What do you like to see within your horse feeds? What are important things to look for when one is choosing a new horse feed? Should I buy textured vs. pelleted feed and why? Probiotics (such as yeast cultures, etc. to aid in digestability) are very common in many feeds today so should I buy a feed with or without them? SO MANY DECISIONS! What are some of your own opinions when it comes to selecting a horse feed? What do you feed and why?
I have some info I found on the internet do you want me to post it? Its pretty long tho
I now feed a grain free, low sugar/low starch diet as I have a horse who is grain intolerant. Since switching I have found all my horses health improved so I will be sticking to this from now on - it is a more natural way for horses to eat and is much better for them.
I like to keep it really simple.
A good vit/min supplement OR ration balancer OR low dose complete feed: These provide them with all the vit/min they need.
A base, forage, to mix the above in - I use Speedi-beet as it si classed as a forage so good for the gut and easy to digest, but has energy levels comparable to oats. You can also use hay pellets, or soybean meal. I soak my Speedi-beet so the vit/min mix in well.
Then I just as calories as needed - in safe, easy to digest forms. So things like Copra (High in coconut oil), Lupins, Oils, Flaxseed meal, full fat soy, etc.
That's all I do - Vit/min + Base + Calories as needed.
It means I can easily adjust the amunt of calories without effecting the essential stuff.
It's also a very cheap way to feed!
My horses are easy keepers and on pasture 24/7 so I actually don't feed daily, only when I compete. In the paddock they have grass and a vit/min block to use free choice.
Hay &/or chaff &/or grass as the primary diet. If chaff, make sure it's not sweetened with molasses. If grass, make sure it's not too rich, or the horse doesn't get too much.
A *good* complete supp/ration balancer, etc. as per what THAT horse needs on THAT diet. Pref. grain free. There are a heap of nutrients that are generally missing or too low in a horse's diet, but it depends where they are & what the feed it/where it's grown as to what they may be. So I suggest doing at least a basic diet analysis, thru a service such as FeedXL.com for eg, before deciding on what supps.
Oil &/or oilseeds as may be required for added calories & coat health. Cold pressed such as flax are the best, as also rich in omega 3s & essential fatties.
What I would not feed as a rule; grain or grain-based feed, sugar & molasses, rich, 'improved'(cattle fattening) grass in large quantities, animal byproducts.
I know that grain, molasses, etc, not to mention lush pasture are common & traditional ingredients in horse feed, but being a hcp with unfortunately a lot of experience with lami & founder, it's not just those 'grain intolerant' horses such as Wild Spot's that have a problem with these sugary/starchy feeds, but just about every horse is effected to some degree and many effected seriously and developing insulin problems such as type 2 diabetes in humans, which is incurable - only manageable once 'contracted', so best avoided.
I spent well over a month researching horse feeds because Sunny wasn't keeping weight on a sweet feed, and it just wasn't healthy. I switched her to Nutrena SafeChoice and I love it. She has put on weight nicely. I believe it has 14% protein, 7% fat.
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I love safechoice. Since there arent very many feed stores around...its nice that I can get it at tractor supply too.
As a general rule of thumb when it comes to grains you dont want anything in your top 5 ingredients to be sugars. Corn is almost pound for pound sugar. Molasses too. You can bet if there is molasses in the first 5 ingredients, there sure is alot of it in the feed!
We are using safe choice mixed with alfalfa pellets and black sunflower seeds on our girl and it's doing her very well. She was a bit high strung on Strategy, and I'm finding her much better now.
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I usually just feed alfalfa pellets and beet pulp, but ran into some problems recently and have had to up the ante.
I have one two year old colt that is allergic/sensitive/can't tolerate/process alfalfa - we nearly killed him before the vet figured out what was wrong.
Horses lost a LOT of weight while we were on vacation for two weeks because the person paid to take care of them didn't.
I have one mare nursing a foal that was born after the mare lost so much weight - so it's really an uphill battle for her.
With that in mind, we've added a feed called "Paddock," which is for broodmares and performance horses. We want the horses to regain the weight they've lost, and it's going to take some time. The nursing mare is holding her own and very slowly gaining weight and the filly is growing like a weed, so the program is working for her.
The "sickly" colt is gaining weight quite well, but we are going to have to find something better for him that is not grain based once we get him back to a decent weight. (I wonder if they make pelleted hay out of anything other than alfalfa?)
BTW - we recently added a product called "Omega Shine" (has lots of flax meal) to their diets. The jury is still out as to whether it will help anything. Since we've always been using Red Cell as well, I hope we're not overdoing anything, but we've got to get the weight back on the horses.
Needless to say, they also have free choice hay all the time - even the ones out in the pasture that have lots of grass. (and their favorite food out there is...poison ivy!!! Doesn't bother them, but you should have seen my hands when I groomed them before realizing what they had been eating and rubbing up against. Vet says it not only won't hurt them to eat it, but it's very nutritious. Guess it's one way of keeping the poison ivy in check!):oops:
Dee look for timothy pellets or orchard pelletes your mill may need to order them for you
you can also use rice bran and beet pulp to help add calories.
My feed is hay/pasture free choice ... with a ration balancer for the nutrition and I add calories with alfalfa pellets or rice ban as needed
The things we do for our horses!:wink:
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