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My feed store changed their product line, what is a ration balancer??
My feed store used to sell nutrena products and I fed my horses nutrena safechoice. They are now selling masterfeeds products and tell me that Masterfeeds VTM 20 is very close to Nutrena safe choice. It retails for 25$ a bag but this week they have it on special for 10$ a bag because they are just introducing the masterfeeds line. On the bag it says this is a ration balancer and to feed it one part VTM 20 and 2 parts oats. I dont feed oats I have always used the nutrena safechoice as a complete feed along with free choice hay. Has anyone used this masterfeeds product?? Is it any good ?? can I feed it alone like a grain or do I really need to buy oats and mix it. I bought several bags of it but now I am worried I didnt purchase the right kind of grain for my horses. I dont want anything that will make them hot I only feed grain because I have no pasture to speak of and they get hay year round
If your horses get their daily energy requirements from their hay, you don't have to feed with grain. You just give 0.25% of the horse's body weight per day.
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ETA: I tried looking at the website but couldn't make it work, so I don't know what the ingredients are.
I have a little problem with the name as they have no idea of the nutrients one is feeding to know if this balances their feed. It would take bloodwork to see what the horse is lacking to know this and even then..........I think the name is just a hook. You need to check the list of what it is providing with other feeds.
oh this is not sounding very good saddlebag perhaps I should try and take them back and get something else. I don't feed grain in the summer but my horses are out 24 / and it gets very cold here in the winter. I feed them a bit of grain because I dont want them to lose weight in the winter I have a list of the ingredients they are
THIS FEED CONTAINS ADDED SELENIUM AT 1.50 MG/KG.
CRUDE PROTEIN (MIN. %) 20.00 IODINE (ACT. MG/KG) 4
CRUDE FAT (MIN. %) 2.00 IRON (ACT. MG/KG) 400
CRUDE FIBRE (MAX. %) 8.00 COPPER (ACT. MG/KG) 150
CALCIUM (ACT. %) 2.80 MANGANESE (ACT. MG/KG) 250
PHOSPHORUS (ACT. %) 1.50 ZINC (ACT. MG/KG) 400
MAGNESIUM (ACT. %) 0.35 COBALT (ACT. MG/KG) 2
SODIUM (ACT. %) 0.60 FLUORINE (MAX. MG/KG) 70
POTASSIUM (ACT. %) 1.10 VITAMIN A (MIN. IU/KG) 32,000
VITAMIN D (MIN. IU/KG) 7,000
VITAMIN E (MIN. IU/KG) 800
A ration balancer is just like a multivitamin. It is nothing like safechoice. Safechoice is a complete feed which means it includes calories. A ration balancer is for easy keepers as it only contains vitamins/minerals and no excess calories. Which is why they would say to mix with oats which I would never do as that will give way to much unneeded energy.
Looking at that label it is a low fat high protein supplement. If your horse does not need extra calories and does fine on just his hay or pasture you will be fine. But too much protein may not be to good. I would just call and ask your vet.
Also be aware this feed contains added Selenium. You need to make sure your horse is not getting to much selenium as this is poison in to high of quantities.
A ration balancer is just an alternative to fortified grains. Most ration balancers are low-grain or grain-free (which is better for your horse anyway) and are there to fill in the holes you would have from feeding just hay/grass and work very well for easy keepers or horses that need a low starch diet. Most feed brands have a ration balancer- Nutrena's is Empower Balance- so I'm not sure why your feed store wouldn't have recommended something more like SafeChoice from the new brand.
The protein levels look high percentage wise, but you feed much less than a traditional feed (like SafeChoice) so the overall amount of protein the horse gets is equivalent. For example, if you fed 1 lb of this feed at 20% protein, the horse would be getting 0.2 lbs of protein. If you feed 3 lbs of a fortified grain at 14% protein, the horse would get 0.42 lbs of protein, so even though the percentage is higher on the ration balancer, the horse is getting less protein.
I'm not familiar with Masterfeeds, and I'd be leery of feeding a ration balancer that says to feed it with oats, as that defeats what I consider the main benefits of a ration balancer (i.e. low starch and low calorie). I'd recommend using FeedXL.com to see if the horse's diets would be missing anything without the oats.
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