Discuss Is this diet adequate? at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums. Hello All, I have been a long time reader of this forum (and other places ...
Is this diet adequate?
Hello All, I have been a long time reader of this forum (and other places around google to find out as much about horse nutrition as possible) and would like to know your take on my horse's behavior.
I have two horses,
Freckles (23, Pony Of America, Long since healed fractured Hip, around 700 pounds, body condition 5). Freckles will eat anything under the sun and so she is not my main concern (although she has been getting pickier as of late)
Chance (25, Arabian, 950 pounds, body scoring between 4-5...I can't really tell. He has been abandoned without feed two times in his life, when I got him he had extensive parasites in his gut that have now been wormed out. It was gross. And he was around a 3 on the condition scale when I got him).
Both are recently floated, vaccinated, and dewormed.
I used to board both of my horses and now they live with me! They have, however, expereinced a big decline in the amount of hay they are eating and were both losing weight. Or perhaps they were always not finishing everything and I never noticed.
I am worried if they are getting enough roughage intake and what people think of the current diet I have them on. These grain amounts where upped in the last month and since then they have gained more weight and made me feel better. We live in Arizona where it is finally getting cooler outside!
AM- 2.2 Lbs Senior Feed;
2.2 Lbs Alfalfa/Bermuda Grass Pellets
AM- 1.1 Lbs Senior Feed;
1.1 Lbs Alfalfa/Bermuda Grass Pellets
They are turned out on a pasture that is 1/5th an acre all day. The pasture is completely bermuda grass and is irrigated. They do not overgraze it (even though they are on it all day); but it is quite short. They get free choice bermuda hay during the day (but they usually do not touch it) and at night they each consume around 5 lbs bermuda hay when they are locked in their stalls. (They eat tons of hay when they are in their stalls, but I bought this house and land to see them playing outside everyday)!
I have a couple areas of my yard not included in the pasture with long grass that Freckles will chomp on for an hour every day and Chance usually turns his nose up at it after a few bites.
Thoughts? Have I just spoiled them to the point that they are overly picky now? Sorry for the long post, and thanks for reading!
Oh, and the hay is great quality too. I actually threw out my first batch (which I now know was actually good) because I thought the hay was the problem. It isn't, its just my wierd horses... I used to put more than 10 pounds of hay out a night for each of them but they started peeing and makin a mess for me out of it. Hay is expensive!
I didn't see it but what brand of feed? That can play a HUGE role...
The senior equine is Southwest Choice Premium Senior Horse by Cargill. It is the most popular brand sold in feed stores around here. (Scottsdale/Phx AZ)
I tried finding their nutiritonal info online but I couldn't, so here is what I got off of their feed label:
Wheat Middling, Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Soybean Hulls (Not more than 10%), Cane Molasses, Rice Bran, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Soybean Oil, Maize Distiller, Dried Grains with Solubles, Beet Pulp, Dried Brewers Rice, Calcium Carbonate, Salt... (it has a lot more listed, I can post them all if needed..a lot are mineral compounds, and there is whole flax seed, corn oil, and folic acid waay down on the list).
Crude Protein: Min 14%
Lysine: Min .68%
Methionine: Min .25%
Crude Fat: Min 5%
Crude Fiber: Max 16%
Calcium: Min .7% Max 1%
Phosphorus: Min .7%
Sodium: Max .4%
It has some more parts to the guaranteed analysis, but those are very small. Let me know if you need those.
I wish I had one of the proverbial "Eats like a horse" kind of horse....
you are underfeeding that feed I would bet it has a 6lb minimum on it
Decided to google this.... Seems like they're a big company that manufactures alot of different feeds.... With Nutrena being one of them....
Seems VERY close to Nutrena's feed...
Guaranteed Analysis (min. amounts except where noted)
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
I agree that you're most likely underfeeding that feed. 6-8 lb minimums are the norm for senior/complete feeds. If you eliminated the hay pellets and replaced it pound for pound with the senior feed, it would boost their nutritional intake significantly.
As far as the decline in hay intake, when were their teeth last floated? What shape were they in? Have you seen any small wads/balls of hay or grass that fall out of their mouth after they chew a bit? Have you noticed any odd behaviors while eating (any feedstuff) such as tilting the head, flipping their nose about, anything at all?
Thanks for responding!
I will up Chance's senior feed to the reccommended amounts. I thought that the grass pellets were good to have. I was going by the old saying, "everything in moderation." If I feed him 6 pounds senior and 2 pounds pellets that will equal what he has now. I will start the transition tonight.
For Freckles, she really does not need that much senior feed (yet). I started giving her some because she was not maintaining her weight on normal hay and she got so sad when Chance got a nice pile of yummy stuff and she didn't. Is it alright to continue giving just a tiny amount like I have been if she is at a good weight or is it necessary to feed around 6 lbs per day?
Right now Freckles gets 2.2 lbs senior a day and 2.2 Grass pellets a day. I can maybe make it 3 pounds senior and 1 pound grass?
As for the hay eating-- Both horses were floated 2 months ago. I was not home at the time they were done, but the Vet said they were "looked good." The bill ran me around 500 dollars and they needed extensive work done- despite being done yearly.
Chance wastes a LOT of hay. Which is why I am looking more at the senior feed. Even when I provide lots of good quality, they only eat around 5 lbs each and throw around and make me cry with the rest.
As for dropping it out of his mouth, he takes a bite and not a lot of it stays in. What makes it into his mouth and is being actively chewed does not get spit out. Freckles is much better about eating her food.
I have noticed that when Chance eats his grain (or anything) he eats verrry slowly.
My vet never told me anything about the grain minimum on the senior. I am glad I am asking, thank you!
At 700 lbs, if you gave Freckles 4.5 lbs of senior a day (no hay pellets), that would likely be plenty for her size. I wasn't thinking of that when I mentioned the typical 6 lbs minimum.
If they needed extensive dental work, then they didn't 'look good'. They might look good now compared to how they did before. But barring poor dental work in previous years, this does give a good indication that their overall dental health is going down. It is good that you have them on a senior/complete feed. Is this a pelleted or textured senior feed? If it's pelleted, at some point long stem forage will become a concern as their hay/pasture intake dwindles.
Do you soak their feed? If not, now's the time to start. Not only will it help them to eat it more effeciently, but it will also lessen their risks of choke.
Given their dental problems this time around combined with their ages, now's the time to transfer them over to dental checks every six months. You might find that they don't need to actually be floated twice a year, but you'll have eyes on them so that you will know if they do and can fix potential problems before they turn into big problems.
As far as Chance, I would personally put him on 8 lbs of senior, no hay pellets. But you can try it the other way and see how he does as well. When forage intake is compromised (I believe you did say that he was the worst as far as that goes), you really want to be actively supplementing not only the forage that they're missing but also the nutrition. Without knowing the specific label directions and language for this feed, it's impossible for me to say roughly where the lines should be drawn. For instance, that 6 lb minimum I mentioned above is the typical minimum for horses on diets with adequate (for example 2% of their body weight or more traditional forages a day) forage. When you get on restricted forage diets (either because of lack of providing or inability to intake) that minimum goes up. Then you have the extreme where the senior feed is the only source of feed/forage where your feeding levels get up around 15 lbs a day. That should be reserved for absolute 'must' situations based on medical/health needs. And usually even then there are ways around having the senior be the only source (such as beet pulp or hay cubes ideally, or pelleted sources if health prevents long stem sources).
Okays, I will up both their amount then.
With that amount, if they get roughly 5 lbs each in hay and pasture (all day, they keep it short but never overgraze it. The pasture is 1/5th an acre), will they get enough roughage?
I looked over the link xlilxonex provided (thanks for searching for it!): http://www.nutrenaworld.com/Screens/...gn_Senior.aspx
and it seems to be extremely close to this formula. Are you familiar with the Nutrena formula at all?
The pellets are extruded (textured). It is too late to soak for tonights feeding, but I will start...gotta buy water tight buckets as well!
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