per the advice of a friend, I bought a bag of beet pulp shreds. My usually not picky mare turned her nose up at them. Everyone else seemed interested, just not her.
It was then suggested that I invest in a bag of Purina Equine Senior Feed to give her occasionally. Alright, that I can do.
Here's the thing, she lives outside 24/7 and our board agreement does not include a daily feeding of grain. If she's going to get grain, I buy it, I feed it. I don't go out everyday. That's where I'm wondering if it's ok that she gets perhaps just under a pound of Senior Feed 2x a week. Won't that mess with her system? According to my friend, Equine Senior is so digestible, it shouldn't be a problem. It also has vitamins and minerals that free-choice won't give her, she says.
I know there are some really knowledgeable people on here who I'm sure can distinguish black from white for me.
If she's at a comfortable weight, and you're only going to give her under a pound twice a week, I, personally, wouldn't bother. It's not enough to make her gain weight, and she is already at a comfortable weight. Beet pulp is a good idea... if only she'd eat it. Did you soak it? I sometimes add a little molasses to it and they gobble it right up. I also add a little wheat. They love it with both, but the molasses I only give occasionally as a treat.
But again, if she is at a comfortable weight, I would just let her be. If its not broke, don't fix it!
What did you do last winter?
It's true! It's not broke, so it don't need fixin'! But in answer to your last question, she did get a little ribby early spring last year. I figure I could get ahead of the game this year. It probably won't really do all that much anyways.
If not useful for anything else, she looks forward to it when I visit. I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't be horribly bad for her. Thank you for your response.
If you want to do something that she will look forward to, other then just seeing you and working with you of course, then I would get her some of those equine treat bars. They're high in protein and calories, so they are great for before a workout. They also are yummy :) You could also blanket her, she'll burn less calories trying to keep warm.
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Yeah, if it ain't broke... How old is she? Does she get any nutritional sups? It is fine for horses to lose a little over the 'hard' seasons. Especially if they're overweight to begin with, it can be good for their metabolism to burn off the fat stores. If she loses more than a little, or more than you think she can afford, then you could up her feed.
I would start with extra hay. If you need to hard feed, low starch, high fibre is best, especially if you're only able to feed he once daily or less. You're right that even that small amount of the senior could cause digestive probs if not fed little & often. Also she's unlikely to get anything much out of it, so it's not worth anything to her really anyway. Re vitamins & minerals, these feeds, if truly well balanced at all(tend to get what you pay for there I've found), need to be fed at the rate the manufacturer states to yield the right amount of nutrients. Therefore a 'complete' type feed is not going to be great for that either, when fed infrequently.
I'd try the beet pulp mixed with other ingredients if you have it there already - try it with a bit of alfalfa chaff(it's best mixed anyway), grated carrot or apple, or a little molassses. If she's happy to eat it like that, I'd do that for a week or so, before trying it without the goodies to see if she's got the taste. Other healthy alternatives for weight gain are soy bean hulls and rice bran. You can add a good complete supplement to this feed, in whatever dose is appropriate for her.
I forgot about rice bran oil! That stuff is like gold when trying to put weight on a horse. Mix it with some beet pulp and molasses and she'll be putting on weight in no time. And her coat and skin will be healthy and shiny!
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Thanks for the advice guys. From all I've gathered, by these responses at least, it won't hurt her. It may not be the best way to prevent weight loss, but it won't hurt to try if it's my best option at the moment. Thanks again.
If your feeding the Senior as just a treat than that's fine. If you're feeding it as a vitamin and mineral supplement, you're not getting much value out of it. The product is "diluted" with forage products so it's going to take even more of it to get a sizable amount of them. If the free choice product your offer isn't going it's job, than you need another products. It should have less than 20% salt, twice as much Ca than P (20%:10% is you feed mostly grass hays) and 100,000 IU/# Vit A.
Another problem with only feeding 2-3# of senior a week is the bag will go bad before you use it up. Not now unless mice get into it but in the summer for sure. It's also not going to add any calories to her diet to help keep her weight up. If what you really need is a treat plus a vitamin/mineral supplement, I'd go with a product like Nature's Essentials. It's got a much better vitamin and mineral profile that could do some good even with erratic feeding.
As a comparison 1# Senior will have 3500 IU/# of Vit A while the NE will have 24,000.
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