Vitamin/Mineral Supplement and Grass?
I was wondering if anyone here had any experience with this, or any advice. If you have a horse on a mineral supplement when it is spring and the horse is eating more grass would you reduce the amount of supplement, take them completely off the supplement, or continue the supplement as normal?
My horse lives outside 24/7.The supplement is Accel's vitamin/mineral supplement.
Another question, my horse about 3 weeks ago, moved back home after being at a barn near my college. Since he's been back he has been super itchy and being destructive. I personally think this is because the change in environment, increase in bugs, and possibly the stress of moving. The farm owner is convinced the minerals (even with them being reduced) is causing him to be itchy to the point where he is destructive. He's been on this mineral supplement all year with no problem, in fact with an overall improvement since starting the supplement. Do you think the minerals could cause itchiness?
Firstly I'm not a nutritionist & I would suggest getting onto one, or a service such as FeedXL.com where you can also ask these questions of qualified equine nutritionists.
Re the mineral content in grass, I *think* that while the energy/sugar content may be greater around spring/early summer, the mineral content won't change much with seasons, except when the grass is long & dead it will have lost vitamins & some minerals may have leached out with rain. A hay/pasture analysis is the best way to work out exactly what's in it.
As for itchiness, give him a bath in Pinetarsol?? That tends to work, though he'll smell like a hot dog for a while!:-P I don't think a mineral supp would cause this reaction unless it's an allergy, although a deficiency/imbalance could make him more susceptible/sensitive to insects or such.
Actually, when grass is lush and has a very high water and sugar content, the Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) content are often VERY low. A Mg deficiency on lush grasses and cereal grains is so common that many cattle die of Grass Tetany every spring because they are not supplemented with Ca and Mg. They also need an ample amounts of Vitamins A - D - E in order to assimilate the minerals they need. They can get more Phosphorus (P) than they need, so that means they need more Ca to balance it out.
The ratio of C:P should never be less than 2:1. The only way to get that ratio in the spring when (P) is greatly over-available is to make sure that the loose mineral supplement fed has 4:1 Ca:P up to 6:1 Ca:P. That will make sure the overall ratio is at least 2:1 Ca:P.
Most good loose minerals have less than 25% salt in them and have at least 150,000 to 200,000 Units of vitamin A per pound of loose mineral.
Horses being fed any grass or grass hay and any grain product are usually getting too much Phosphorus and too little Calcium. In the winter (on Feed like wheat pasture or rye grass) and in the early spring when all grasses are very lush, they are much more deficient in Ca and also very deficient in Magnesium and to a lesser degree in Zinc. Our horses eat a LOT more mineral in the late winter to early summer because we have a lot of rye grass.
We feed a loose mineral year 'round that is
150,000 Units of Vitamin A
Vitamins D & E
Plus traces of Zinc, Manganese, Copper, etc.
[Do not let sheep or goats have access to any mineral with Copper in it]
Adding Vitamin A to your horse's diet through a 'good' mineral or a Vitamin Supplement will probably fix your dry skin and itching. It will also prevent and/or cure Rain Rot, biting lice, runny and crusty eyes, and a multitude of other things.
Hope this helps. Cherie
Thanks for the advice, I'm looking into getting the grass tested. I will also have to try bathing him in the Pinetarsol.
Cherie, what mineral supplement do you use? Do you get one custom made based on your grass and hay?
I used to have my mineral supplement custom made but then I found one made for Stillwater Milling (an Oklahoma Company from Stillwater, OK). It is just about exactly the same thing I was having made. It is called:
Un-medicated Wheat Pasture Mineral
It is specifically made for cattle turned out on Wheat Pasture or other lush winter or spring grass. I feed mineral made for cattle because they do not have an equivalent mineral labeled for horses. If they had one, It would cost 3 - 4 times as much and would probably not be as good. This mineral is $16.00 or $17.00 for a 50# bag.
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