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homesteadhorses 12-19-2013 07:01 PM

Older horse is now home, needs weight, how much feed?
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hey everyone if you didn't read my first post, we JUST got Dixie home, she is under weight and is COVERED in dirt, very dirty! and will be getting a bath tomorrow, however when i asked the old owner to bring a bag of what she eats, she didn't. :-( she simply said, she gets "1 scoop am/1 scoop pm" of sweet feed, well am not feeding her sweet feed.

i bought her Sentinel Senior Formula,alfalfa pellets, and beet pulp, i was wondering if i should JUST feed the senior feed for now then add the rest overtime, How much should i start her with?
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Endiku 12-19-2013 07:13 PM

Do you know what type of sweet feed? It might be a good idea to wean her down off of it even though the feed is garbage, so you don't shock her stomach. can you call and ask the brand, and just buy ONE bag? Feed her the usual food today and in the morning, then start weaning down.

If you can't do that though, DO NOT give her a whole scoop of senior feed in place of her sweet feed. She'll likely colic. Instead I'd actually do the opposite...give her just as much hay as she can possibly eat for tonight (heck, I'd even put a whole bale in there and let her eat what she wants overnight) and in the morning, start by giving her about 1/4 a pound of alfalfa pellets and a cup of beet pulp twice. Slowly up that by the 1/2 pound (that's what most feed labels say to do) daily (so the next day, she'll get 3/4 a pound of alfalfa twice a day. Give her hay, hay, and more hay, as well as fresh water always. You might even consider giving her a pan of loose salt or adding 2 tbs into her feed for a few days to encourage her to drink. Some horses won't drink in new places.

If it was my horse I'd wait 2-3 days for her to settle in before adding in the new feed. Look on the label and see how much it says to start with. Usually it is 1/2 a lb. Give her 1/4 lb twice a day, and up that gradually until you are where you want her to be. She's older, skinny, and possibly wormy- so you want everything to be slow and easy.

Skyseternalangel 12-19-2013 07:16 PM

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What season is it there? I wouldn't bathe a horse, let alone an underweight horse in winter...

Even brushing can hurt because there's no fat layer!

Just whatever you do, start off small and slowly

greentree 12-19-2013 07:20 PM

Conflicting views, I know, but I would start her out on just the senior, because it will be closer to what she is used to, and it will be way easier for her to chew. Give her about 2 measuring cups(not feed scoops) to start, and work up from there. I would give her a week on that, gradually increasing, then add the beet pulp for a week(put water on this before you feed it), then add the alfalfa pellets.

This will give you a chance to see what she can chew, etc.


Endiku 12-19-2013 07:22 PM

^ depends on where she lives. It was 78 degrees here today...perfectly fine weather for bathing! LOL. I agree though, if its cold- don't bathe her. She'll be fine if she's a little grungy at the moment and will thank you for not freezing her :)

Good point though greentree. All of my rehab has been with young horses, not one that potentially can not chew. Take my advice with a grain of salt please!

Clayton Taffy 12-19-2013 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by homesteadhorses (Post 4342458)
however when i asked the old owner to bring a bag of what she eats, she didn't. :-(
Attachment 338770

She didn't bring over the food because she obviously doesn't give her any food!

SueNH 12-19-2013 07:30 PM

I'm with greentree. Use a measuring cup for now, not a scoop. If you can feed her a cup 4x a day that's great. If not 2 cups twice a day and add the other stuff after she has been eating for a week. Like we all said in the other thread work up to horsely amounts slowly.

Keep hay and clean water and a salt lick in front of her at all times.

She looks like a lovely old soul.

I wouldn't bathe her with water either unless you are getting temps over 65ish. Let her eat for now. Make friends with a brush that isn't to stiff. She's got nothing on her bones to keep her warm if she's wet and nothing to pad her from over zealous brushing. Damp sponge and bucket of hot water and a towel dry maybe on the worst spots.

walkinthewalk 12-19-2013 09:14 PM

I agree with using a measuring cup BUT please know that a household measuring cup is LIQUID measure. If you feed dry matter according to liquid markings on the cup, you will be feeding a lot less than one pound, ask me how I learned that one:-(

Meaning 8 ounces of liquid is not the same weight as 8 ounces of dry matter.

Buy either a fish scale or a dry weight scale at WalMart.

I feed a Senior feed and rice bran to my hard keeper and imagine my surprise when I weighed them and there's a lot more difference in the quantity of a pound of Senior feed vs. the rice bran:shock:

I can tell you what my vet told me with my very hard keeping 27+ Arab, who is only 13.3H.

"double up on everything you're currently feeding".

The vet had done a CBC, checked his insulin & cortisol levels, teeth, examined him for possible tumors, did fecals.

The verdict was he is healthier than I am and has the metabolism I wish I had:shock:

Since your horse hasn't been getting much of anything, I would start out slow -- if you can manage to feed three times daily that would help a lot. Twice a day for sure, given the condition she is in --- shame on them:-x

Again, keep in mind the Arab is only 13.3H and the vet was full aware of this amount:

1. Nutrena Safe Choice Senior; he was going thru a 50lb bag every 14 days but I have recently cut him back to where 50 lbs now lasts 19 days.

2. Pelleted rice bran; he was going thru 60 pounds a month but I've recently cut him back to 30 pounds a month.

3. Timothy pellets 30 pounds a month and he's still eating that amount.

4. Well soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes (he has four missing molars) 90 pounds a month after soaking.

5. Ten pounds of orchard grass/mix hay at night; he's on 20+ acres of pasture during the day. He won't eat all his hay which is why I feed so much bagged forage.

In 54 years of paying for my own horses, I have never had to feed a horse that much, especially a little guy like him.

Once you get your horse on a steady feed program and she starts to gain weight, you can start increasing her feed pan stuff. Looking at her and assuming she will gain weight in a normal manner, you should see her pretty much back to normal in three months - four at the most and by shedding season, she will be a beauty once again:D

Just don't forget to buy yourself a dry measure scale because those ounce marks on household measuring cups are liquid measure:-|

Best of luck getting her back to good weight:-)

homesteadhorses 12-20-2013 08:11 AM

i think i just want to feed her the Sentinel Senior Formula, first. it has beet pulp already in it, seems like a very nice feed, so am going to start her off Slowly, i can feed her 3x a day maybe 4x. am giving her as much Grass hay as she would like. but that's it, she is already drinking very well, but i do have a "salt on a rope" hanging on the fence line.

maybe i will add in the extra beet pulp and the alfalfa pellets after i get her up to date on the general Sentinel Senior Formula?

By the way, Sorry for not posting this, i live in Florida. lol. central Florida, our high today is 83f :) she came all the way from the state line of Florida.

Sentinel Senior Formula 1 cup, 4 times a day. do that for how many days, and what should i work up too? i also have "slo-glo" by manna pro should i add that in to the cups? or wait till she is eating more?

SueNH 12-20-2013 08:27 AM

enjoy the weather then! I'm thinking it's warm out today at 29 degrees.

Horses have very small stomachs for an animal of that size. That's why everybody is saying start small and slow. The sentinel feed will start putting all the vitamins and minerals into her along with calories. If she seems likes she's eating well you could add a touch of the other stuff after a few days. But really good hay will help her more than anything else and is least likely to cause any problems with digestion or laminitis.

My walker was thin like that when I got her. I increased her hard feed only by the handful every 3 or 4 days. It was the end of October when I got her. Already cold and spitting snow. Made me very nervous. You don't have the weather to fight so just be safe and add the hard feed stuffs really slow.

You will find most senior feeds are heavy on beet pulp because it is a good fiber and calorie source.

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