Switching feeds. Need help ASAP
I dont want to get into all the gory details but Gem and Vega are moving to a temp barn until we find them a better place to board.
We will be supplying their feed for 1-2 weeks (or more depending on when we find a place we like and that has availability)
We would ideally like to just get 1 bag of feed as it will be easier on our pockets.
Vega is the one we'll have to really be buying the food for because she is Hypp NH. Gem is not and will eat anything.
Vega is currently on Horseman's Edge Pelleted feed. I never really liked it to begin with but have dealt with it. Vega has done fine on it and only had the early onsets of an attack a few times (There were times when she would get into some sweet feed because they were all being fed outside, or she'd be put in the wrong stall)
I would like something that is relatively cheap.
I've heard about ration balancers but I have no idea where to begin with that.
Both of them have been out of work for over a year (due to me being pregnant and then recovering from childbirth) so they don't need anything for exercise.
At the temp place I dont know how much hay they will be getting, but I will know more on Tuesday.
If I'm not able to get some of their feed to take with us, should we omit grain for a week and then introduce it back? or switch them to the new feed?
Gem had already coliced once (we believe it was because there were a lot of drugs in his system)
Vega has not coliced.
Sorry if this is all scrambled. Getting about 4 hours of sleep does that to you.
Thanks in advance!
Have you looked into Complete Feeds?
There is also another product that I love, Nelson used to be on it and I've been considering on putting him back on it because of how good it is - Buckeye Safe N Easy.
I do not know about the limitations a horse with HYPP has in the feed department.
If you are not too happy with the food in the first place, I would suggest you change feeds rather than going off and then back on--you would have to slowly decrease their food, then slowly increase it back up when you get some more, and this really isn't the best option because, like you said, colic, but more gravely, founder.
So when considering new feed, make sure you still have some of the old grain left so you can slowly change it over. For example, if you are giving, say, one pound Horseman's Edge per meal (a total random number), and you are going to change to a grain called "X" (let's say)--start by only giving, oh, around 1/8th of a pound of "X" and 7/8ths of Horseman's Edge one meal, and still a full pound of Horseman's Edge in the other meal. Am I making sense?
Then start switching away from the other time of feed, as well, and go back and forth between which meal you are giving more "X" and less Horseman's Edge.
How long you wait between each switch depends on your horse's weight, breed, etc. If you have ponies/drafts I would definitely air on the side of caution by waiting more days vs less. It'll average out somwhere between 6 and 10 days for each 1/8th added to one meal.
If you're not going to have enough feed to last you over, then you'll have to go with the option of slowly dwindling away their grain. Just one thing I want to point out--it has very little to do with how MUCH hay they will be getting, but the QUALITY of the hay. If it doesn't have the right nutrients, adding more won't get you anywhere. :wink: So I would definitely check that out.
Overall, medling with feed is an art AND a science. Figuring out which grain you're going to switch to is also a whole other matter. I would definitely talk to your vet on that one. Foundering is the biggest concern you should keep in mind while doing this. Again, always air on the side of caution.
Good luck to you, and feel free to ask any questions if I didn't make sense or left something out, ha ha!
Depending on where you live and if you can get your hands on it I would highly reccomend Purina's strategy feed, it is a great all over fed. It is in pelleted form not a sweet feed I pay 14$ for a 50 pound bag. This is a great everyday feed. I would say that when you leave the current barn you should ease into the new feed start with a smaller amount and work your way up to the quanity you want to feed. You want to make sure that they are getting at least 10 pounds of hay in the morning and 10 pounds at night for horses that are healthy and not being worked hard or at all. This feed is easily digestable and great for any horse. GOOD LUCK
I agree with switching feeds slowly . . . makes a big difference with a special needs horse.
When I discovered, years ago, that Impressive-bred horses could have this horrible disease (HYPP) I was told by a number of reputable old timers that if you can catch a seizure at the start, give the horse a dose of light Karo syrup. I had it in my barn aready until I got the results back from UC-Davis that my beloved mare was N/N.
Just an aside that might help . . .
Just a ditto on the switching your feed slowly. On the type of grain, just remember to keep it simple. Horses have a simple digestive tract and grain digests differently than hay. A pelleted grain is your best choice as they waste less when it passes through the gut and stomach. Hay should be fed first and then grain after. Lots of people like Strategy, not my favorite, but it works well for some. Depending on where you are, Nutrena feed makes a great pellet feed. Basically a good 12% pelleted feed should be a good choice for you. When you move to a permanent barn I would be careful to not have to make the switch again if at all possible. Good luck.
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