I am trying to find a good all around healthy feed for my horses. They are on grass or bermuda mix hay but i would like to supplement a grain. What is the best grain to feed? I know alot of my neighbors just feed 12% sweet feed to their horses, i've also been told to just feed rolled oats only and that will be enough. I have a draft cross and i'm finding it harder to keep his weight up. The person i got him from was feeding him a creat (not sure if thats the right spelling) feed. Which i believe is most commonly fed to cows.
Well, sweet feed is crud. I know some people use it as a top dress, but you have to feed a lot to get the proper nutrition, but its offset by the amount of sugar they get. Oats, if I remember correctly, really don't have any overall nutritional value to them, but I could be wrong....
Where are you located? What does their workload look like? How much hay are they getting per day (pounds, if you can weigh it)?
I personally have my TB on 8 lbs of alfalfa, 5 lbs of timothy, day and night grass turnout, and he get 1lb of ration balancer for his vitamin/mineral needs. Because his diet is low fat, he also gets a high fat supplement.
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Feeding a horse can turn into nothing but confusion. Keep in mind, it's a sales game as well. Oats are a good fairly safe feed because of the extra fiber from the hulls. They don't need to be steamed, rolled or crimped. I buy farm oats, much cheaper. A few weed seeds are good for the horses, very high in protein.
I was raised with, and currently own Belgian Draft Horses. I'll use my yearling as an example since his is the easiest to put on here. The others are fed according to their work load, increasing or decreasing their fat/protein intake. As a rule, we feed low starch and high fat/protein.
Sam (yearling stud colt)
2 quarts grain in the am/pm
- 1 quart oats
- 1/2 quart bran
- 1/2 quart corn
He also gets free choise of a second crop timothy hay round bale when turned out. When I did the math, I figured that he eats about 3 flakes of hay off the round bale a day (a 4'x4' round bale contains about 30 square bales, the round bale lasts a month with two horses turned out, so thats 1 square bale a day in total and 1/2 a square bale per horse with 6 flakes of hay in each square bale = 3 flakes per horse/day) At night with his grain he gets 3 flakes of second crop timothy hay, each flake weighing about 5 pounds, and then when I finish chores up at about 7 or 8 pm, he gets another 3 flakes for the night. So he gets about 45 pounds of hay a day. His amount of feed/roughage is adjusted to suit his growing needs and to keep him in a healthy weight/condition. He's probably get less timothy hay if we had alfalfa, but we don't feed it.
I also said overall nutrition-- per 100g, it only has about 11g of fiber and actually a surprising 17.6g of protien. However, as a sole basis of nutrition (which hard feeds act as, when they are properly fed) it is not a good source of everything a horse needs.
Oh and people eat oatmeal because the fiber makes you fuller for longer, although in the past, people called it "sticking to your ribs". They also eat it with other things like fruit, or maybe some eggs and bacon. You're not supposed to eat it as your only breakfast food or you'll be dying by noon.
Oats are a great source of calcium. They also contain a whack of dietary fibre. They also contain pyro chemicals that boost immunity and fight cancer cells. They do have sugars from carbs but they are released slowly so they keep blood glucose levels in check.
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