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GotSpots
Mar. 9, 2010, 11:42 AM
So we just spoke with an equine nutritionist who went on at some length about bran mashes being bad for horses (I believe her exact words were "a bran mash can take the paint off of a wall"). This is a new one to me - and I've had my hard keepers on bran for years. Is this a theory-of-the-month or does anyone have any knowledge/data behind this?

mht
Mar. 9, 2010, 12:07 PM
found this article-has some interesting thoughts.

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-health/feeding-bran-3151.aspx?cm_sp=InternalClicks-_-RelatedArticles-_-horse-health/feeding-bran-3151

Melyni
Mar. 9, 2010, 12:10 PM
So we just spoke with an equine nutritionist who went on at some length about bran mashes being bad for horses (I believe her exact words were "a bran mash can take the paint off of a wall"). This is a new one to me - and I've had my hard keepers on bran for years. Is this a theory-of-the-month or does anyone have any knowledge/data behind this?

So a bran mash without extra Ca in it might just might upset the overall Ca:P ratio, which should be in favor of calcium.

Just add a teaspoonful of ground limestone or 5 tums to the mash if that worries you.
Otherwise there is nothing wrong with a bran mash once in a while, though I would not raise babies on it.
MW

jn4jenny
Mar. 9, 2010, 12:55 PM
So we just spoke with an equine nutritionist who went on at some length about bran mashes being bad for horses (I believe her exact words were "a bran mash can take the paint off of a wall"). This is a new one to me - and I've had my hard keepers on bran for years. Is this a theory-of-the-month or does anyone have any knowledge/data behind this?

Yes, there's data. Try searching on thehorse.com -- I was looking it up last week when the vet recommended bran after my horse's mild colic. I seem to recall a Cornell study that confirmed that bran mash actually REDUCED hydration, not increased it as previously thought, and that any perceived laxative effect was actually the result of digestive upset caused by the abrupt diet change. I'm pretty sure I just searched thehorse.com for "bran mash colic" and came up with the results.

Shiaway
Mar. 9, 2010, 01:31 PM
You wouldn't suddenly switch your horse's grain to a different kind right? Never made sense to me to feed bran mashes.

Dressage.For.Life.
Mar. 9, 2010, 02:12 PM
After my horse had a mild episode of colic (resolved with a less than full dose of Banamine) one of my horse's vets recommended giving him a wheat bran mash 1-2x per week..she said giving it any more and it reduces / loses its laxative affect. I've been giving my horse the amount she recommended, which is one quart of it dry, and then adding as much water as he'll take with it. Would you guys not be doing this?? :confused:

VA_Hunter_Aside
Mar. 9, 2010, 02:18 PM
Ah, the age old bran mash debate! It is often hotly debated whether or not there is any benefit to giving a horse a bran mash. Even the experts disagree. Some studies show no "benefit" but also no harm, and others show harm.

I remember one study was done to test the laxative effect of bran mash. Of course the study found that there was no laxative effect, but the main reason for feeding a bran mash is not to make the horse poo or to make his poo wetter. The main reason for feeding a bran mash is to make the horse drink water! Bran mashes are too often made pasty instead of soupy. I make mine with LOTS of water and add some beet pulp and hay cubes to reduce the amount of wheat bran since wheat bran really isn't the best source of fiber.

One article on bran mashes said it's no use to feed a hot mash in order to warm the horse up because the warming effect only lasts around 10 minutes. I don't agree that 10 minutes is not beneficial. My horses are at home and I work very far away. There have been a few times when I have not been able to get home before a cold rain. I come home to wet shivering horses and immediately throw them in their stalls, pile on the coolers, and make hot mashes with bran, beet pulp, and a few hay cubes. Within 10 minutes they are not shivering and are getting nice and toasty.

I wouldn't make bran mashes a weekly deal but I think they have their uses.

VA_Hunter_Aside
Mar. 9, 2010, 02:32 PM
Here is an excellent article on mashes. It also has a link to another interesting article on linseed (flax seed).

http://www.stablemade.com/horsecare/horsefeeding/bran_mash.htm



I seem to recall a Cornell study that confirmed that bran mash actually REDUCED hydration, not increased it as previously thought, and that any perceived laxative effect was actually the result of digestive upset caused by the abrupt diet change.

That is interesting. I would like to see that study. I searched on theHorse but did not find it. What I really find interesting is that a laxative by definition causes elimination, and that often the result of increased elimination is slight dehydration. That is the reason humans are advised to drink lots of water when they take laxatives.

VA_Hunter_Aside
Mar. 9, 2010, 02:58 PM
Ok, I found it! Here's the link http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=424

What I find interesting is that they said bran mash does not sweep sand out of the gut like people thought. My reaction to that is, of course is doesn't! What is supposed to sweep sand out of the gut is a linseed mash, which is a more traditional mash. It takes hours to make a proper linseed mash and most people don't want to do it. The seeds have to be soaked over night, and then boiled and then simmered for 2-3 hours until they turn into jelly. Then wheat bran may or may not be added before giving it to the horse. The jelly is what is supposed to remove sand and the linseed actually does have a laxative effect.

deltawave
Mar. 9, 2010, 04:06 PM
A bowl of Cap'N Crunch is "bad for you", too. But an occasional indulgence isn't going to kill anyone. Same with bran mashes. They're not necessary, but they're not toxic poison, either. Bran as a source of nutrients has pros and cons like any other. As "part of this balanced breakfast" it's perfectly fine. But horses don't "need" bran mashes. If you horses are doing fine on bran as a part of their diet, there's certainly no need to change anything. :) But if you want to give them something warm and soupy and wet for extra hydration, soaked beet pulp probably makes more sense.

JSwan
Mar. 9, 2010, 04:09 PM
But horses don't "need" them.

My horses go NUTS over a nice warm mash in the wintertime. It is a very minor thing to indulge them, and they are most appreciative (as they nuzzle me and leave gobs of mash on my face)

One of life's little pleasures...... :)

deltawave
Mar. 9, 2010, 04:11 PM
Exactly how I feel about a rare bowl of Cap'n Crunch. :)

Shiaway
Mar. 9, 2010, 04:31 PM
don't think you can compare our diets to a horse's for obvious reasons. I'm not going to go out and give my horse a scoop of sweet feed when he is used to pellets. Why would I go and give him a scoop of bran? That doesn't make any sense.

The only arguments for feeding bran mashes are based on anecdotes and "I did this for 50 years" etc.

If I want to treat my horse I can give him an apple or carrot without him getting diarrhea from it or upsetting his GI tract. Or if I want something warm and wet I will add warm water to his grain with maybe some sliced up carrots/apples.

Or even a little bit of bran I'm sure is fine, like maybe a cup soaked. But not a whole mash that's usually a lot more bran.

Ghazzu
Mar. 9, 2010, 04:50 PM
Well, for one thing, a scoop of bran doesn't weigh anywhere near as much as a scoop of sweet feed...weight and differing nutrient-wise, I expect it's very little difference from giving a couple of apples.

I make ban mashes by substituting bran for half the grain ration. So it's not a huge alteration in the normal diet, and it is definitely something my horses enjoy.
Never had one get diarrhea from it.

deltawave
Mar. 9, 2010, 04:57 PM
There is a difference between feeding bran as part of a regular ration and randomly giving bran mashes. The former is entirely reasonable, assuming that what's in the bran is what the horse needs. The latter is completely out of style and has been pretty much demonstrated to not have any magical hydrating or other properties, but has also probably never killed a horse yet. :)

VA_Hunter_Aside
Mar. 9, 2010, 05:21 PM
don't think you can compare our diets to a horse's for obvious reasons. I'm not going to go out and give my horse a scoop of sweet feed when he is used to pellets. Why would I go and give him a scoop of bran? That doesn't make any sense.

The only arguments for feeding bran mashes are based on anecdotes and "I did this for 50 years" etc.

If I want to treat my horse I can give him an apple or carrot without him getting diarrhea from it or upsetting his GI tract. Or if I want something warm and wet I will add warm water to his grain with maybe some sliced up carrots/apples.

Or even a little bit of bran I'm sure is fine, like maybe a cup soaked. But not a whole mash that's usually a lot more bran.

None of my horses has ever had diarrhea after a bran mash, even a fairly large one. A bran mash can be made with varying amounts of bran. I'm sure some people use a whole lot of it but some people also feed enormous amounts of grain. Just people some people feed too much does not mean all people do or should.

rcloisonne
Mar. 9, 2010, 06:31 PM
While the 9% fiber content of wheat bran is laxative to humans (who traditionally eat a very low fiber diet), 9% fiber is actually pretty low for a horse (hays and other forages average over 20%).

However, at more than 22% starch (on average), wheat bran, fed in significant amounts to a horse that has trouble with simple carbs, could potentially lead to gut disruption and laminitis.

Remember, Dr. Pollitt experimentally and purposely induced laminitis in healthy horses with wheat starch. Not worth taking the chance, IMO.

Ghazzu
Mar. 9, 2010, 07:53 PM
Wheat starch is definitely not the same thing as wheat bran...

Petstorejunkie
Mar. 9, 2010, 08:42 PM
In fact, it's a completely different component of the grain all together called endosperm.

I am pro bran mash. no real reason except that it helps my horse in drastic weather changes, and my trainer and vet both recommend them.

Percheron X
Mar. 9, 2010, 08:45 PM
Bran mash pros and cons...

Pros...

Horses love it.

It's a horse treat.

You can put pieces of apples and carrots in it, and even drizzle some molasses on it.

It smells wonderful.

Works great for hiding meds.

Makes you and the horses happy.

People love the sound the horses make while eating it.

You can pour a little mineral oil in it and give it before shipping.



Cons...

Bran is high in phosphorus and if fed to often without a source of calcium to balance it, it can lead to brittle bones.

It can be messy.

It's not a panacea.

It probable that there is a horse somewhere in the world who is allergic to it.

It's also probable that there is another horse somewhere in the world who will somehow find a way to hurt himself with it. ;)

-

Shiaway
Mar. 9, 2010, 09:00 PM
I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. It doesn't make any sense to me to make that kind of change. Plus I believe I'm backed up by the studies when it comes to lack of benefits of the bran mash. It may do some harm it may do no harm but it doesn't really do any good--according to the studies. So in this case I'd personally rather stick to things that my horse also enjoys but I can feel safer giving him.

BrookdaleBay
Mar. 9, 2010, 09:18 PM
My boy doesn't like bran mash, so I never give it to him.
The vet at work always recommends feeding a very soupy bran mash (a couple handfuls of bran and 2-3 cups of warm water) to horses that arn't feeling well in order to encourage drinking.

deltawave
Mar. 9, 2010, 09:21 PM
People love the sound the horses make while eating it.


Blecch, not me. All that slurping and glorping and squishing, ewww. :) Give me hay munching as the "favorite barn sound effect", you can have your horses-making-like-pigs sounds. :winkgrin:

Percheron X
Mar. 10, 2010, 01:16 AM
Blecch, not me. All that slurping and glorping and squishing, ewww. :) Give me hay munching as the "favorite barn sound effect", you can have your horses-making-like-pigs sounds. :winkgrin:

Morning nickers before feeding are my favorite barn sound. One of our geldings sounds like a car motor starting up.

He goes raaaaaaaa raaaaaa raaaaa raaaa raaa raa ra ra ra ra ra.....

He's so cute. :)

deltawave
Mar. 10, 2010, 07:52 AM
Morning pony nickers, mmmmm. :) I love talkative horses! :D

Ghazzu
Mar. 10, 2010, 08:09 AM
It's also probable that there is another horse somewhere in the world who will somehow find a way to hurt himself with it. ;)

Snork!

rcloisonne
Mar. 10, 2010, 05:59 PM
Wheat starch is definitely not the same thing as wheat bran...
Plenty of wheat starch in a bag of wheat bran sold for animal feed. You might want to peruse the Equi Analytical website for feed analyses. Starch content ranges 15-29%. Average NFC a whopping 35%!

shawneeAcres
Mar. 10, 2010, 06:05 PM
Morning pony nickers, mmmmm. :) I love talkative horses! :D

Wish I had "morning nickers"! I have morning bite the walls, squealing, kicking the walls, pawing and knocking things around the stalls to get my attention from the eight in the barn!

Bogie
Mar. 10, 2010, 06:09 PM
We fed bran mashes every Sunday when I was growing up. I just accepted it.

These days, I prefer to feed my horse soaked beet pulp on a daily basis rather than introduce something new just one day a week. He hasn't complained. Sometimes I chop of a few carrots or peppermint and throw them in ;).

Honestly, i don't need to add another thing to my tackroom/feed room -- especially something I only feed on occasion!