Which Grains are Best?
I started another thread on 'horse talk' and was informed there that oats aren't the best feed for horses.
I know that there has been other threads on this (I found one when I googled the subject), and I'm not arguing with that.
What I am wondering is what is the best feed for horses? My gelding doesn't get any grain right now as he isn't worked very much and isn't too bad for condition in the winter.
As many of you know, I picked up a 4 year old filly, whom is out of a Paint stallion and crossed with a Morgan mare (almost sure on the Morgan part). She was a bit skinny when I got her. I didn't put her on any grain, but my sisters say that she is picking up weight on hay and grass. I've had her for around a month.
My major concern is that she is possibly bred for an October foal.
I am trying to get her preg checked, though it's a bit hard when I'm over 3 hours away and my family thinks it's a silly thing to do. :evil: It's not even costing them anything... grr!
I am trying to figure out what will be my best route to take for what grain to feed her. I will most likely be buying grains and mixing them myself as my parent's live pretty far out in the boonies and a ways from any feed stores. We have a neighbor that sells us some grain so I would have access to oats and barley.
What is your advice on feeds? Pre-foal? Post-foal?
Thank you in advance!
Pregnant mares really don't need any extra calories until it gets close to foaling time. Lactating mares need a lot of calories.
If oats and barley are the only choices, I would stick with straight oats. That is the safest cereal grain for horses.
The one thing that I would go to a lot of extra effort for is finding a mare and foal type supplement to make sure she's getting enough vitamins and minerals. Especially minerals. You can order that online and have it delivered.
Okay... I thought that barley wasn't too good. And I will look into whether or not I can get other grains. Which are best?
Minerals and a mare/foal supplement are on the 'to get' list if she is indeed bred. Minerals actually are on the 'to get' list anyways. Probably should put a mineral block out with the horse herd.
I'm not sure what you have available in Canada. I use ADM products. Here's a link to their website so you can look at the different kinds of feed.
The main problem with cereal grains, and especially with sweet feed, is the high starch content. Feeds based on alfalfa or beet pulp are more easily digested and cause less digestive upset. I still use a sweet feed, but I'm aware of it's limitations and risks. Some of my horses can't have it, and they get one of ADM's premium blends.
Another thing that's a good addition for calories is fat from oilseeds. I use MoorGlo on my horses that need extra calories. It's primary ingredients are rice bran and flax. You could also look in to a ration balancer for a horse that doesn't need any extra calories.
The ADM site has some good articles in the Equine Library: just remember that you are reading things published by a feed company and verify any information that you're not sure of somewhere else.
Thank you! I will read up on it.
Horses do not need grain. None of my horses ever gets any grain. Their digestive system isn't designed for it. If you want to put on weight or if your working them and need something to give more energy (or just for normal sustainment feeding) there are many things that work better.
Beet pulp is easily digested fiber (hindgut) that gives about 1/3 more energy than the same weight in hay. (has Ca, but no P so you need to balance out the ratio)
Copra is also easily digested, but in the small intestine. Can result in weight gain so be careful with easy keepers. (has P but low in Ca which is the reverse of the desired ratio, but in my case beet pulp solves that)
Soy meal is good source for lysine. Most feed companies use cotton seed (lower cost), but soy meal is better.
Oil is great additive for extra energy (super easy to digest).
Keep in mind that if you're already providing the proteins you won't want to compound it by feeding high protein hay like alfalfa. If you're not providing a lot of protein in the feed then make up for it with hight protien hay.
It's Spring which could account for the horse putting on weight with grass. Be careful of Spring grazing. Spingtime, with it's lush grass has the highest rate of founder. Too much carbs in the lush grass. You need to avoid a lot of NSC (stay away from grain) and also WSC.
I also feed my horses ADM, I feed them Ultra Fiber and I love it!
I'd steer away from grain too - especially while you have new grass growing
Beet pulp is high fiber and high calcium and as long as you avoid the added molasses type a safe feed if she needs it
There are more complete feeds available now that are based on beet and not grain - you can probably find one where you are that's designed especially for in foal mares
If your horses are staying in good body condition on the grass and hay you are feeding you could probably get by with a ration balancer, and some mineral blocks designed for horses, Alfalfa is pretty rich, but you can supplement into regular hay. To much alfalfa will cause a very strong amonia odor in the urine, so you'll know to back off a bit. That smell is excess protien. Its not really hurting anything as they just pee out the excess but it would be costing you more money that is getting wasted. No access to feed stores makes it rough. Maybe just go with hay / grass/ afalfa then mail order concentrated vitamin/mineral mix ? For oils if all you have is normal food stores go with canola if you need to add a bit of fat in the winter or under heavy work, better 6to 3 ratios than corn or soy oil. better for the joints long term.
Thank you all! I was just told that my horse will be taken to the vet on Thursday so then I'll know if she is pregnant.
If she isn't I won't worry about grain unless she isn't doing well.
I will be able to go to a feed store, it's just that the closest one is around 1 1/2 hours from my parent's place (where my horses are). I just have to get everything in order and figure out what I need.
Our hay is mainly grass, with just a bit of alfalfa.
As far as oils go, I'll have to do some research and asking around to see what I can find in Canada. I can always get it shipped.
For those worrying about me feeding grain right now, I'm not. I am wondering about all of this for this fall/winter.
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