Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...'Light' Reading On Feeding

That's my life story ^^^^^ LOL

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

The following link is from Moorman's feeds. They are also associated with Alliance Equine. At the bottom of the page is multiple links to other articles. The information is fairly comprehensive, including hay evaluations, grain evaluations, vitamins/minerals and the inclusion of fat and yeast...
The Equine Digestive System

I thought this was a really good article about what exactly rice bran is and does...
Rice Bran
One thing to note is that Rice Bran and Flax are high in Phosphorous. If you plan on feeding them in a serious quantity, you need to make sure that you are balancing the Calcium.

I thought this was a neat article, particularly when the information was combined with some of the things I picked up from reading the previous articles...
Equine Feeding Myths

I was looking for info on Flax...There seems to be some debate as to whether flax oil is as good as flax seed and accidentally stumbled onto this company's website. It looks like they have high quality supplements and a nice selection of flax-based supplements. They have a simple stabilized ground flax called Nutra-Flax as well as another flax and yeast supplement called Radiance-High Energy Concentrate that I am thinking about ordering.

Here's the thing...I really prefer to keep my horses on as natural to them diet as possible. I don't really mind mixing individual feeds-beet pulp, oats and additional supplements as necessary. Like people, I think horses benefit from 'whole foods' as it is much easier for the body to digest (if your picking the appropriate feed). However, finding and being able to keep everything on hand, while being cost effective is daunting and getting more and more difficult.

I have long considered moving over to a pre-mixed complete feed. There are a ton on the market these days for pretty much any type of feeding program you can imagine. The one thing that keeps me from having already doing this is the fact that most of these feeds main ingredients are listed as 'by-products'. We are trusting a lot to these feed companies, when we allow them to simply list 'Grain By-Products' on a label as a primary ingredient.

Realistically speaking, I realize there are numerous by-products from the milling process that are very nutritious...oat hulls, soybean hulls, wheat middlings, rice bran, etc...So when a feed is made by a highly recognizable nationally known company, like Purina, Nutrena or Moorman's/Alliance and a few others, it's pretty safe to assume that they are going to be using high quality by-products. I just wished they would spell it out a little bit better on their labeling.

Also, I don't know about you guys, but the average cost of the High-Performance type of feeds that I need for my horses (when I'm using them) is a little over $20/50lb. If I'm feeding a horse even the mid-range required ration, I'm looking at $150/per horse/per month.

I'm going to have to do some cost analysis to figure out if I even come close to that when feeding individual grains and supplements.

Something that needs to be remembered about those pre-packaged complete feeds though...Unless you are feeding at least the minimum required ration, your horse is not going to get the complete nutrition/benefit of the feed.

Happy reading everyone.


Sherry Sikstrom said...

Merry Christmas! I look forward to reading these articles as soon as I havce time! thanks for posting

Crystal said...

That sounds like a lot of good information, i will try to get to them when i have time as well.
I am pretty boring inour feed for our horses, they get grass or mostly grass hay and plain oats and a mineral and a salt block. So far I have had good luck with this and its cheap cause we grow everything but the salt and the mineral.

Have a Merry Christmas

cdncowgirl said...

Ed talked about feed at our clinic, especially the complete feeds. He is very picky about what he uses and I believe he said he tests his feed when he gets it to make sure the company is delivering what they promise... and sometimes they aren't.

Rising Rainbow said...

Thanks for these linkgs. I'll be looking into them too when time permits.

The by-products things bugs me too. It's usually a code word for left over crab if you ask me. The other thing that bothers me is to be effective, these feeds need to be fed in a specific amount per horse's body weight so what happens to the easy keeper that gets less and the hard one that needs more. That really concerns me as much as the by-products.

From our hearts, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

kestrel said...

Word of warning on pelleted feeds...many of them contain beet pulp...SOAK THE FEED!!! I almost killed my old horse with senior feed due to the worst case of choke I've ever seen, and it was only his second 5 cup feeding of the cr*p. The vet had a terrible time getting his esophogus cleared out, and he was packed solid from his throat to his stomach. He did not eat the feed any more quickly than he'd eat his grain, he has teeth and was chewing, he's never choked before, and besides, I thought the small pellets were designed so that elderly horses DIDN'T have to chew much. I'd have to call bs on the article that says feeding dry beet pulp is just fine. The risk is definitely there, and once they do choke, beet pulp forms a dense mass that just keeps expanding. It doesn't matter how many times you get away with it, it matters the time you don't!

The thing is, most of the dandy fine research is done by feed companies.

Sprinkle some water on the feed, see if it forms a solid ball when you squeeze a handful, and see how much it swells up. Some feeds are worse than others. The vet said that he's seeing a lot of choke cases, even though the companies say it's fine to feed the stuff dry.

Now my old guy will have to eat soaked senior stuff for life because the vet thinks the swelling feed damaged his esophagus.

Anonymous said...

When I was out West, I used a feed called LMF. I was impressed by the quality and the performance I saw through this complete feed via my horses, from a young'un to a senior. Sadly, I cannot get it here in the South.

Mostly, I feel that horse feed and the pros and cons are just about the same as the human diet. Everyone has a different ideal and a different viewpoint on what works, what doesn't and what's best.

In the mean time, while I'm stuck in the South, I'm feeding Purina. It's acceptable and seems to be doing the job. But, it's not my favorite.

Melanie said...

Yes, horse supplements are costly! We generally just feed a vitamin supplement with a handful or two of dry cob, but we have easy-to-keep horses...with the exception of Waska. HIS supplements are costly, but they are also hand-made just for him. : )

Unknown said...

Totally agree and my reason for sticking to a more natural diet is similar to yours. Its the best that I can afford right now. I do try to give them a little boost as far as vitamins/minerals go, with selective added grains if more energy is needed. But basically stick to natural feed and that never let me down even when I was competing seriously.