Percheron diet help!
So, I have joined the FeedXL website. Cool site. Learned that I STILL am not feeding her enough of what she needs. A small part of her diet is the Nutrena Empower Balance. I feed 1lb. Lots of red flag went up for what she is lacking. When I adjust the amount on the site....it would take 4lbs to give her what she needs in the things she is lacking! Not thinking it was recommended to feed a horse this much. However, I need to remeasure her tomorrow because I measured her length wrong to do the weight estimate. The one I have measuring her length from mid chest to around her hind end makes her 2488lbs! I think she may be a couple hundred pounds less.
So, when it comes down to it...would I really feed her that much of that product due to her size? Even with that, she would be lacking in Maganese, Iodine, Sodium, B1 and Folic Acid...but the Nutrena provides non of that anyway. Or is there another mineral/vitamin supplement to do the job?
I too have a 2200 pound Percheron. My vet has told me that my guy needs to eat 2% of his body weight, per day, to maintain where he is. So for him that's 44 pounds of intake per day. Of course most of this is hay, about 30-35 pounds per day is hay (one bale per day), and the balance is grain.
I feed a pelleted, 16% Blue Seal grain and he gets the following supplements: Biotin, Selenium & E, flax seed and glucosamine/chondroitin (he grew so big, so fast the vet recommended it). He also has free access to a mineral block.
So, now diet. I thought I had it covered, but I'm mistaken apparently. I don't want to grain due to her weight. I've just started riding her again, due to her lameness from her feet...soles are extremely thin, hoof wall issues etc. She now has shoes and is so much more comfortable. It's like night and day. So, we are walking and trotting, doing transitions, getting her back into the swing of things.
After looking at the Nutrena again, it is possible for her to get a heftier helping for her correct weight. I sent the company an email to be sure too. However, she is still lacking the Iodine, Sodium, B1 and Folic Acid. The Nutrena doesn't address those...so how do I add those things to her diet?
I use supplements from Smartpak to get the B1, selenium E, biotin. It does add about $125.00 per month to my feed bill, but it's the only way that I am sure he's getting what he needs. You can customize the packs for the size of our horses. They are based on 1100 pound horse, so we have to about double what they have on their site.
I called them and did an online chat, very helpful.
So, in doing the research....If I feed 4lbs a day of the Purina Enrich 32 besides her hay and pasture, she will only be deficient in Sodium and Folic Acid....so does this mean I should switch?
I know nothing of feeding Draft Horses but if, it's as complex as this thread is making it sound, my thought would be to contact an Equine Nutritionist "somewhere near you".
For example, I found this website but Sacremento is a long way from Chula Vista. Summit Equine Nutrition :: Dr. Clair Thunes – Independent Equine Nutritionist located in Northern California
Perhaps UC-Davis or one of the other extensions has an equine facility. University equine facilities always have an equine nutrition program.
While folks on the forum can offer great advice based on their own experiences, this is one of those times that it seems seeking specialized profressional help should be the first line of defense.
The forum folks can be the second line of defense and provide thoughtful incite into whatever will be recommended for your Draft, under its current living and working conditions:-)
Based on the feeding directions, it does sound like ~4 lbs of a ration balancer doesn't sound too crazy for a 2400 lb horse. Empower Balance lists 1-2 lbs per 1000 lbs of body weight for a horse not in work, and higher than that for horses that are working.
It's one of the reasons I've kept with Triple Crown 30% supplement; even though it's more expensive per bag, I only feed 1 lb of it to my horse (he's a little guy... only slightly more than 1000 lbs) and get a pretty good profile on FeedXL.com (I actually found that I could save some money by lowering that to 10 oz a day if I also include 1 oz of Red Cell pellets, so I think I might do that in the future) With Empower Balance, I think I had to feed somewhere around 1.5-2 lbs to get the same results.
I don't worry much about sodium on the profile unless it's really low. My horse was also low on iodine, so I now add about a tablespoon of iodized salt to his feed and the iodine level is where it should be. Sodium is still a little bit low, but he has a plain salt lick in his stall so I'm not too worried about it. (I'd prefer to offer him loose salt, but the stall cleaners kept getting bedding in his mineral feeder, so I kind of gave up on that one...) Salt is the only mineral that studies have shown horses to effectively self-regulate.
Definitely play around with different products and different amounts in FeedXL to see what fulfills your horse's needs while giving you the best bang for you buck. :-)
Measured correctly today too....she is ONLY 2250 instead...lol
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