Horse feeding question
This is my first winter owning a horse. Berdi is a 19 year old QH and is a very easy keeper. I have to keep a muzzle on all day and stall her at night in the summer and even then she is plenty big! So, this is not like feeding a hard keeper TB. :-) She basically could get fat on air! :shock:
Tell me what you think of this feeding plan. Berdi will be stalled from around 4-6pm till 7-8am in the winter. In the day she will be out in the field (its huge) with the llama. There is tons of grass under the snow. She could dig for food during the day and at night I would give her 10 pounds of hay as well as 2-3 pounds of oats and 1 cup sunflower seeds. Of course she would have fresh water and a salt lick too. How does that sound? I know that just eating grass under the snow will not provide enough nutrients but it she has that in the day and hay and oats at night, will she be fine?
Thanks in advance!
Cutting out the oats & sunflower seeds and feeding her a good quality complete supplement would be appropriate. Sunflower seeds are high in oil/fat. While oats are the safest grain for horses, they're still not great, being high in starch. If she's fat, she doesn't need additional calories anyway(least of all such a large & single amount) and if she's lacking in energy, it's likely to be because she's fat & unfit, or other health / soundness issues. Fat horses are much more at risk of developing insulin resistance(like type 2 diabetes in people), laminitis and other health problems. Unfortunately salt licks provide little besides salt, and you tend to get what you pay for with supps, so the cheaper ones are often not the most economical, let alone the best.
Feeding her hay in a small holed or doubled hay net will also slow down her consumption.
Thank-you for the advice! I do feed her hay in a slow feeder so that helps! So you think she would be fine on just hay and a supplement? What kind of a supplement? I really am very new to this. She has plenty of energy - I was just thinking that in the winter oats might be good to give her extra food. Do you think any sunflower seeds are bad? I was thinking of them for her coat too.
Should I cut out the salt like and give her a mineral block? If so what kind? All I've seen are the ones for cows and I don't know if they are ok or not.
If she's an easy keeper, then I would not give her any oats or only 1 lb. Is there a reason you give sunflower seeds? They are very high in fat and Omega 6 fatty acids. They have almost no Omega 3's, which are more beneficial to the horse. I prefer flax meal for fat and omegas, just 1/2 cup a day for "easy keepers."
To your oats and flax, I would add a vitamin supplement designed for horses that get little to no fortified feed like GrandVite, NutriPlus++, Uckele's EquiBase Grass, etc. That will round out her nuturition.
If she loses weight on less oats, then increase her hay. Hay is what keeps horses warm during the winter months.
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