Grain for parrot mouthed horse
I've got the worst of both worlds. Hard keeper TB with a severe parrot mouth. Despite all the progress we've made with his teeth, his still doesn't seem be able to chew the grain he's on to the point where he's absorbing all the nutrition and fat. Some of it comes right back out the other end in whole form. He definitely need something with a larger nugget that he can chew better. With his hard keeper part in mind, I've narrowed it down to 3 high fat feeds. I need to stay away from senior feeds since I don't want him getting that much protein. I could use some input particularly on how big the pellets are in the various mixes. Of course, how well they work would be good info too. The feeds are:
Blue Seal - Vintage Performance LS
Triple Crown Complete
Poulin Equi-Pro Performax 12:12
The new Purina Omolene line is supposed to have nugget-type feed.
Have you tried softening/mashing his feed at all? A feed that he has to 'lap' up versus chew might help.
Larger nuggets aren't necessarily going to help your horse digest feed any better because it's still not broken up effectively by the teeth. Chewing is a very important part of the digestion process and when a horse doesn't chew well you need to provide a feed that is designed for horses with dental issues.
A complete feed and especially one that is designed for senior horses is going to be your best choice. (Don't worry about the protein content being too high--the body gets rid of what it doesn't need. It's not a big deal unless you are dealing with an animal with kidney dysfunction.) This is because these feeds are designed to need less mechanical breaking down by the mouth but to still be utilized well by the body. Feed according to the label on the bag and if necessary, increase the daily amount or add even a bit more fat to the diet.
Of your 3 choices above, the Triple Crown Complete is the best option. I would add a bit of water to it and make it mushy so that it's even easier to break up.
Aren't you looking for something with a higher fat content? The Triple Crown only has 10% vs. the Poulin and Blue Seal each have 12%. Let me know what you pick, but for Chance I'm leaning towards the Performance LS.
PS: The grulla color, my favorite
Yeah, I like the mushy idea. He can actually chew smaller pellets without dropping too much. It's just the small, bird seed looking stuff that runs right through him. He chews baby carrots great which is why I was thinking along the lines of bigger pellets.
As far as the senior feed goes, I am worried about feeding too much protein to a TB. The information out there about protein, sugar, carbs, etc, is all very confusiong regarding which is the culprit is for causing hot horese. Right now he's an absolute doll, and I don't want to change that. Also, a lot of the other nutrition values are higher in the senior feeds. I figure they're like that for a reason. My boy's only 6. I don't want to be feeding him stuff he doesn't need or might even potential harm him over the long term.
I have a very skinny OTTB that has a SEVERE parrot mouth.
I feed 2lbs Beet pulp 1lb Alfalfa Pellet and 1lb oats (to balance out the phosphorus ratios of the pulp and alfalfa) and 1 cup of veg oil twice a day.... I soak it for 20-30 min so it is nice and mushy.
I like to feed him in a feed bag but that is too much feed to put in the bag. If you can get away with using less try the feed bag.... they don't waste as much. Soaking will help with better digestion.
ALSO I found a supplement SmartFlex Senior that has all the joint goodies for a TB AND pro/prebiotics and other digestive goodies plus immune boosters in one $35 supplement. I'm going to try this once I clear up my TB's ulcers.
You can make your own grain free, high fat, balanced feed relatively easily.
First though, you must start with high quality hay, as much as he will eat. Give him 3% of his IDEAL body weight a day in grass hay, mixed grass, or timothy hay. If he has good pasture, then supplement him with as much hay as he will eat.
The main ingredient for your homemade feed is hay pellets. If you feed bermuda, timothy, or other grass hay, then Alfalfa pellets are best. If you feed alfalfa hay or a mixed hay with 50% alfalfa in it, then timothy pellets or mixed pellets are best. Either way, start with 4 lbs of hay pellets a day in one or two feedings. You can increase this up to 8 lbs a day (no more than 5 lbs per feeding) if you do not see any weight gain after to weeks.
Add to that a fat source. I prefer milled or whole flax or stabilized rice bran. Start with 1 cup of flax or 1 lb of rice bran. You do not have to grind the flax if you buy it whole. If you're on a budget, corn or soybean oil will work, but I have found that it doesn't work as well as the rice bran or flax.
Next you need to add a comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement. Look for one that is broad spectrum, high in all ingredients. One that says it's for horses getting little to no fortified grain/feed is best (like Select II or Smart Pak's SmartVite line).
Finally, while he's gaining weight, you'll want to add a pro/prebiotic. I like Source Focus WT or Invigor.
Use some water or a splash of oil to make everything stick. You want him to get all of the supplements. If he has a hard time chewing the pellets, wet them down until they break up.
Once he's at a good weight, you can decrease the alfalfa pellets to 2-3 lbs a day total, cut the fat supplement in half (1/2 cup flax or 1/2 lb rice bran), and discontinue the pro/prebiotic.
I have a hard keeper TBxArab cross. This diet worked WONDERS for him! We tried every feed and supplement under the sun. The ones that "worked" to keep his weight on made him high as a kite and hard to handle... This is the only diet that really worked withOUT making him hyper. He is 15.2h and maintains his weight on just 1.5 lbs of alfalfa pellets a day with 1/2 cup of flax.
I agree though, a senior feed is not a good idea for your horse.
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