Sunday, April 17, 2011

Food for Thought

Quite a while ago, Heather found an extruded pellet feed that she's got her whole herd on. Iron Ridge buys it in bulk, but it is also sold in bags, and it's cheap; about $10 for 50#. I switched to this feed when Poco was still here. They grew to love it after having been on it for the 8-10 weeks they spent at the farm when D was weaned. It's the only feed Daltrey's ever had.

Complete Assurance is manufactured by Bluebonnet Feeds in Ardmore, OK. Some big name breeder helped develop it, and it is available exclusively at one little feed store in Whitesboro, Texas. According to the label, it contains all the protein (14.5%), fat (3.5%), calories and fiber (18%) needed daily, and it's fortified with Stride Horse Feed Supplement. I like that the first ingredient is alfalfa meal. It also says horses should not need any additional hay when fed according to directions. This stuff has allowed me to stop buying supplements without guilt.

If all they get is this feed, you're supposed to feed 1.5-2% of the horse's body weight daily, but my horses are turned out 24/7, and have free-choice hay and grazing, so they get less.

They always have a round bale, though grazing is sparse in our dust bowl of a pasture. If we don't give them hay, they start tearing the bark off the oak trees, more likely out of boredom than hunger. I also don't have a place to store square bales other than my trailer. I don't like to do that for obvious reasons.

Daltrey gets 2 full big scoops of feed once a day. Though butt-high and hollow-hipped, Daltrey's been holding his weight well. At no point has he gotten ribby, which the baby drafts and draft crosses are wont to do, especially just before a growth spurt.

Jaz gets about 1/2 of one of the small scoops, then he helps finish whatever Baby D flings. My friends call him my pregnant gelding. Jaz was scrawny when I first met him, and had been a hard keeper his whole life. You can feel his ribs (barely), and he's got big ole belly. He's certainly a more comfortable ride for me at this weight, and he doesn't get as cold. He's also not as goosey. He used to only be able to tolerate the softest bristle brush; his skin would just crawl. He's a happy boy these days, that's for sure.

What do you feed your horses? What supplements do you give? Are your horses pastured 24/7, or do they have limited, controlled turnout?


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Leah, I really like your pasture situation. I wish our barn and paddocks weren't so separated from our house. Do you ever look out a window and have a horse peering in at you?
Jaz is looking handsome and very healthy. He seems to be a good weight.

Apache is an air fern and could gain weight just by thinking of food. She is on dry pasture 24/7 and gets two flakes of hay per day which I usually put in a small mesh feeder so it lasts longer and moves through her gut slower.

For a treat when she loads in the trailer or when we have freezing cold temps, I serve her one 24 oz scoop of warm mash which is made with a custom-blended grain mixture that was scientifically formulated through Ranchway Feed by and for the horses at Walkin n Circles Horse Rescue, and in fact is called Rescue Mix. As far as I know it’s only available at one local feed store here in our mountains, called The Hitch N’ Post.

Here are the ingredients in the order listed :

Alfalfa Pellet
Corn, Crushed
Milo, Rolled
Oats, Rolled
Barley, Rolled
Wheat Bran
Beet Pulp Shreds

There is no added sugar or molasses and it’s not a sweet feed. The protein is 13%, fiber is 15%, and fat is 5%. Because of all the dry ingredients and the beet pulp shreds, I have to add water to the mixture to create a mash. It does wonders to bring rescued horses back to good health and to also maintain weight for senior and higher metabolism/high maintenance equines, too.


lytha said...

omgosh jaz's tail is so clean!

gotta wash one....

my horse gets pasture and freechoice grass hay and a bucket of beet pulp twice a day with a handful of pellets and vitamins. he doesn't lick salt so i pour a few teaspons of salt on one of the mashes every day.

my horse is still ribby but has fat deposits so i think we're in baseline now.

Leah Fry said...

Lisa, one of my favorite things in the whole world is looking up to see a pony peering back at me thru a window. There are times when it's a disadvantage not having cross fencing.

Dreaming said...

Pippin and Doc take after their owner... they look at food and gain weight!
They have limited pasture turnout. Now that the grass is greening they are limited to two hours a day. After July (or sooner if we don't get rain) I will begin extending their time. Our pasture isn't very lush and we've had so little rain that I even had to limit their access to it over the winter.
I feed them about 14 pounds of hay a day. It's prairie grass hay and some timothy.
Once a day they each get about a cup of timothy pellets, less than a cup of Purina Healthy Edge (12.5% protein, 8% fat, 18% fiber) and some EquiPride supplement that is supposed to do wonderful things for their digestion. According to Purina they should be getting 3.25 pounds of feed a day (maintenance - low activity) if they got that, then they would be blimps!
My guys are easy keepers and probably would do fine without the feed, but I figure a little extra fat and protein can't hurt.

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Well here we do things a bit different , hay ,in the winter , grass in the summer, but that is what Alberta does best.We have lots of space here and most years lots of grass. The only supplement I use for the older horses is a mineral/ salt block. The babies get good hay(as do all) and ofeten a beet pulp.12% ration mix as well

Anonymous said...

Our horses are stalled or in small paddocks at night with grass hay and in all-day (7 to 5) turnout in two herds - mares and geldings - during the day. In the winter we've got dry lots with free-choice round bale hay and in the summer we have grazing on about 12 acres of really nice grass pasture. All our horses get a custom mineral/vitamin balancer pellet formulated for our area (we have low-selenium soils), and some cocosoya oil for fatty acids. Other than a few horses who need Ultimate Finish for weight retention in the winter (and with seniors, sometimes soaked beet pulp), no grain.

There are a variety of supplements - my horses get U-Gard as a precaution, and I have one mare on a custom magnesium/chromium supplement for insulin resistance and my new gelding is on MMX (magnesium oxide, B vitamins and tryptophan) to help him with his nervousness.

Others in our barn use other supplements.

AareneX said...

Hana is an air fern, bless her. Twice each day I walk up to her and show her the label from the feed bag. She looks at it and gains weight.

(she gets local hay + a small scoop of a "complete pellet" for vitamins, and gets fat on that!)

Fiddle needs a lot of fuel to keep the big machine running. She gets 3x as much hay as Hana, plus beetpulp once or twice daily, plus a scoop of pellets, plus corn oil on top! She still seems slender....of course, she is working a lot right now, too.

Oh, and there's also pasture, which isn't much food in the winter, but it is helpful nutrition in summer. About 12 hours a day on pasture.

Crystal said...

Interesting what different folks feed! My horses get grass most of the year except in the early spring I ussually have to supplement with some hay. The babies get hay all winter and a scoop of just plain oats. I also feed the riding horses a scoop of oats after we ride.

Leah Fry said...

Lytha, I have to wash Jaz's tail often because of his allergies. I wash it with tea tree oil shampoo or Micro-Tek, then add either a mixture of Listerine & oil or some Vetricin, then finish with Swat. He's high maintenance.

You should see it today :-p

Morning Bray Farm said...

You know your boys well. They look healthy and happy!

cdncowgirl said...

Everyone here is turned out 24/7. Pens in the winter with hay, pasture in the summer (except the pony and donkey who are both fatsos) The 2 big boys get a hoof supplement. Cessa gets specialized feed because of her age (30, and a TB at that) I did a blog post awhile back on what she's getting so I won't list it all here (I'm pretty sure you saw that post) :)

Rising Rainbow said...

My horses are stalled and get rotated for turn out so they get their feed in their stalls. Grass hay, oats and millenium gold except for some of the boys who also get beet pulp.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Mainly everyone is on grass hay and a rotational turn-out.

Grain = Beet Pulp and Oats. I have found it interesting that my easy keepers are leaning up and my hard-keeper, Moon is plumping up and everyone is on all the same things, albet slightly different amounts. I think it is because the supplements I am feeding are balancing their systems and aiding their digestion.

Frosty is the only one with a belly these days and that I do believe will come off after he has been Powerpack dewormed.

My grass is starting to come on pretty strongly now (although we are dry and I have not started irrigating yet), so turn-out is going to have to start to be limited to keep everyone from pudging up.

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