I posted this in my other thread in Off Course but I figure I will get more responses here. My guy is moving home with me temporarily this summer. I'd like to get another 50 - 75 pounds on him that he just hasn't been able to put on in the past few years. Right now he's on about 2 qt of locally milled sweet feed with 1 qt. beet pulp 2x a day and grass hay. I'd like to switch away from the sweet feed because I think that's putting him just a tad on edge. Any suggestions?
He will be getting free choice grass hay and will have pretty much free access to the pasture.
I would try adding or switching to a good fixed-formula senior feed, easier to digest and utilize, and perfectly fine to feed to any age horse. Alfalfa cubes are also a good way to get weight on a horse.
There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams
Would something like this from Pennfield work? This would allow me to get rid of the beet pulp in his diet because the senior feed contains it, correct? Would you recommend I put him on something else, oil, rice bran, etc?
Senior's Energized Choice #80504
Increased nutrient concentration in order to offset reduced digestive efficiency
high calorie, high fat textured feed
designed to meet the energy and nutrient needs of hard keepers with good dentition
Contains yeast culture to enhance feed digestibility and palatability
Make sure you are feeding him a good quality hay. My hard keeper went to an easy keeper after I switched to a 2nd cutting grass hay. He was getting 1st cut and I could not get the extra weight he needed on him no matter what feed I gave him or what I added to his feed.
He only gets vit/min supplement in a little bit (1/2 cup dry) beet pulp now and is maintaining his weight beautifully. When you don't have to spend the money on feeds you will have enough to buy good quality hay.
I have never heard of anyone using that Pennfield feed and just looking it up I couldn't find the NSC content in it... I would be interested to see the NSC content and what other ingredients are in there before I would make a decision. Just from your basic stats it doesn't seem like a poor choice. Pennfield has not been my favorite brand in the past, but maybe it was just the kind I was using.
There are so many options for putting weight on a horse--a lot of it depends on your budget and the type of horse/what kind of work he will be doing. You can either get a complete feed like TC Complete/Ultium/Performance LS, or you can find your nice, low cost (but also should be low in NSC) grain that has 10+% fat and supplement with oil/rice bran/cool calories, making sure to keep everything in balance with proper vit/min supplementation.
A lot of finding the right feed program is math. How many calories does your horse need in a day based on weight and workload? How much can you feed of what to get the right amount of vitamins/minerals/protein/etc? What else are you trying to accomplish with your feed?
My approximately 1500 lb PSSM horse who is a hard keeper is currently on 5 lbs of alfalfa pellets, 2 cups corn oil, vit/min supplement, no pasture, and 15+lbs of timothy hay per day (basically as much hay as he can eat). That's what works for him and my budget, but his metabolic disorder will probably have different needs than your horse.
And I second what li'l bit said about the hay. Get your hay and pasture tested. It may seem like a PIA, but it's worth it in the end. If you don't, it's like only knowing half of your horse's diet. How successful can your feed program be when half of the horse's diet is a mystery?
I had a rescue case that we had to add 500lbs to and we simply used TC senior, rice bran, 24/7 turnout on good grass. He gained most of his weight within 2 mths. I also used to measure my horses feed in qt, and was suggested by others on the forum to switch to lbs which made a significant difference I believe. We also gave him a flake of alfalfa two times a day for the first couple weeks. Granted you arent trying to put that kind of weight on, but mine constantly gained throughout the harsh winter we had.
We started him on 6lbs of TC senior and 2lbs of rice brain split into three feedings. Now he is down to 1lbs two times a day and no rice bran.
Here's a vote for Pennfield Senior Energized Choice. Your hard keeper is exactly what it's designed for, and it's low in NSC, 29%. If you want lower NSC, Fibregized Omega is full of beet pulp, would be an excellent choice too, and that's 25% NSC.