The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know bran used to be pretty popular and people are always making their horses hot bran mashes. I've read a few articles saying the calcium/phospurus ratio was lopsided and that it should be given sparingly-never. Is this true? And are rice bran,wheat bran, and oat bran any better or worse than each other?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,138 Posts
Wheat bran is the worst for Ca:p ratio. I never feed it. I don't know about oat bran, never had any experience with it. You can buy Rice Bran that is fortified with extra calcium, to balance Ca:p ratio. I believe Equi-Jewel's rice bran is fortified. I have fed rice bran in the past, but as a fat supplement for horses that needed more weight or more calories in their diet.

When I want to make a "treat" for my horses, I mix hot water with alfalfa pellets, cut up carrots, and a handful of peppermints or some crumbled up old granola bars. I use just enough water to make a thick "stew", not too soupy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
I feed him Natural Glo Rice Bran Powder which is "stabalized" already. I think the nuggets have extra sugar/stuff added to it but the powder is really nice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,184 Posts
Rice bran is good, wheat bran is not.

What ever you do, make sure your feeding regime is normalized from day-to-day. A hot bran mash once a week can do a lot more harm than good because the horse is not used to it and the extra whatever can upset the horse's digestive system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,060 Posts
I've actually heard a little differently- that rice bran is highest in phosphorous, and wheat bran is slightly lower. I actually feed both (but not in the same day). But sometimes I will give my horses about a cup of rice bran, and other days I will make them a wet mash with some wheat bran (doesn't even need to be hot, cold water works well too).

Wheat bran makes good mashes, and rice bran is more of a fat supplement with very little fiber to it. I don't think the term "stabilized" has anything to do with the calcium to phosphorous ratio (I don't think anyway). I think stabilized means they did something to it so it doesn't go rancid, because apparently with the high fat content of rice bran it can go rancid.

I actually started feeding brans to ADD phosphorous to my horse's diet, because I feed straight alfalfa hay. I was aware there was an imbalance with the alfalfa, but I really didn't take it seriously until I found out my mare was in foal, and when I asked my vet about her diet, he said to give her a couple pounds of grain a day to give her some phosphorous since I was feeding straight alfalfa and it is too high in calcium. So I guess I have the opposite problem than people who have pasture or grass hay as the main diet.

So I do give her a few pounds of grain, but also a small amount of bran a day, like a cup or so. And my other horses hardly get any grain at all, so I give them a little bran (of either variety) each day too.

Does this sound sort of okay? I hope so. Broodmare nutrition (and horse nutrition in general) can really make me neurotic about what I feed. I think the feed store people roll their eyes when I come walking in, because they know I will take about 1/2 hour to figure out what I am going to buy there! :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,184 Posts
Why? (not disagreeing with you, I just wonder why that would be?)
Horses don't digest things the same way we do. They digest carbs and sugars in one place and all the fat and fiber is essentially fermented in a larger "hindgut". Rice bran is digested in the hindgut, meaning that it adds fat and nutrients without going into the first gut. Wheat bran is digested in the first gut which requires more energy from the horse and can cause blood sugar spikes, much like when you eat something sugary.
It is also for this reason that (if I were you) I would start mixing in grass hay with my alfalfa and feeding simply a nutritional supplement to support the extra needs of a pregnant/nursing mare. Straight alfalfa has a high sugar content which can end up stressing the horse's front gut and lead to Insulin Resistance (diabetes) and Cushing's Syndrome in later years.
Horses are designed to eat fairly low nutritional value food for most of their day, and have a very consistent day to day eating routine. Switching up feeds without a very gradual change can have a detrimental effect on their health as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,060 Posts
I always heard that grass hay was much higher in sugar than alfalfa. Maybe not bermuda grass, but pretty much all other grasses. Alfalfa is high in protein and calcium, but I don't believe it is high in sugar.

I don't know about all the hindgut vs. front gut stuff, so I'll take your word on it.

I do agree that I should be feeding grass hay along with the alfalfa in an ideal world. Grass hay is super expensive out here (Arizona). About the best I can do is bermuda, which my vet doesn't think much of nutritionally. Sometimes someone gets in some two wire bales of grass from Colorado, but that is $11 for 60 lbs. :shock: So for now I am feeding alfalfa which is around $10 for 110 lbs.

I don't think switching up a cups' worth of bran here and there will hurt them. I don't even know if a cups worth of bran does much for them nutritionally, but everywhere on the internet you hear about how bran has too much phosphorous, so I am afraid to feed more than that. Although there was an article on an endurance site somewhere that says not to feed more than a couple pounds of rice bran without also supplementing calcium. But I am not feeding anywhere near that amount. I am trying to boost the phosphorous without tipping the scales the other direction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
Feeding rice bran with alfalfa is a good plan. Wheat is one of those grains that isn't digested well and isn't good for horses.

The best hay for horse is Timothy. It's nutritionally balanced and low in starch.

A good site on hays and sugars: Safer Grass - A Resource for Equine Forage Nutrition
Timothy isn't realistic in Arizona. As trailhorserider said, we can get Bermuda or Bermuda/alfalfa mix.

I thought rice bran was more to add fat for hard keepers, and wheat bran was better nutritionally if used to balance out a heavy alfalfa diet.

I have an older thoroughbred showing up on Monday who needs to put on some weight, so I was figuring on using beet pulp mixed with his senior feed, and some wheat bran thrown in to balance his alfalfa (he's already on the alfalfa and senior, any changes in his diet I intend to build up to slowly).

Has anyone had any experience with daily bran added (either rice or wheat), and has anyone had bad experiences with the wheat in particular?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,060 Posts
I've been doing daily small amounts of rice bran, although I just bought some wheat bran too. But I am afraid to feed more than about 1 cup per day, because I have no idea how much is too much, but I am pretty sure I am safe at such a low amount. Plus I am feeding alfalfa, so I know they are getting lots of calcium. :-|

But my guys have wonderful coats with the rice bran.

I have never had bad experiences with wheat, just a lot of folks telling me it's bad. So I don't know. I know you would not want to feed lots of any kind of bran without also making sure they are getting adequate calcium. But beyond that, I don't know much.

PS. I identified you as an Arizona horse owner on your other post just based on what you said you were feeding, lol! I don't think I have ever even seen Timothy. I wouldn't be able to identify it! :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,918 Posts
Both of our horses get about a cup of rice bran daily. The 26yr old, is a very hard keeper and gets rice bran, senior feed, all the grass hay she'll eat and 2 flakes of alfalfa.

The 8yr old gets rice bran, a small amount of senior feed and grass hay. The vet told us the senior feed for a nutritionally balanced way to pack weight on her (she was getting way more, we've cut back since she's a great weight now, came to us 100+lbs underweight) and rice bran because she had no winter coat and we were already getting snow. She grew in a very thick winter coat pretty quickly between the rice bran, senior feed, unlimited hay and blanketing her when the temp dropped.

We're keeping her on rice bran and a small amount of senior feed, her summer coat is growing in beautifully, it's not sparse and dull like when we got her. She's not eating much hay right now though, we've got tons of grass growing in the pastures and we're rotating both horses around them.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top