Too much feed in one meal? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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Too much feed in one meal?

The diet I have chosen to help Tink put on a little weight is recommended to be fed at 8 lbs a day for her ideal weight and light work level.
I can only really guarantee 2 feedings per day - is 4 lbs of food too much per feeding??
I have been increasing her slowly since introducing it 3 weeks ago (as she wasn't on fortified feed regularly before then) but I am still only at about 1/3 of that recommended amount.
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 04:46 AM
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The biggest question is, what is the feed? If it is hay pellets, or some combo of roughage such as beet pulp, alfalfa, soybean hulls in a pellet, then you are essentially feeding a roughage that can be fed free choice once the horse gets used to it. They digest it similarly to hay.

However, if what you are feeding is corn, oats and barley (or similar grain), then the common advice is no more than 5 lbs per feeding. However, giving 8 lbs per day of actual grain is asking for trouble in the form of ulcers, laminitis, etc.

8 lbs of any concentrated feed is quite a lot. If a bag recommends feeding this amount, that doesn't mean you necessarily should. Is the horse young or old, a hard keeper or easy keeper? Adding 8 lbs of concentrated feed for a horse in light work sounds quite excessive. Also you are saying "a little" weight. For most horses, adding 8 lbs of concentrate will add quite a lot of weight, unless you're talking about a large TB in hard work.

For any horse, the healthiest way to add "a little" weight is to add roughage in the form of additional hay, higher protein/calorie hay, several pounds of hay pellets or 1-2 lbs of beet pulp. If the horse is already getting more roughage than they will eat and is still thin, then adding fats are a good choice such as 1/2 to 1 lb of rice bran, 1/2 to one cup of flaxseed oil, etc.

If what you are feeding is a complete feed or senior, I'd expect adding several pounds would be enough to put a little weight on a horse and would wait at least several more weeks before increasing to 8 lbs. Otherwise you might add an unhealthy amount of weight. If this is a young or growing horse, it is best to err on the side of slightly thinner/normal versus too heavy for good bone and joint development.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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@gottatrot
She just turned 4 last month. Started looking a little "ribby" after the winter and fighting off a parasite burden. Was hoping to get 100-150 lbs on her but not panicked.
People here suggested low NSC diets so I started doing some research and contacted kentucky equine research to ask for guidance.
She is on Brooks Performance Feeds - Fibre O.
When I say light work, I mean groundwork several times a week and trail rides 1-2 x weekly.

I reached for the beet pulp first but found out it is very unbalanced in it's calcium/phosphorus ratio so I thought I likely needed to support it with a more complete feed.

I was super concerned with her hind gut digesting this new food easily without killing off too many good microbials; which is why I have introduced it so slowly. I also did make sure she was getting a reduced NSC diet as the stories about laminitis and other health issues were a concern.

I just couldn't believe how much of this food it recommended for her size and am a little worried about feeding that in one or two sittings.
Perhaps I should give her mineral vitamin supplement at recommended dosage, increase her beet pulp and just continue to top dress with the Fibre O.

Thank you for your suggestions about the healthiest way to get weight on a horse!! I am certainly considering what is best for her at this point.

Last edited by DebRVT; 05-11-2017 at 05:23 AM. Reason: Spelling
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the info about Fibre O if you're interested. It sounded great considering everything I read except the feeding amount
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 07:29 AM
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This is not a brand I have ever heard of before but read the bag and description blurb...
I don't see a true ingredients list, just what the company makes claims of being in the recipe...
This "Fibre O is formulated with carefully selected ingredients to ensure maximum palatability and consistency" makes me slightly nervous...


So..
Just turning 4 last month to me is still a baby...
Baby means growth spurts happen....
Some ribbiness is common as horses hit those growth spurts.
A horse doesn't have to sprout taller to have growth spurts either...they mature in many ways.
A parasite load that has been addressed and taken care of....
Did you add probiotics and prebiotics to the diet to help stabilize the gut after addressing the parasite load?

As this is a "performance feed"...it is packed with energy/calories according to the bag.
Fed along with plentiful clean grass and hay your horse should be gaining pounds quickly...be careful you not put to much on to fast a young maturing horses body, that too is very unhealthy!
I would prefer to see some ribs than a fat horse myself...
You should see some rib... there is a happy medium of good weight and not obese...

In answer to your question though...
Maximum of 5 pounds per feeding is what is suggested by all quality feed manufacturers...
Best if less amount and more feedings can be done to reduce risk of "grain overload" or a "feed overload" of the gut and digestion.
So, 4 pounds per feeding is fine if this amount is truly warranted for the animal, the amount of work the animal is doing and the careful watching for packing on to much weight.
You may need to adjust that amount again when the weight starts to pack on...keep astute to the needs of the horse.
....
jmo...

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post #6 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 08:23 AM
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Agree with @Horseluv inguy that I'd prefer a little less shiftiness from the feed company. Why add NSC to the label but then don't give a percentage but just say "reduced?" Reduced from what? 65%?
My guess is that this is not a bad feed, but I don't like the dishonesty. It says grain free, so you would hope that means low NSC and quality ingredients. But there are known cheap fillers that feed companies use, that are grain free but not great nutrition.
Rice bran has a NSC level of 25% on it's own, so if the feed has a lot of rice bran added the NSC won't necessarily be very low, just low "in comparison" to other feeds with grain. So you might say, "reduced."

All of that is fine if you are feeding two or three pounds to add calories. The horse won't be affected much. Same with beet pulp. Sure, the Calcium/Phos ratio is not good in large amounts, but if you're only feeding 3 pounds or less it's not enough to affect the horse's diet. If you feed more than that, you want to add some calcium. I think it's ideal if you need to put weight on a horse to feed alfalfa with beet pulp, because the alfalfa has extra calcium.

It is my opinion that every horse will benefit from a multivitamin. Most diets of just hay or pasture have some deficiencies if you have them analyzed and plug them into a feed calculator such as FeedXL.

Is your horse getting free choice hay? Is the hay high quality? Start there, of course, and also make sure the basics of teeth and parasites (you seem to have already addressed this) are taken care of. I had some friends that wanted to save money so bought cheap, low calorie hay and ended up paying much more for hard feed trying to keep weight on their horses. Many horses, even young and growing ones don't even need extra feed if they have free choice hay. My first thought is to add alfalfa if just grass hay is inadequate, and then some beet pulp, and then some fats, and then finally turn to complete feed if all those don't put the weight on.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 10:12 AM
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While not always the case, I sometimes think that feed companies recommended amount is usually more than necessary. Your horse eats more grain, you buy more product. 8 pounds a day on a 50 pound bag - you're going through more than a bag a week. I think that is a lot of grain to feed - I would usually lean towards adding more hay, alfalfa, or beet pulp to their regular diet before adding more grain.

[ The only exception I usually grant is for senior feeds where the recommendation is meant for a horse that requires a complete feed due to being unable to eat enough hay or roughage. ]

Also, I'm not sure what pasture is like in your area, but now that we have our spring grass in Ohio, I've reduced my horse's grain amount as we have been doing our annual grass build-up. If she's going to be on good pasture, she might plump up on her own too. You could factor that into consideration as well.
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 10:55 AM
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The Rule of thumb is to NEVER feed over 5 lb. in one feeding. I have a hard keeper that I have to feed three times a day.
she gets three and a half Quarts each feeding. Doesn't have any problems, healthiest she's been in her life.

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post #9 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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I did contact the company about the NSC and was told it was 17.6 %.
Most of you have probably never heard of them because they exist only in Canada.
This was the company recommended to me by the Kentucky Equine Research Centre.
I never really thought about the ingredients list - just was told high fat and no grain diet.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions about other ways to put weight on!!
I am going to think about this some more and I promise I am watching her closely.
I will ensure to book her physical with the vet soon to make sure her teeth are not a problem.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-11-2017, 01:10 PM
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"Perhaps I should give her mineral vitamin supplement at recommended dosage, increase her beet pulp and just continue to top dress with the Fibre O."

That's what I would do. 8lbs for light work makes me wonder at the quality of the feed. The recommended amount is based off "how much do you need to get the appropriate nutritional value from the feed" nothing to do with weight. So supplementing vitamins/minerals you can feed the Fibre O solely according to weight and forget about the recommended amount.. You will likely need much less. If she's already getting beet pulp definitely increase it, she may not even need this feed.

Is this the feed: http://www.brooksfeeds.com/pdf/produ...02016%20UD.pdf
I know it says "Plus" but I didn't see a regular one.

That has TWELVE.5% fat. Gonna be honest that I've worked with some hard keepers in hard work and even they would be fat on 8lbs of that feed!!!! 8 is on the higher level of the recommended amount, definitely start with the minimum (6). They also don't provide an ingredient list which is sketchy again makes me wonder at the quality. Even 6 is likely overkill and again that amount means pretty much nothing.

So yes, get her a supplement and up her beet pulp then IF still needed add the grain as a weight supplement.

But while the grain is pretty sketchy there isn't anything BAD sounding and I recognize some of their other products (why it was recommended to you lol!). But it sounds like waayyyy overkill for your situation. So I would back off and reevaluate before proceeding forward.

And the black and white question- 4 lbs is pushing it but acceptable per feeding, but where you already have forage alternatives (beet pulp) would supplement more with that and less with hard feed. Give her say 2 lbs Fibre O and 2 lbs beet pulp for ex.
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