I can't believe *I'M* having to ask this. My once fat/easy keeper is desperately needing weight due to being in a horrible barn situation and, I found out finally, not really getting fed.
Anyway, she's moved to a new barn and getting lots of grass (though is being monitored and put up often as to not get too much, too fast) and I have her back on a ration balancer which is what she was given before moving to the "bad" barn 6 months ago.
In the past I've given her BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) for added fat so, I picked up a huge bag of those at TSC the day we moved her b/c that was the fastest thing I could get to add fat in addition to the ration balancer.
I am weary to mess with oil because I make up baggies of feed that the new barn owner grabs and goes out to her pasture (often in his truck) to feed her and the oil (dealt with it in the past) is always just such a mess no matter how you do it.
But is oil really the best and fastest way to give them fat? Or is the BOSS okay? Or is there something else I could be doing/adding to this mix? Right now she is getting a full coffee cup of BOSS/day in addition to the ration balancer and grass.
My horse gets a supplement called Cool Calories that's basically powdered fat. It's a smidge sticky in hot weather but not really messy--some of the powder might stick to the baggie. It's pretty palatable and fairly inexpensive. IME works just as well as oil.
With a horse who's been neglected, you don't want to have them put on weight too fast... it's not good for them. I'd start by using good hay and a good "grain" - which the ration balancer you're using sounds fine. Adding in some BOSS or oil isn't a bad idea, but I wouldn't be in a hurry to get that weight back on. Give her some time (a few months) to get back to where she was previously.
Like the previous poster, I love Cool Calories 100 for getting weight back on. It's cheap, smells yummy (like Pixie Stix) and is pretty palatable... and like 100% prilled (dried) fat. More fat then most of the other supps out there.
Another thing to look at would be bloodwork, but if it's truly weight loss due to neglect, the nothing may show up, but... who knows? Also, getting back on a good deworming schedule would probably benefit your mare immensely (if she hasn't been dewormed in months).
Hopefully the other, more experienced, nutritional gurus will jump in. Good luck with your mare but don't rush her.
Thanks! Appychik - sorry, I probably should have worded/titled it differently - I am definitely wanting to be careful of not give her too much, too fast.
I hate seeing her like this and in my heart want to pack weight on her of course, but in my head, I know it's a slow process and don't want to overkill her system. It's just so hard to see her like this, but I definitely want to to put the weight back on her the RIGHT way.
Do you think with the amount of BOSS (reg. size coffee mug/day) she is getting I should leave it alone for awhile or would you add Cool Calories (or something else, anyone?) along with that right now?
It's definitely been a feed issue w/ previous barn, she's been wormed, etc and is otherwise healthy.
I just reread your original post... she's getting a full coffee can of BOSS daily? I'm not sure what people normally give, but that does seem like a lot. I've heard of a cup/2 cups daily, but not sure how much a coffee can (standard size?) can hold.
Anyways, if it's working... I'd keep at it. Don't give too many fat sources. So either BOSS and oil or the Cool Calories (or the like) but not all of them.
I do hope more people chime in on this. Glad to hear you got her out of that bad situation though. Poor mare.