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What to feed a 17hh Thoroughbred who refuses to eat his feed?
He has free choice this years first cut grass hay and free choice this years second cut alfalfa mix. He eats about the equivalent to 1/2 bale a day. He is thin, I would like to see 75 pounds or so on him maybe more.
He will not eat feed (We've tried senior feed, pelleted feed and my "no no" sweet feed, strait oats, flax, rice bran, beet pulp and alfalfa cubes) the only thing he'll eat is a pile of carrots from the garden!!! Since he wont take feed he can't eat the sunflower seeds, oil or weight builder I'd like to try nor any herbs that would help create more of a appetite.
His teeth have been checked. Ideas?
have you tried feeding the grain to him wet down? sometimes horses prefer it a little mushy!
Have you considered ulcers? When my tb has an ulcer flare up she doesn't want to eat her grain.
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I have not looked into ulcers. I have to date never had a horse with ulcers and never even thought about this. I will certainly look into it. What do you do for her?
ETA: stay away from sugary and starchy feeds, corn and oats can really aggravate ulcers. Did your TB race? I've read that 90% of Tb's that raced have or have had ulcers.My Tb also dropped weight when she started showing the ulcers symptoms, she started acting up around sept/oct and I didn't realize her stomach was bothering her until feb
A friend of mine has a horse that is the pickiest eater I have EVER met.. She's on the forum but I doubt she's seen this thread. I'll send her your way. lol she has lots and lots of tricks.. it's Sierrams1123
I think ulcers are a great place to start.
Then get creative.
You simply have to be more stubborn than he is.
You say he likes carrots. Slice up carrots and make a mix of whatever feed he liked best that is heavy on the carrots light on the feed. Wetting the feed so it becomes a mush will make it harder for him to eat just the carrots.
Sure, he will turn his nose up at first but guessing if you keep at it (sprinkle some not contaminated carrots on top) he is likely to give in.
Any chance of finding out what he was willing to eat at his last home?
Rachel - I will look into this. He loves his tummy rubbed and doesn't get grumpy about food, just wiggles his nose in the dish then walks off. But he is picky, doesn't eat enough hay, drinks a ton of water though.
Alwaysbehind- I think, in part, I own him because of his eating. He was a lesson horse at a hunter/jumper stable. They said he was a picky eater and would only eat sweet feed. I plan to switch him to what we feed whether he likes it or not because junk food isn't going to help anyone. ;) He hasn't shown interest in sweet feed either at this point. I know this is a big transition for him moving from a stall with a fan in it and daily lessons to a three acre pasture with buddies and a run-in. I think his hay eating is starting to pick up. I hoped a "normal" life and the competition of the other kids always eating would help him eat more. The half a bale his might manage to eat doesn't fill this horses left hoof! That or my Thoroughbreds are just piglets. I have been frequently going threw a 600 pound round bale every 3 days for the stallion & his two mares along with about 5 times the amount of grain I can get this gelding to choke down.
That change might seem like a better life to you, to him it is probably very stressful. That might be adding to his desire to not eat (and the ulcer risk factor).
I am aware of that, that is why I said it :)
He has already decided he likes it outside better than in a stall here though. This is a huge change for him and we've tried to slowly switch him over, like I said I was hoping the others always on the round bale would get him to eat more as well. His former home I noticed his stall had hay and grain and the others did not, indicating he didn't eat there either. He has started eating more than when he arived but I do not know what his "normal" is. He may just be eating more his normal now which is still not enough.
The funny thing is he really doesn't seem interested in grazing, he likes the round bale but doesn't do anything when at pasture. I have yet to meet a non gazing horse, which has lead me to think he isn't "just picky".
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