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How much oats??
I am looking for suggestions on how much oats to feed my average size, low (actuall no) workload horses. We are located in Ontario, have lots of cold weather. The horses are eating free choice round bales, and I just want to give them a little extra, to maintain or possibly add a bit of weight. All the horses are at perfect or just below perfect weight. (4.5-5.0) Will a pound or two of oats each make any difference on their condition? By one calculation that I found on the internet, I would be lugging 300 lbs (???) of oats out daily. (3% of body weight) Any suggestions would be helpful.
My BO feeds whole oats I believe in a small bucket (the size of a large coffee can) half way full, once a day. all the horses at the barn are fat, but not overweight, and only several get worked regularly.
You do have to feed a lot more oats than other grains in order for the horse to gain/maintain weight. My horse gets 4lbs of oats morning and night and about 6 flakes of hay a day. The horses that we have at our barn that get pelleted feed we give 2-3 lbs morning and night, depending on the horse, with 4-6 flakes of hay a day.
3% of their body weight is for TOTAL feed, including hay and pasture. I feed my horses 1.5 lbs of whole oats and 1.5 lbs of alfalfa pellets to keep weight on and put on a little wither fluff. I would try 2 lbs a day to start and see how they do. Increase to 3-4 lbs if you don't see any improvement after 2-3 weeks.
You can also add some corn or soybean oil for added fat. Start with 1/4 cup per day, increasing to 1/2 cup after a few days.
I don't know that I would use oats to add weight. To me, oats are a "working" food. If they're not working, I would start with something less intense.. even a 15% pellet with some corn oil on it. That's if they are close to a good weight already.
I've never fed straight oats and would suggest going for a more mixed/balanced feed. I like Nutrena Safechoice, 14% feed that's just very well balanced and is very good at adding weight. You also don't have to worry about any upset stomachs while the horses are on it.
why oats?? Why not beet pulp or alfalfa cubes/pellets??
I feed whole oats but 3% body weight is a HUGE amount. I feed mine 2 lbs twice a day and they do fine. Non working horses I feed none.
also keep in mind that oats are not a "balanced" ration... they need to be balanced with a good vitamin/mineral supplement...
Oats are safer to feed than most commercial feed products, including safechoice. They are a pure "whole food" that is healthier for the horse. If you're feeding quality Timothy hay, oats are actually the perfect thing to "balance" the diet. The only thing you'd be low in is Vitamin E and Calcium, and not by a lot. Adding some Alfalfa pellets remedies that.
As long as the horses are in good condition, their coats have a glow, and the hooves are strong, then you can be assured that the horse's diet is fine.
I feed mine an extra vitamin supplement and some flax, but their diet needs it. Without it, their coats aren't as shiney as I'd like and my mare's hooves show some minor surface cracking. Oats and Alfalfa in the amounts I feed aren't enough to balance their diet. Now, if I decreased the hay and doubled the oats and alfalfa, they'd probably do better, but I prefer to feed enough hay to keep them busy most of the day ;-).
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