Rehabbing a skinny yearling
So I need help rehabbing a skinny yearling. It is a sticky situation, but the important part now is that he is being rehabbed and fed, per my recommendations to the owners. He is approx 14 months old, and I'd put his body scale at a 2- 2.5. So skinny.
The little guy in question is an AQHA colt. He should reach over 15.3 at maturity.
Anyways, he has always had either hay or pasture, but no grain worth mentioning. He needs grain, bad. I have some that we are going to feed him, and have started. But before I get all ahead of myself, I want to be sure we aren't going to do him more harm than good by feeding him too much too fast. Yesterday I gave him 3 pounds. At full feedings per day, he should be getting around 7, or more. But I only have experience with already healthy yearlings, not underweight ones. I know I fed mine a mix of cracked corn and oat when she was little. I gave her about a pound for every hundred pounds that she was. So at yearling age about 8-9 pounds a day, depending. I know that's what he will need also, if not more than that, to maintain weight. But what should I be giving to BUILD weight.
Right now I have a bag of Junior Dynasty feed. That's what I fed him yesterday. I checked the bag, it's 16% protein. Is there any other feed that would do him better?
He gets a good mix of grass/alfalfa/clover hay as well. He is also put on pasture, but we are in drought, so its not very rich or plentiful. We are planning on moving him to a better pasture sometime this week.
So advice please. I know a little about equine nutrition, but once again I am not an expert in rehabbing a thin one. How much do I feed him, and at what rate do I increase it?
Oh and btw I am going to buy a scale to weigh everything with, to be sure I am giving the proper amounts to him.
lots and lots of carbs and protein
I highly doubt he will reach his potential maturity if he has not been getting proper nutrition for these first few, critical months. Sad :(
Poor little guy...glad he found you. His little system is pretty stressed right now, and too much grain could cause colic. You might want to consider giving him only about 2 pounds of grain, along with a pound or two of soaked beet pulp - it's easy on the digestion. You also might want to slowly introduce a fat supplement - rice bran, flax meal, or maybe even some Purina Amplify or Nutrena Empower or Boost.
The trick will be to introduce "hard" feed very slowly. The damage to his growth has already been done - you don't want to make things worse.
Also - have a fecal done and a thorough vet check. If the little guy has always had plenty of hay and/or pasture, he shouldn't be skinny - there may be something else wrong.
Yeah I was afraid his growth may be permanently stunted. He's not my horse, I have just been helping with his situation. It was not a case of purposeful neglect, but just of owner inexperience. Said owner is now taking my advice on how to properly care/feed for him. I just wish I would had said something sooner! I tried the whole dropping hints thing for a while, and suggestions. Sometimes its hard to confront people. But at least we are doing something now. We had a bit of a "come to Jesus."
I'd put him at a body scale of around 2.5 ish, maybe 3. I looked up the body scale, its hard to tell on him. But I know he needs pounds, and he hasn't grown in a while. Anybody wanna fill me in on exactly how to tell what his "number" is?
Anyways, we have him on about 3 pounds a day (1.5 lbs 2x a day) of Junior Dynasty. He is also on pasture 24/7 now. We are going to see how that does. The owners bought a scale and a good amount of grain. I had thought about a weight builder, and will get some if necessary. We were going to slowly increase the amount of grain to about 6 lbs a day, but now were running into issues.
I would try beet pulp, but he is being picky lately. It's like he has no want for grain. We can't get him to eat it. At first he wanted it, then he started not wanting it, and now we can't get him to eat it at all. It's like he just wants hay or grass. sigh
Any tips/tricks to get him to eat? He's being so picky! I was gonna pick up molasses or something like that to coat it with. It's just so frustrating. My gelding will eat and eat and eat, no matter what and this guy just wont do it :-(
Oh and as far as a vet, owner said she'd be willing to call one out if needed. So that's good. He had shots this year, and has been on a regular worming schedule as per the vets recommendations.
I just feel bad for him. He was bred at a farm where he never got any handling, and then brought to an owner that has great intentions, but was just uneducated on feed I suppose. We have been working with him and he's great to handle, but needs serious work on feeding and nutrition. I think she assumed that he could be fed like an adult horse, such as mine, and he'd be fine. She said he's hard to catch which is why she gave up trying to feed him. I told her that I'd help and now we are on the right track, but I have regrets of not just confronting her sooner. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.
You are calling him a colt. Has he been gelded yet? That will help channel his growing to height not bulk and he will also grow for a longer period. You can throw all sorts of feed at him and if he doesn't eat it,it doesn't do you any good. The hay is a good blend as it provides additional calcium, minerals and calories than straight grass. I'd stick with the Jr he will eat, unlimited hay plus a freechoice loose mineral (adm GrowStrong is my choice). Give him a couple of Weeks on that and see how he does. Refrain from feedinf weight builders and oils as they are mearly empty calories that do not provide the building blocks for him to grow.
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Nope he is scheduled to be gelded in August, per vets instructions.
That's my problem though, he stopped eating the Jr feed :-|
As long as he's eating 10# of hay, I wouldn't worry. He's already on a better diet with just the hay.
I wouldn't be surprised if he has ulcers and his lak of interest in concentrates is related to the grains and molasses in the products. Try sprinkling the feed over his hay. Offer him aome straight alfalfa as well. Alfafla pellets with a vitamin/mineral blend mixed in is what your Jr feeds are basically.
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