Frequently Changing Feed? How healthy?
How healthy is it to frequently change a horses feed? My Mother-in-law normally feeds our mares and I have noticed that my horse's grain sometimes is being used for her mare when she runs out. Also, I think that sometimes she gives my horse her mares grain simple because she doesn't want to walk over and scoop out of the other container. She just gives her mare 12% sweet feed. I give my mare senior feed with extra nutrients and Glucosamine supplements due to her joint problem in her left knee.
I have always been told to be extremely careful when changing a horse's feeds because they have very sensitive stomachs and digestive tracts. Changing their feeds too often or not doing it gradually enough can give them colic :-( or at least this is what we were told when we bought our two horses from their previous owners.
We kept them on the feed that they were on originally when we bought them, but then that feed became very difficult for us to find locally so we had to change it over. When we changed it, we found something nearly identical in terms of the grain, vitamins, and supplements that they were already on.
Even still, we rationed out the remaining feed that we had, mixing at first the majority of the old feed in with a little bit of the new until we had gotten to more of the new feed and a little of the old, and finally just had them on the new feed. We took a couple of weeks to do this though, but like I said, we didn't want to make them sick!
I am not an experienced horse owner though, so I would say wait and see what other members here who are more knowledgable have to say, look up some info for yourself, or even call your vet to make sure.
Many owners just feed what they have and don't bother to do it gradually. I don't take the chance of a case of colic that it can cause. I've been doing it that way for 25+ years, 88 horses, and never had a problem that was feed change related.
Thanks everyone. This is exactly what I was thinking. Having experience in 2 Vet. offices (small animal) and 2 pet stores. This is the normal with any animal.
Now I just have to convay this to my MOL with out offending her. :?She thinks she has alot of experience from owning horses, but her methods leave alot of room for errors. :-x (AT MY COST)
The problem is that people in general regiment their animals diets so much that when change does occur, they cannot deal with it! If you gave your horse a different feed every day, their stomach would be in a position to deal with this diversity, but to make it simpler to understand, if you as a person, ate oatmeal for breakfast with milk, oatmeal for lunch with milk, and oatmeal for supper with milk, and did this straight for 2 months. Now one morning you wake up and you have bacon and eggs with coffee - for lunch you have perponi pizza and a coke, adn for supper you eat a peppered steak with french fries and a coke. Your stomach would be rolling. You might not even make it through the day without either vomiting, some pepto, or a trip to the doctor, yet this is exactly what we do to our animals. So we have to options, feed the same every day - easiest! or change up every day (exactly the same way we as humans eat) Much harder!
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