Best high energy/high protein feed with least bulk/weight
So I'm in the process of researching feeds that are high energy (without being "empty" calories), and compact/light. It's sooooooo confusing though!! I have a hard enough time with human nutrition, and I swear horses are more confusing (or maybe I just care more)
We have a string of around 22 horses who are used for packing and riding in the bush for 3-4 months at a time. For this period of time they are free-ranged at night and so feed almost completely on wild grasses, shrubs, whatever. Later in the season when grass is harder to find or frost killed, we have fed alfalfa cubes.
This is supplemented with 1x daily feedings of oats. I don't have a clue how much in weight as it is just free-poured... maybe an icecream pail full or 2 each. Most of the horses do fine on this, but by the end of a hard season inevitably some of the horses are thin.
I know oats aren't ideal, and realize that sweet-feed is pretty much junkfood for horses.
So, I'd like to find something that will provide the most good energy per amount. Weight/bulk needs to be kept down as all feed is transported in either on packhorses or in small bush planes.
Cost IS an issue. I can convince the owner of the company to spend more than he does on oats... but only to an extent.
One last thing - we live in a remote area with a small horse community. I'd have to see what feeds the feedstore will carry or order in, but it's likely to be limited brands.
I know there are some very knowledgeable people on here, so, any suggestions?
Add oil to the oats. Oil is fat is energy, easy as that.
Most commercial high energy feeds have a high fat content.
Plus, the oats are poured right onto the ground - no feed tubs or anything.
So you need a high fat feed. What would be available to you?
Look for a fat content of 6% or higher, and feed this instead of oats, little less than the oat portion to horses n normal weight, and more for the one's who need it. If you can't monitor the feeding and "fat" horses chase skinny horses away, you will need two different feeds, normal for normal horses and high fat for skinnies.
I would look into what local feed mills you have around you. Look or ask for a "range cube". It's the size of a horse cookie (1/2 to 5/8 inch in diameter) that you just shake on the ground. You don't waste anything because they can pick it all up unlike oats where a good portion gets left on the ground. They are more common with cattle and wildlife (like reindeer, elk... raised for human consumption) but if they will can make them, they can make it to your specification for horses. I would do a high fat content to increase the caloric content (the same weight of fat will contain about 3X more calories than oats). It will also take up less volume making transport more efficient. Who mills your alfalfa cubes? Have them add some soy, oil and a vitamin/mineral supplement to make it into a complete feed. Than you are only responsible for one feed item so you get a better price. A pound is a pound. Don't get hung up on the light part. You want calorie dense.
unfortunately, we have no mills nearby. I'm located wayyyyy up north - the feed we have available is all bagged and shipped in. I'll look into brands, and will look into range cubes for sure. the 6%+ fat tip is exactly what I was looking for... that way I can at least begin to search!
and "calorie dense" is exactly the description I was looking for!
Ful O Pep - Allied Feeds - Livestock Feeds - Cattle Feeds - Breeder and Range Cubes
Something like their Ranch Hand 15. It must be for horses. Cattle cubes have a bunch of stuff that shouldn't be fed to horses or can be toxic to them.
I'm happy to help you run some #s to show how it can same you money feeding something more complete and energy dense than the oats even if they appear to be more costly. You are in fact paying less per calorie by both feeding less product but more importantly transporting less.
Most any mill that can do the extruded feeds can make you your blend. Basically what you need is a 5/8 inch senior feed. You want a complete feed than you can skip the alfalfa cubes. Run your numbers. How much feed do you feed over the season. Do you buy it all upfront or do you buy and ship as you go. Most feed mills require 1 ton minimums (which is probably a drop in the bucket for you) to start but you will get your best price in volume.
but back to the same thing... if we were to buy from a mill, we'd be looking at transporting from Alberta or at the VERY closest, British Columbia, which is still 15 hours away.
... that said, my dad does need to bring his truck back up from Alberta this spring, so it could be an option.
could I contact a mill (honestly had never even heard of them before), show them that Ranch Hand 15, and ask for something similar?
per calorie, how much more do you think we would be saving? (or gaining I suppose regarding energy/calories)
and a really dumb question.. what is an "extruded feed"? is 5/8inch the size of the feed once it's been milled or what?
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