Help for Skinny Thoroughbreds!
My three Thoroughbreds are kept in a relatively small pasture with two other horses. They are fed round bales, so they have free choice hay all the time. The five of them eat one 4ft. x 4ft. round bale about every two days. One of my Thoroughbreds is a 3 year old filly, and she gets grain once a day. She gets one scoop (not sure how much it weighs, but I'd say 2 pounds maybe?) of 14% sweet feed every day.
All three of my Thoroughbreds are skinny. The 15 year old gelding is reallyy skinny, his ribs stick out rather noticeably and he's just plain thin..but he was a rescue and I've always had a really hard time keeping weight on him. He's also built a lot slimmer and lighter boned than the other ones too. The three year old is not in such bad shape, but she's a bit bony also. I know this is partially because she hasn't filled out completely yet, but I'd still like to get some weight on her. The last Thoroughbred is a 9 year old mare, who is the fattest...she has a bit of a hay belly, but her ribs are slightly visible.
Their teeth are all in good shape, and they've been dewormed. What should I start giving them? Weight gain supplements seem really expensive. I don't want to give them lots of sweet feed because they'll get hot. Any suggestions on what and how much to feed them to help them gain weight that's not too expensive?
Don't need weight supplements, they need a good low sugar diet. I'd be feeding them beet pulp, all of them. I'd also likely be putting alfalfa pellets and cocosoya in that diet. It's what works for me, there are some nutrition gurus here who can help...but I'd teeth are ok, aren't wormy and the hay is good quality- with all three thin sounds like they need good hardy groceries.
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First thing is to ditch the sweet feed. It's essentially junk food for horses; it will put weight on, but not good weight.
What works well for my hard keeper Thoroughbred is 3 lbs of Nutrena SafeChoice (14%) and 3 qts soaked beet pulp, each given twice a day. Ideally, you'll give slightly less than this, divided into 3 or 4 feedings. I used corn oil when I first got my gelding, which seemed to work for him, but some studies have shown that it has adverse effects.
Other things to look into that I haven't personally used are Omelene 300 and rice bran.
How good is the hay? I love round bales, it's how we feed. But crappy hay is crappy hay. And if three horses are going through a bale every 2 days it can't be great hay. We feed 3 and a bale lasts 8 to 10 days depending on how nice the bale is. They actually eat less of the better hay and don't look pregnant.
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Phly, there are five horses eating off of the bale, not three and it all depends on the weight of the bale. Hers might be lighter than yours.
My vet suggested alfalfa for our pony, who has lost quite a bit of weight recently. She's currently on a beet pulp / soy pellet mix and black oil sunflower seeds. Read up on them, they're not super popular as a main stream feed, but I've only heard good things and since being on them our horses coats are super shiny as an added bonus. They're definitely good for weight gain as well, and relatively cheap.
Firstly agree with most of the above. Check out the 'very skinny companion horse' thread for more info on feeding & considerations.
Alexis, I wouldn't be adding alfalfa without considering nutritional balance, especially if you're also feeding beet pulp which is also reasonably high in Ca. Magnesium levels are one vital consideration that relates to Ca levels.
BOSS and other oil seeds & oils can indeed be a great weight gain 'supp'. BOSS is rich in omega 6 essential fatty acids. As horse's diets are generally high in omega 6 & low in omega 3, I'd personally choose an omega 3 rich source instead, such as cold pressed flax seed oil for eg.
Linseed (flax) and brewers yeast or yea sac are fantastic for weight gain. The yeast helps them make the most of the fibre.:-)
First thing I would do is check teeth and for ulcers. My TB was losing weight and when the vet checked she had horrible points on her teeth. Another person I know who was having weight issues on their TB treated for ulcers and their TB became fat.
Make sure the hay is a decent quality and a good supplement. Beyond that I would add either soaked alfalfa pellets (good protein source) or beet pulp and slowly add in some corn oil. Just build up slowly so the system can adjust.
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