MayberrySaint- Feed Question

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by lexustami, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. lexustami

    lexustami Songster

    Jun 14, 2007
    St. Clairsville, OH

    I have a question or two for you.

    I have 2 rescue horses that we got back in April. They are both still really thin. The 20 yr. old Appy gelding is blind and his friend, 23 yr. old QH mare seems otherwise healthy. She is his guide horse.

    As winter is approaching I'm afraid they will be too thin to survive winter.

    I'm trying to come up with a feeding plan for them.

    I just added Soybeans to their daily diet and I'm hoping you can give me some ideas of what else I can feed them. I just don't want to just fatten them up but I want to give them the ideal healthy diet.

    The Standardbred we have was fed (by her former owner) soybeans and beat pulp last winter and when we got her I thought, "That is a really fat horse." She has since lost weight and looks like a normal horse. [​IMG]

    So.. I guess I should actually ask a question. Do you have any recommendations?

    Also, while I was at the feed store today I saw Cottonseed hulls. What are those used for? I can find information about feeding it to cattle but not too much on horses or even poultry.

    Attached are some pix of the 2 horses.

    Thanks for any info you can provide.


    This is Sundance.

    This is Ginger.
  2. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    I'm not MayberrySaint, but I am willing to give you my opinion.

    From what I understand from show cattle & show goat people, beet pulp will "make your animal look fat", but it only fills them up, it does not actually put weight on your animal.
    I wouldn't feed beet pulp to them.

    What kind of hay are you feeding?

    If it was me, I would give them a good quality grain. I can't give you amounts because I don't know what feed is available to you. I would feed them grain by instructions on bag. Divide it into 2 feedings a day, 3 if you are home to do so.
    A horse gets more out of its feed when fed smaller amounts more times a day.

    I am not a big fan of sweet feed, but since it is getting cooler & you are not in a southern climate, I would suggest it for you. I would also get some cracked corn & add some each feeding. (It's still too hot here for corn so I don't have any to give you a weight to feed).

    Give them good quality grass hay free choice 24/7.

    You should see a difference in a week or two. Not a big one, but you will notice that they don't look so thin in the belly region. It will take a long time to bring them back to a healthy weight, and a lot of feed & hay. Some people just don't realize it takes less feed to keep a horse fat than to get one fat. (And I don't literally mean fat, but a healthy weight).

    If you only have alfalfa hay to feed, do not give this to them free choice!!
    In square bale terms, start out tearing a little bit off a flake twice a day, then slowly increase to 1 flake in the morning, and 1 flake in the evening. You may need to increase to 2 flakes per feeding, but you have to be careful with it, especially if the horses are not used to eating alfalfa.
    If possible, give them grass hay free choice & give them a flake of alfalfa in the evenings also. (After they have gotten used to it of course)

    Shelter will be a must. As long as they can get out of cold wet weather, they should do fine.

    As far as cottonseed hulls, Do not feed these to a horse. They do not have the digestive system required to digest them.

    I don't know about soybeans for horses, so I can't help you with that one.

    I hope I have helped you with some of your concerns.

  3. lexustami

    lexustami Songster

    Jun 14, 2007
    St. Clairsville, OH

    Thank you.

    We have a huge barn and they are kept in there at night. They are turned out in the morning and have access to good grass all day long. They will be kept inside if the weather is really bad.

    They aren't getting hay right now because we've had such a hard time finding square bales. All I could find locally was straw. [​IMG] I actually found someone today that has the square bales and we are going to get it delivered next week. I didn't want to buy the round bales because I don't have dry storage for it. And after seeing all of the round bales sitting outside in the rain I didn't want to chance it being moldy.

    They are being fed sweet feed 2x a day. I will have to check the protein but I think it may be 11%. It is the standard sweet feed from the Co-Op feed store.

    I did some reading about Soybean feed last night and it all seems positive.

    I really want these horses to thrive and have a good life in their senior years. They are both sweethearts and it makes me so mad that someone did this to them in the first place!!!

    Take care,

  4. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    Check the bag label & see what the fat content is.
    For right now, go with the higher fat content than worry about the protein content.

    Until they get to the weight you want them, you will have to give them hay at night while they are in the barn , too.

  5. lizardz

    lizardz Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Grass Valley, CA
    How wonderful you are giving two old horses a loving home for their last years. I have a 22-year old appy/arab gelding that was pretty thin when I got him - not neglected, just thin (at least, compared to those two fat mustangs I have that look like barrels with legs [​IMG]). Given they've been neglected, a visit by the vet would be a good start. Their teeth may need to be filed and they may need worming. S/he would also be able to give you more individualized advice on type/quantities of feed given what's available to you. Even though you have a barn, a good turnout blanket for each of them would probably be a good idea unless your barn's really warm and you won't be turning them out on cold days. Also, mixing corn oil into their grain adds extra calories that can be really helpful. I've added up to one cup per day, but you want to start with maybe 1/4 cup and work your way up. The main things for my older one were having the teeth filed, a heavy blanket (I don't have a good barn, but thankfully we don't get too cold or much snow here), and the corn oil. I feed my horses a grass/alfalfa mix, plus pasture and sweet feed/oil. Good luck and Blessings.
  6. lexustami

    lexustami Songster

    Jun 14, 2007
    St. Clairsville, OH

    They were seen by the vet as soon as we got them. They are on a worming schedule and have had all of their vaccinations.

    These horses came from an extreme abuse situation. They were nearly starved to death in 2006. Someone rescued them from near death and I got them from them. Even though they were being fed by the last owners I don't think they had regular health care. Their hooves were a huge mess and the guy didn't have any shot records but he "thought" they had been wormed and had their vaccinations.

    When we first got them I tried the corn oil and also weight gainer supplements but that didn't really seem to do anything.

    Our vet is real country and her solution is having them put to sleep. They aren't bad enough that they need to be put to sleep but she just has a different mind set when it comes to usability of horses.

    To me, they don't need to be ridable and to some others that is the only thing that seems to count.

    I've got to run. I'm running late already and I've got a ton of stuff to do.

    Take care,

  7. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    Quote:Those are all excellent suggestions...the key is good, quality hay free-choice (which in certain areas is a real problem this year because of drought conditions) along with quality grain supplementation as Jean suggests. Depending on the area of the country, your best bet would be a higher energy (corn/oat) mix. At least 2 feedings per day...

    BTW...I would stay away from the cottonseed hulls (low energy, high fiber).

    Good link from OSU...
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  8. serendipity22

    serendipity22 Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    I'd like to chime in here.

    Have these horses teeth been floated in the last 6 months? Dental care will affect how well the animal processes the feed that is put in front of him.

    Have these horses been wormed with something like Zimecterin Gold. This product gets tape worms as well.

    A good quality pelleted feed will be utilized better by senior horses because it has a better chance of getting broken down and absorbed in the gut.

    Look at a feed like Purina Equine Senior or Nutrena Compete. Look at the fat as well as the protein. A great way to add fat is to buy pelleted rice bran such as 'ultrabloom'. The Purina Equine senior is a complete feed but I would add some rice bran to it. If you can purchase the Nutrena Compete, there is a 10% protein with a fat of 8%.

    Soaked beet pulp would be a great way for them to get fiber and it would keep them hydrated in the cold winter (use warm water). Add some alfalfa cubes to the bucket and let them soak too. The older horses love this 'goop' and it's good for them.

    In my experience, feeding whole, cracked or rolled grains to elderly horses is just a waste of money because you can see a lot of the unprocessed feed in their manure.

    Hope you don't mind me chiming here but I've had horses for over 20 years and have helped take care of horses that have made it into their 40's.
  9. chicks rule

    chicks rule Songster

    Apr 10, 2007
    SW MO
    I would also say to have their teeth floated, and maybe a good senior feed, also we were told by our vet to add corn oil to their feed. Might also be able to add Calf Manna to their feed, maybe someone else would know about that. Here is a web site that might offer some incite as well. So glad these horses have found a wonderful place to live out their golden yrs, Yea for you. Also in the colder months I would add warm water to our older mares feed and let is soak a bit before feeding her. Apple Cider Vinegar w/mother to help with achy bones.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  10. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Songster

    May 17, 2007
    I have a couple of senior horses, one is a boarders and turned 29 in April. The above are all excellent suggestions, teeth, worming to start. I feed Senior Feeds to them and good quality hay. Senor feed is also easier for them to eat and digest. They get blanketed in the winter, usually starting end of November beginning of December depending on how the winter is going. I don't want them burning up fat trying to keep warm. If it is a brutally cold winter I add a handful of cracked corn to the grain too.They have 24/7 access to their stalls but mostly like to stay out and the older ones really need to move those stiff joints, in return they are never stocked up.
    Beet pulp alot of people do around here with the corn oil but honestly it has never worked for me. It definately is good to hydrate them though if they will eat it and add some alfalfa cubes soaked as serendipity said. I found they always turned their noses up at it unless I filled it with everything under the sun such as molasses,carrots,apples etc. And even then they did not always it eat.

    I do use a pro-biotic which is unbelieveable. I was never big on suppliments but I talked to many people who were using this so I did my research and the stuff is awsome. It is called
    I just add a little squirt to their nightly feed, it helps them to absorb the nutrients in their grain. I HIGHLY recommend it.

    The 29 year old was in pretty bad shape when he came in on a cold February day. I honestly did not think he was going to last the winter. I slowly switched his feed to a good senior feed, lots of hay, and started the ration plus after a few months. You would not know it was the same horse. The owner told me his teeth were done in the fall so I knew that much.

    I have never heard of soybeans or cottonseed hulls for horses but in different parts of the country different things are fed, but I have never heard of it.
    LOTS of good hay,,,but if their teeth have not been done in sometime I would start there asap.

    You are a good soul to take these two elderly horses in. Sundance and Ginger are very lucky and cute. I have known 2 Appys that were blind and also had friend guide horses and when I saw their pictures it brought back memories!

    Before I end though, some things work for some horses and not others. You will have to experiment a little. They are just as different as humans. Good Luck and keep us posted on how they are doing.

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