Okay, so since it has been determined that my gelding has no ulcers, should I change his feed back to a regular grain-based feed?
At our barn, we feed SafeChoice, so that is what I would readily have access to (along with other Nutrena and Purina products). I still want to continue with his hay pellets, so it would only be a matter of really which feed he gets more benefit from for the amount of money I would be spending....the reason I am concerned about price point is he will be moving to pasture board shortly and for the most part it is self care.
Currently I spend 50 dollars on a two month supply of Nutrena Empower Balance. He gets 1 pound of this a day in addition to the 5 pounds of timothy hay pellets and now 6 lbs of alfalfa cubes (its been hot and they haven't been eating the cubes, so the BO just cut back on them for everyone). The pellets, for a 4 weeks supply, cost $50 dollars so all together I spend $75 a month on feed....if I add in the alfalfa cubes I will have to buy, I will be spending a total of $125 dollars per month. If I were to move him to SafeChoice (assuming he gets 5 lbs a day), I would be spending about $140 dollars on feed, total per month.
The only real significant difference between these two feeds are their protein content....The RB has 30% fat, and SafeChoice has only 14%. SafeChoice is lower in all of the vitamins and minerals when compared to the ration balancer, but it is higher in fat (7% compared to 5%) and it is also higher in fiber (15% compared to 8%).
I could also raise his ration of the ration balancer (the max is 2 lbs per day), which means I would be spending at maximum around $175 dollars on feed per month (the third bag would always carry over though).
Any way it happens, he is still going to be on a fat supplement because the way I see it, both feeds are meant for relatively easy keepers and are lacking in the fat department.
I am open to other feed suggestions as well, given that they are cost effective for what they provide.
Feeding 1# RB provides .3# protein while 5# of SC provides .7#. While the SC is lower in vit/min values, you're feeding it at a higher rate so you will be probably providing more of everything. It's also a forage based feed so there's some duplication with feeding both the pellets. You might find very quickly that they can be reduced and he will maintain the same weight. The SC should have a slightly higher caloric count than both pellets as well since it has added fat. It's hard to know until you get him out on grass 24/7 but he might do just fine with the SC and grass pellets for now.
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