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firelight27 01-16-2008 04:26 PM

Best grain/feed for weight gain.
I recently got a poor little filly who is underweight. She wasn't being fed enough by her previous owner and was in sad shape when she came to me. I've had her for a little over a month now, and she has gradually started gaining on quality grass/alfalfa. I didn't want to put weight on her too quickly, because I know its important to be careful and gradual. She is stable enough and eating well, and has been wormed correctly. I want to start her on some additional feed to help her gain some added weight.

For most of my horses, I feed COB, and they sustain well, but I'm not liking it so much as I'm realizing how much of the whole grains go unused by the body. Some of my horses rush through eating their grain, and grains that are swallowed whole tend to pass right out in their poop, being wasted. Someone suggest beet pulp. I know it must be soaked before feeding. But the dangers of expansion still worry me. Another friend suggested rice bran because it is utilized better than whole grains and is less complicated or worrisome as beet pulp. Still another suggested mixing the two.

What do you think is better? And how much do you think I should feed? She is 1 1/2 years old, so she is growing, and she is a National Show Horse (arab x saddlebred).

JustDressageIt 01-16-2008 07:15 PM

This is a very delicate matter that you should discuss with your vet. As with humans, if a horse is malnourished, you have th be very careful about how much weight you put on her, how fast, and, well.. how to go about it. But you already knew that, as indicated in your post.
You can go to your local tack store or feed store and see what they have to offer. Beet pulp is a good idea, however it is also known to make horses hot. As long as you soak the pulp for a time before feeding you don't have to worry much about expansion, you just have to introduce it fairly slowly and don't feed too much.
I know this was a very vague post, but I hope it helped at least a little!

classie1 01-16-2008 09:35 PM

personally I mix the beet pulp and rice bran together. My horses do so well on it. When i got my gelding he was about 300 pounds under weight, within 2 months he was back to normal, i worried about the expansion because he has a sensitive stomach, but he has been fine, he's been for it for the past 3 years now. And one of my mares was a little under weightg and she looks great now!

Tarvas Munkee 01-17-2008 11:06 AM

I too mix beet pulp and rice bran, and I soak it overnight. It's high in fiber and extremely digestible. Good old fashion oil is great too... whatever you do, don't just bulk the feed up, that's just asking for coilc. Like they stated above, if she was suffering from malnutrition, you should have your vet exam her fully first, and then decide a weight gaining feeding program with him/her. Good luck and keep us updated!

DressageGirl 01-18-2008 07:30 PM

Beet pulp is good for weight gain, and so is rice bran. You shouldn;t have much to worry about with beet pulp as long as you use enough water and let it sit for a good length so it all gets soaked up. If you've never fed it before, its a good idea to experiement with how much beet pulp to mix with how much water. You can always drain out some of the water if there is too much, but make sure there isn't too little water or the beet pulp will expand in the stomach of the horse. And same with starting a horse on any feed..feed small amounts and gradually add more. If the horse doesnt like the beet pulp, you can always add a bit of something else for flavor. I've always used beet pulp to put on weight for the Tb's that go to the track or that come home from it. Good luck!

firelight27 01-21-2008 03:12 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I've started her on rice bran. My neighbor keeps showing up and telling me to give her more, but I've started with a half pound in the morning and a half pound at night. If she needs more, I'll up the amount. I also add 1 tablespoon of corn oil to each serving. She eats it all, regardless of the fact that I don't believe she is very fond of the flavor (she always finishes off all of her hay/alfalfa before she starts in on the bran).

I wormed her in small doses spread over four weeks so that if she had an overload of worms they wouldn't block her digestive system and cause her to colic. I did all this while feeding her hay/alfalfa only (no grain). I feel pretty safe about the timing in which I've been upping her feed. She was underweight when I got her, but not so much that she was starving (yet). I think if the lady had her for more than a couple months more, she would have been at the point where starving would be the correct term.

Harlee rides horses 01-21-2008 09:49 PM

There is a supplement I always use whenever my horse is underweight, I'm sorry I have no idea what it is at the moment, but you can get it at TSC, and it works like a dream, so try supplements.

funnygal 01-22-2008 06:46 AM

Is it Farnham weight builder? I've also heard of Fat Cat (from Smartpak) working very well. We use Farnham - it's been almost a month and I can't say I see a huge difference?! But people swear by it.

montysmom 01-31-2008 07:18 AM

Hi firelight
I had a serious weight loss problem with my thorougbred gelding. I was paying someone else to care for him as he was so far away from me, They did well for the first while, and then they just stopped caring. In 2 months, my boy dropped almost 400 lbs. When I found him like this, I cried and cried. Then I moved him to where I could take care of him myself. This is how I found him that day.

I put him on a new feeding regimen 2 days later. A lb. of Equimax fat and fibre (the equivilent to Purina fat and fibre) mixed with a lb. of 12% pellets, and a sprinkle of bran for a treat, and to keep everything moving. I did this twice a day. This is my baby 6 months and 402 lbs later. Who says thoroughbreds are not a hearty breed. Someone forgot to tell my boy, LOL.
I moved him closer to me, and now no one takes care of my horses except for myself or my husband, and they thrive.

kim_angel 01-31-2008 09:56 AM

I have found that my horses have done wonderfully on Triple Crown - there is a Growth that we fed to our youngsters, a balance to the horses that are "fit" and Senior for my aging horse. We also add in rice bran for those that need to gain weight.

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