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Magaidh 04-13-2011 03:47 PM

what to feed a very thin draft cross weanling?
Hi guys. This is my first post in this forum, I stumbled across this place in google and it looks like a great community of horse knowledge and people!

I need some help figuring out what to feed my new weanling draft cross colt. I literally just picked him up four days ago. He is a Percheron/Oldenburg cross, 8 months old, 14.1 in the front and 15 hands in the back end. Quite out of whack all over, really. He's got a very long, fuzzy winter coat, and if I could see his body I know his ribs would be prominent, as I can feel every rib in him. He's got no "meat" on him whatsoever. He was weaned at 4 months, and and I was told he was fed a mixture of beet pulp and soy powder (never heard of feeding horses this??).

I know draft babies can have problems with growing too fast when given too rich feed. Any suggestions on a safe but effective feed or product, and amounts, that will help him put some weight on safely as he grows? Thanks!

Here a pic:

Also, he has a heart-shaped star!

Levade 04-13-2011 03:59 PM

Good grass is the best possible thing, but control his grazing and only feed in small doses as you don't want him to put weight on too quickly, and due to his breeding you need to be careful about laminitis :)

When I got my rescue horse he was very neglected, and I found that the combination of good grass, ad lib hay, and feeding him three times a day with tiny feeds made up of sugar beet, Alfa A and various oils worked wonders. I also used supplements, and a balancer, seaweed is a good balancer unless you want to buy a properly packaged one, but they are pretty expensive! I would also think about giving him glucosamine and possible calcium, as he hasn't had the best start in life and these are good for his bones and joints, you could ask your vet :-)

Also get his teeth checked if you haven't already, could be a sharp edge putting him off eating.

But congrats on your new pony! He is a very sweet little boy! :D

MIEventer 04-13-2011 03:59 PM

Lots of hay, first and foremost - tons of it. Best if you can get him a round bale to stuff his face infront of 24/7.

Here is an article that I think will help you out:

For feed, I am unsure - there are more knoweldgeable people who can help you out with that. I'm thinking perhaps a Senior Feed?

FeatheredFeet 04-13-2011 10:03 PM

Grain won't put weight on him, so hay and as much of it as he will eat. It doesn't have to all be one type or another.

Looks like a sweet fellow.


whatnow 04-13-2011 10:20 PM

make sure he's been wormed! cheapest feed they'll ever eat!

whatnow 04-13-2011 10:22 PM

we've used beet pulp on older horses to gain or keep weight on, it's highly digestable and soaked with a small amount of water is easy to chew. also weight builder supplement by farnam to gain weight.

Left Hand Percherons 04-13-2011 10:54 PM

14.1 at 8 months is a decent size. I'm a firm believer in moderaly feeding young draft to not have the dramatic growth spurts you can get on a high level of nutrition. I would prefer to see them still growing at 6 if I can. Fats and weight builders offer no nutritive value (they are empty calories) so they don't have a place in building a yearling back up. Make everything count that you feed him without overfeeding him.

His previous diet of BP and soy isn't that bad as a starting point. The BP is high in Ca and low in sugars. It offers moderate calories as well. The soy is a high protein supplement with a great lysine content. Lysine is important in growing horses as it's an essential amino acid and not all protein sources provide adequate amounts. What was missing is a comprehensive vitamin and mineral packet to fill the gaps.

You always start with a good grass hay. Fine stem immature hay is the easiest for him to digest. Beyond that what feeds and forage is available to you?

smrobs 04-13-2011 10:59 PM

First and foremost, welcome to the forum!!! :D

Another vote here for all the good grass hay he can eat, it probably wouldn't hurt to supplement it with some kind of good quality complete feed or even alfalfa pellets for a bit of added protein. A mineral block is always a good thing to have as well.

He looks like an absolute darling and I love his little heart :D.

Magaidh 04-14-2011 08:20 AM

Thanks everyone for the advice. So far I've been giving him free choice grass hay, as well as a flake of second cut alfalfa once a day (that we feed our sheep). I've also been giving him a cup of soaked alfalfa cubes twice a day -- I forgot to mention that this was also part of his feed at his previous home. He was dewormed the week before I picked him up according to his previous owner.

He is getting free-choice salt and Equine Merit horse mineral supplement.

In two weeks or so, we will move our five horses to their summer pasture, and they will be there until November.

His sire is 17.1 and his dam is 17 hands. Do you guys think he's on track for this height? This is the first baby of this breeding and potential size that I've raised.

SAsamone 04-14-2011 09:12 AM

Just wanted to caution you- I have a rescue that was "dewormed" when we got him, and I am now battling a very bad case of them. It probably wouldn't hurt to do it again just to make sure, if he is that skinny. I think what you are doing is great- just watch out for laminitis :) Good Luck!!

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