Feed - The right stuff
Okay , so... I'm looking for some EDUCATED advice. I am extremely....uhm...O.C.D about what is good to be feeding my horse. I want her to have the most balanced and complete diet possible. Ive read so many things and found so many opposing ideas I just want to know some real facts. Please, if you have knowledge about this stuff LET ME KNOW :D .
Right now she's fed :
1 flake orchard,
1 flake alfala,
and 1/2 to 1 oat perday (depending on how much she wants that day) **(All LARGE/HEAVY flakes of quality hay)**
And 1 scoop of Stable Mix.
She also gets Multi - Vitamins, Flax Seed, Beet Pulp soaked in Wheat Germ Oil, and Oats as her "grain" . This is what she's fed for "lunch" or early dinner after i ride. **I'm not a fan of those manufactured "grains" covered in molasses.**
In the Spring after it stops raining i'm planning on either building or buying a large feeder tub to put some free choice hay in. I hate the thought of her going 9 hours between feeding during the day and 15 at night!
I know that the way we feed our horses now adays is really not ideal for their digestive systems. (Large meals far apart in feedings) , so i'm really trying to get her small morning/dinner meals, and free choice to nibble on in between. My thoughts for the free choice hay, are a mixture of Timothy, Teff, Beardless Wheat, and possibly the occassional Bermuda.
So basically my question is, What would you feed? What is the best way to properly "round out" her diet.
And YES *** I always change her diet veryyyy gradually.
I'm a FREAk about water, so she always has fresh clean water, and excess to regular salt blocks, mineral salt blocks, and Himalya salt rocks.
She will also get some Electrolites as well.
Thanks Guys!! Sorry it was so long. TELL ME WHAT YOUR IDEAS/THOUGHTS ARE :D
I feed a first cut local grass hay, as much as she can eat, in two slow feeder nets, one for her stall, one for her paddock (she's about 1000 lbs and an easy keeper, she consumes about 17-20 lbs per day). Her "grain" ration is a couple handfuls of Timothy hay pellets, soaked, Hoffman's Horse minerals, 3 oz flax, and a bit of salt, mixed together and split between morning and night feedings. There is also a trace mineral salt block in her stall, which I've seen her lick occasionally.
I would suggest that if your horse is maintaining her weight on your current feed regime, you could just stick some "filler" hay out for her to nibble. Basically, low calorie, low nutrient, clean, dust free, mold free hay. The equivalent of us munching on celery between meals.
Oats are bery high in NSC (50%+) and IMO, not a quality feed.
If she maintains her weight on a mostly hay diet, then Triple Crown Lite (or something similar) would be appropriate. It is to be fed at 2-4lbs per horse. You could add flax to that if you wanted to, but as far as vit/min's, that is all supplied in the TC Lite.
ADM, Triple Crown and Buckeye are quality feeds.
For starters, I would get a slowfeeder hay net for her Orchard and oat hay. I mix them and stuff the net randomly. That way she eats slow, little by little, and will not be without. Works like a charm. Mine get about 15lbs hay each, a third each alfalfa, orchard and oat. I used to give 25 lbs each on the ground, had a lot of waste.
For "sweetfeed" mine get half a lb soaked alfalfa/timothy pellets, an omega supplement(flax-based), a vit/min supplement and oil, if more energy/calories are needed. Or ricebran.
I'm not a great friend if beetpulp, would, if needed, feed a little oats, unless I'd have an IR horse.
Where in Cali do you have to wait for the spring rain to stop.....lol;-)....we hardly had any...about 6 days worth all winter and spring;-)
Another vote for a slow feed net, put a few out in the turnout/stall.
I have a few from Chicks Saddlery that were cheap but are very durable. I also have some from Dover, a bit bigger than the Chicks Saddlery nets and Cinch Chix which are my favorite, more durable.
I love my cinch chix nets.
Hi guys, i have a 21 year old gelding Walker that will not eat local hay, would i be able to just feed him grain or should i buy greener hay?
Horses NEED forage! If your guy will not eat hay I would have his teeth looked at. It may be that he can not chew effectively in which case a richer hay will not help.
A lot of older horses lose teeth and owners go to soaked hay cubes or pellets.
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I agree on the slow feeder hay nets too. Love mine and the horses love being able to nibble all day.
Kiimberly, I would suggest getting on FeedXL. You can google the name. It is a nutritional data base that you enter your horse's info, then enter all her inputs and it will show you were you are giving either too much, not enough, or make suggestions on how to balance things better if need be.
For OCD types, it's the best thing since Wonder bread!
I'm not familiar with forages out in your area, but possibly look at Ration Balancers. A large number of feed companies make them and they can be used as the sole form of "concentrates" for air ferns, like my Rocky, or they can be used in conjuction with other feed stuff to balance out nutritional gaps.
Either way, they are highly concentrated so you don't need to give very much at all.
For example, My horse get's under a pound (more like 12 oz) split between 2 feedings along with 1 oz of a daily hoof supp and 1 tbsp of flax seed.
Because it is winter he also gets free choice mid quality grass hay and his weight is right on target. In the summer he is sleek, shiny, and just the right weight also.
Feed XL scored his diet as 100% complete.
Gamergirl- You should buy greener or more palatable. Horse need a larger (if not most) of their diet to be in forages. Even hay stretcher products (compressed hay into pellets) usually advise giving no more than half of a horses hay forages in these pellets and the rest in real hay.
Horses also need the kinds of fiber in the diet that only forages can provide.
Is your horse on decent pasture 24/7? Although with it being winter, a pasture kept horse would need hay supplement too.
Hey guys. I can offer my advice, I have just finished a nutrition course.
Any horse should eat at least 2% of its body weight a day. Horses that work very hard can eat up to 2.25% -2.5% ( that is mainly any horse whose work is the same as a racehorse)
Medium workers need 2-2.25% of body weight in food.
Never, even for hard workers, should forage be lower than 50-60% of daily intake, the more the better. so lets say 70% is forage - grass hay, alfalfa etc. preferable given through slow feeders as horses should have the chance to eat all the time and also limits your losses.
Grains are quality food, but have to be very careful with those. Unless you need fast release energy, can avoid feeding then, however they will be in most mixes, but in processed form where they are quite easy to digest no matter on the NSC levels. Never overfeed just grain - no horse should have more than 1gram of starch for 100 kg of body weight in one meal, eg, 1100 lbs horse should not eat more than 3 lbs of oats in one meal as oats have 40% starch content, which aint good for horses digestive system, and that gives 0.48 kg of starch in those 3 lbs of oats.
Purchase good quality hay, can mix it with lower quality, if the horse has a tendency to get fat, but if need to up the weight then just really good hay. All the alfalfa and thimothy pellets will just help with fibre intake, but is not really forage - as they will be soaked and eaten differently. Sugarbeat pulp is good for fibre, oil meals - sunflower meal etc - lower fat but high on proteins..
When feeding 70% forgage - any mixed meal, either purchased or self made, should still go in at least 2 portions, no more than 2 kg of dry feed should enter the horses stomach..
I hope this makes sense?
so 1100 lbs horse would eat 22 lbs a day for maintenance. If want to up the feed for more energy requirements or increase weight go up to 24-26 lbs a day. there at least 15.4 Lbs should be forage, the rest can be mixed foods - your 7 lbs of different mixes - that is for a working horse. if the horse works very little, feed 17-18 lbs forage, 4-5 lbs of mix to include all supplements and balancers, vitamins etc.
If adding oil for energy instead of grain - make sure to feed more vitamin E (most feed mixes dont have that)
and no matter what you feed keep an eye on the fed Calcium: phosphorous ratio, should be at 2:1 usually, cereal grains put it down, balanced mixes can help :)
any more questions ?
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