Confused on Horse feed!
I recently got a horse. She is being fed some kind of pellets/grain where i board her. I'm going to start buying her food but don't know what's best. She looks good and has nice hard feet even though the qualitly of feed she is getting is not the "best" i don't know if I should fix what a'int broke lol.
But I worry about colic and founder if I change food. Do horses need grain? From what I'm reading all the molases/sugar and corn is not really necessary. Help I'm lost.
hey, it all depends on what you want to do with her. If she is at a good energy level and weight etc. then I would keep her on the same feed, or something comparable. One of the best ways to improve a horses condition is to supplement their grain. What I find works the best is milled flax seed (for coat condition) just half a cup a day, or a handful of black sunflower seeds...these are amazing and cheap too, they make them super shiny and harden the feet too. What ever you decide to do if you change anything just do it slowly over a couple of weeks and she will adjust fine :) hope that helped!
Sweet feed is kind of like fruit loops where the pellets are more like Cherrios.... You don't really need the "sugar" to get the healthy stuff, you know?
Many people do not feed any type of grain but you need to know that you have plenty of nutrition going into your horse before you do that. I personally feed pellets twice a day. I am currently feeding a 10 % protein and fat pellet to my younger guys. I give my older guy the senior feed. I also feed hay and turn out on pasture...
If your horse is healthy and happy on what you are using I'd probably stay with it...
Great info thanks!
Look at your nutrition labels and compare with other feeds. If you want a feed that has more additives for coat condition, hooves, etc then there are other feeds out there with very similar nutrition values but have certain things added to better help maintain for different thing. If that makes any sense. We mix our grains which I don't really advise people today unless they are willing to figure out all nutritional value percentages and ratios. Because its difficult to mis your own grains and give the horse what it needs. All five of my guys have very different formulas for their grain because I have had to figure up the different nutritional values for each horse up differently.
If you do decide to switch feed you can do it gradually. 3 parts old food 1 part new food, etc until its all new feed. This way it is gradual and allows your horse time to adjust to the new feed.
Start with what/how horses have evolved to eat & go from there; They are 'trickle feeders' who's digestion is designed for near constant, tiny amounts of low grade(compared to cattle fattening pasture) roughage. High fibre, low starch/sugar. So grass/hay is about the best staple.
If they need more energy/nutrition, it should be fed little & often & is best being low starch/NSC. Cereal grains are high starch, some more than others, and while it may be necessary & suitable for a horse that requires extra energy, generally these days there are better, safer alternatives, such as beet pulp, for eg.
Nutrition-wise, horses have evolved to roam large territories, browsing a variety of plants as well as grazing, from different soil types. So our domestic horses, stuck in a small paddock, grazing a limited amount of grass species aren't likely to have well balanced nutrition. Therefore a good quality complete supplement/ration balancer(in this I think you tend to get what you pay for & the most expensive may actually be more economical, as you feed way less, as well as being best)
safergrass.org and feedXL.com are great sources of info/help on diet and nutrition. hoofrehab.com also has a fair few articles/links on diet too, as it relates to hoof health.
Here is a site that is full of good information
Horse Nutrition Explained
I agree, NO SWEET FEED!
Patriot is a nice feed. Its a pellet (Performance feed), 12% protein and 6% fat. Gradually take her off the feed shes on by mixing the current feed with the Patriot half/half for 2-3 days. We have all our horses on Patriot 12% and they all have responded well. Check their website out! Called Patriot Performance Feed.
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