Need help with rescue....
Hey all, new to the forum. Today I rescued a very malnourished 17 year old horse. I am not new to horses but, I am new to this. It seems everywhere I turn I get conflicting answers to my Qs. I know as much as the key to this is very slow. The horse will share 50 acres with one other horse. I have been told to let him graze only for app. 2 weeks. feed him small amounts (app. 1/2 of a ball cap) of high protien feed. I read an article about a UC Davis study that sez Alphalpa is best & another article that sez hay is best. :roll: Needles to say I am quite confused. Any help you can provide would be greatly apprec. Thank You in Advance! Dawn
First of all, congrats on rescue that horse! :!:
I think keeping him on (rich) pasture 24/7 is just fine. You may want to add normal hay and some alfalfa in winter or if the pasture is not that rich. As for grain/pellets the best is to feed him several times a day smaller amounts. I added corn oil to the feed when I brought my rescues to the normal weight. You can also add beet pulp, bran, and/or weight builder to the grain/pellets (I never did, but number of people from this forum mentioned that, I'm sure they'll share experience again).
Basically my rescues were on good hay 24/7 and I used 12% protein grain + oil twice/day. Took just a month or so to bring weight on. Although my horses were much younger than yours.
Good luck with him!
if he isn't used to the richness of the grass, gradual introduction would work best (so you avoid colic-y issues)
as for feed, choose something that isn't too high in protein, but has a good deal of fat (like 12-14 protein 8-10 fat). Considering his age (not old, but no spring chicken) I would try to find something that has beet pulp as a base (instead of oats or corn, which have high starch levels). Also look for a complete feed that has vitamins and minerals added, or buy them as a supplement and add to the grain you choose.
Offer hay; if he will eat it, then it can do nothing but help him - I would go with grass hay for now, especially considering the richness of the grass.
one last note - be sure he is drinking plenty; that will help with his recovery also! :D
I agree, introduce him to the grass slowly. Let him graze for 30 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day. Slowly increase his grazing time over a period of 2 weeks. If you can't restrict his grazing time, then I'd invest in a grazing muzzle.
For feed, I would go with a nutrient dense feed like Purina Enrich 32 or Triple Crown's 30% Supplement. These feeds are meant to be fed only 1-2 lbs a day for full nutrition. Work him up to the full amount over the two weeks that you get him used to the pasture.
Add to the feed a fat supplement. Ask your feed store about whole flax, stabilized rice bran, or Nutrena Empower. Feed up to 2 cups of whole flax, 2 lbs of rice bran, or whatever the bag recommends for Empower. If your horse isn't gaining weight on the good pasture and small amount of feed with a fat supplement, you can add whole oats or alfalfa pellets to his diet for extra calories.
If your feed store is like mine and doesn't carry the best stuff (I really don't care for Purina's Enrich that much), then you can do mail-order from Uckele. Mix their Equi-Base Grass and Equi Omega Complex (2 scoops each) in with a 2qt feed scoop of plain whole oats.
Uckele Equine Nutrition - Equi-Base Grass
Uckele Equine Nutrition - Equi-Omega Complex
The Equi-Base Grass provides all the nutrients and minerals your horse needs at optimum levels. The Equi-Omega Complex is high in fat, fiber, and pro/pre-biotics for weight gain, hoof health, and digestive health all in one. Again, add more Oats or Alfalfa pellets if he needs more calories.
As the pasture starts to die off, bring in hay. Grass hay is easiest on their system. Go with some kind of Bermuda or Timothy. Continue with the feeding plan you're on. Hay does the best job of keeping a horse's weight up and the horse warm during the winter.
I recommend a nutrient dense feed (ration balancer) or the supplements with plain oats over a commercial feed because many of the ingrediants in commercial feeds are proving to be bad for our horses. My gelding was thin when we got him. It took a LOT of food on traditional feeds to put a small amount of weight on and keep it there. Once I took him off all that feed, he actually gained weight and kept it on with 1/3rd of the food (by weight) that I was feeding him before (as far as the grain & supplements). Ingrediants like corn, molasses, grain sweepings, and wheat can cause colic, founder/laminities, and negative metabolic changes (which can lead to negative behavioral changes). Both of my horses became healthier and happier once they were off the commercial feeds.
Good luck with your new boy and good for you for giving him a good home!
Oh, and be sure to have his teeth checked and deworm him. I would deworm him now with Tape Care + (or a double dose of any Pyrantle dewormer), Ivermectin in 4 weeks, and Quest Plus 6-8 weeks after that. That should get him all cleaned out and you can put him on the same schedule as the rest of the horses.
Healthy teeth and no parasites will help him gain weight quicker.
This is a little 30+ pony we took in two years ago from a SPCA seizure.
This is her 7 months later,
This one only has 9 teeth and most of them don't match up, so..... she got 12 pounds of alfalfa/grass cubes soaked combined with beet pulp. Feed 6 times per day. We tried a bit of soft hay at first but she could really manage.
We waited for about a month before we started introducing any grain. What we found, is that once she started to be feed regularly she was having gas colic's three to four times a week. Our vet said this is very normal with starved horse's. These lasted for 4-6 months. Everything needs to be done very slowly until their guts start to work properly again.
Worming, we gave her a half dose, waited 10 days gave her another 1/2 dose then after 2 more weeks gave her a full dose for her size. Our vet suggested a 30 day worming program for 6 months then she was switched over to every 60 days.
Getting them to gain weight doesn't have to be fancy, teeth, wormers and the best quality hay you can supply. At first less is really more, adjustments can be made once they stabilize. Just my two cents......LOL
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