The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2006
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    250

    Default Feeding on a Budget, suggestions?

    Up North, when I lived up there, we always bought orchard and timothy hay, some alfalfa for the harder keepers, and fed fairly inexpensive grain twice a day. My horses were always butter fat.

    I live in Ocala now, hay is much more expensive, and it seems like grain is too. I have two fairly hard keepers, and I know this is probably a stupid question, but how would you feed them? I hate to be nickel/diming my horses, but right now, but one bag of the grain she is on, is two hours of me working.

    Do you feed more hay, more grain, is there a supplement that helps to make the calories and dollars go farther?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2010
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    Keeping weight up there is simply keeping more calories going into the horse. Fats are 2.5 x more calories per gram than protein or carbs (hay or grain). There are expensive ways to add fats and inexpensive ones. Feed the best quality hay you can at a rate appropriate for the ideal weight of the horse (for my horses this is 1.5 to 2% of ideal body weight per day in divided feedings....ie....if ideal weight is 1000 lbs I feed 15 to 20 pounds of good hay per day....15 pounds if the horse is already near ideal and up to 20 pounds if a pound or two could be added to him). I don't feed grain unless one really needs to gain...and then I usually feed a complete pelleted senior feed at the rate of about 1% of ideal weight per day....that horse with an ideal weight of 1000 pounds would get 10 pounds per day until approaching ideal weight and would gradually get cut back to hopefully not needing any and maintaining on hay. I've used Calf Manna at a pound per feeding....seems to do a lot for not a lot of expense. I've also added oils to the pelleted feed/calf manna on one that is really in need of weight gain....I start with 1/4 cup twice a day (just mix it with the pelleted feed/calf manna) and increase 1/4 cup each week (so first week is 1/4 cup morning/evening, second week is 1/2 cup mornings, 1/4 cup evenings, third week would be 1/2 cup morning and evening) to a max of 2 cups per day...if he gets cow patty poops back off a little. Other ways to add calories/fats would things like KoolKalories, Vita-Bran (or other stabalized rice bran with fats added), black oil sunflower seeds, flax seed etc. Since I don't keep a horse on fats for long periods I go with the cheapest stuff I can find in big jugs at Costco and don't worry much about omega fatty acid balances....usually not on fats for more than a month...just to jumpstart weight gain. I'm fortunate in living in an area where alfalfa is the normal hay....grasses are much higher priced here than alfalfa.

    You might do some price comparisons and find that a complete pelleted feed would be cost effective when combined with moderate quality hay for fiber. You could also check with other horse owners in your area (there are tons of top name trainers in a variety of disciplines in your area) and see what they suggest....they are more familiar with that area than I am obviously.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    1,670

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by coloredcowhorse View Post
    You might do some price comparisons and find that a complete pelleted feed would be cost effective when combined with moderate quality hay for fiber. You could also check with other horse owners in your area (there are tons of top name trainers in a variety of disciplines in your area) and see what they suggest....they are more familiar with that area than I am obviously.
    I am so glad you started this thread. Right now I am feeding Seminole SR - a complete feed, and 1.5-2 % by weight coastal hay to two older horses and a three YO who are out 24/7 on pasture (admittedly not so good pasture this time of year - it has been really dry). Theya re doing well on it, and I like that it is a complete feed due to less than wonderful winter grass. The Seminole Sr has gone up in price, and O/A I fed last year is also more this year. (I am glad theya re willing to eat nice coastal) I sure would like to find another complete feed that costs less but is effective and of good quality.

    I look at the labels, but do not see the calories per pound listed..... how do we calculate this?

    While you are right about there being many trainers and pros in this area, none I have asked have the answer to my question. My trainer uses Nutreena safe choice, and likes it, but it is not complete. SOme feed round bales and balancer (I am not a fan of round bales in our wet weather).

    And lazydacres, my tainer ahs found that she can feed less of the nutreena safechoice than the purina she used previously. Maybe try that.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Lucama, NC
    Posts
    5,868

    Default

    We recently (about two months ago) began feeding hard keepers Nutrena XTN which is 12% fat. It is EXPENSIVE but found that it was well worth it as we can feed less grain and hay and still have good weight on these hard keepers



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2010
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    I look at the labels, but do not see the calories per pound listed..... how do we calculate this?

    You can calculate the calories if you are good at math.... protein and carbs have about 4.5 calories per gram...there are about 30 grams per ounce and 16 ounces per pound....or 480 grams per pound...equaling 2160 calories per pound for actual amounts of protein or carbs. If a feed is 14% protein this means that 14% of a specific weight of this feed is protein....10 pounds of feed would be 1.4 pounds of actual protein for instance. Fats have roughly twice the calories per gram of protein or carbs.

    Some feeds have "megacalories" listed or Kilocalories....if not on their feed it may be on their website.

    I truly don't worry about exact amount of calories (on the theory that I can eat one Hershey bar with 270 calories and gain an ounce....should NOT happen but it sure seems like it does...I'm a very easy keeper!....a friend of mine can eat 3 of the darn things and loose weight...she's a much harder keeper but I'd rather be her than me sometimes as I really like Hershey bars!)....I look at my horses...if someone is slightly down on weight then I use more carbs or more fats to bump up the calorie intake (I know that the protein levels are good from the hay I feed). I also will blanket a skinny one to conserve body heat, give them warmed water rather than the cold stuff in the tanks everyone else gets.

    Keeping teeth and parasites taken care of makes for better utilization of the feed they do eat.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,312

    Default

    No horse needs to be "butter fat", for starters!

    I'd hate to stint on hay, but would look at simpler extras like oats, beet pulp, and alfalfa pellets to fill in the gaps. You have to see what's less costly in your locale. A decent vitamin/mineral supplement and very good hay might be all you need.

    Is there a racetrack around you? Might be worth asking where they get feed and hay, and to see if they'd let you share in any bulk discounts.
    Click here before you buy.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 19, 2009
    Posts
    217

    Default

    What has cut my feed bill in half (or more) is switching to ration balancer (Triple Crown 30%), and hay. It has allowed me to stop feeding all my supplements (except joint ). It makes sure ALL his nutritional needs are met.

    A lot of people don't realize, that one of the reasons they may have "hard keepers," is that their horse has some underlying nutritional deficet... "balance the ration" and you most likely will be able to cut waaaaay back on the amount of feed you give them. IF they still need extra calories, give them shredded beet pulp (which is very cheap).

    The ration balancers are more expensive up front, compared to regular feeds, but you only feed very little of it... 1 lb for an average horse (To make sure you cover all their nutrional bases with regular of complete feeds, you would have to feed around 6-8 lbs of it). I pay $27.11 for a 50# bag of TC30, which is $0.5422 a day or $16.27 for 30-day month. I feed 20 lbs of good coastal hay per day, with the TC30. The hay bales I get are small (only 30 lbs each), at $3.50 per bale, so it takes 20 bales for a 30-day month = $70. So it costs me less than $90 per month to feed, and I KNOW that not only all his caloric needs are met, but his nutritional needs are met, as well. And I am no longer buying buckets of $upplements.

    My dream would be to have some place to store round bales in the dry, and I could cut down my cost even further...

    I have heard of an instance where someone was feeding their typical hard-keeper tb over 12,000 calories per day, and was still ribby. Switched to the diet above, and they fattened right up... My horse is an easy keeper, and he has since lost his hay belly, and his topline and other muscles, look amazing.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2005
    Location
    Unionville, PA
    Posts
    3,277

    Default

    Beet pulp is pretty cost-effective around here.
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer
    http://www.canterusa.org/



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2005
    Location
    The Land of the Frozen
    Posts
    13,787

    Default

    As for calories per pound, I can look any of them up easily if you give me the feed name you're curious about. For starters, I have this spreadsheet up which shows the Mcals per pound of some of the popular feeds: http://www.hphoofcare.com/FeedValues.pdf

    I was also going to suggest soaked beet pulp. It's pretty cheap and goes a long ways. It's good at putting weight on if you feed a few pounds a day. And it can be used as a substitute for up to about 40% of hay intake.

    Also oil = calories and is pretty cheap and affordable.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2007
    Posts
    1,793

    Default

    I would feed a hay dense in calories.......that is usually alfalfa.....it usually works out cheaper per lb as you can generally feed less........then I would add oil........up two cups.......can't make suggestions on grain as I don't feed any.

    Dalemma



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,137

    Default

    I'm in FL too, and for mine, the most cost-effective way to feed them is nice coastal rolls (stored indoors, peeled off as needed), and soaked alfalfa cubes and beet pulp. They get SmartVite, and the big mare gets SmartOmega and SmartHoof. I add some rice bran if they need a bit more fat, but not a ton.

    The young ones cost about $60 a month to feed in the winter, and the big mare costs about $100. If I could store more hay or feed, I could probably do it more cheaply.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2010
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    1,588

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lazydacres Farm View Post
    Up North, when I lived up there, we always bought orchard and timothy hay, some alfalfa for the harder keepers, and fed fairly inexpensive grain twice a day. My horses were always butter fat.

    I live in Ocala now, hay is much more expensive, and it seems like grain is too. I have two fairly hard keepers, and I know this is probably a stupid question, but how would you feed them? I hate to be nickel/diming my horses, but right now, but one bag of the grain she is on, is two hours of me working.

    Do you feed more hay, more grain, is there a supplement that helps to make the calories and dollars go farther?
    I feed coastal hay (grow it myself) and seminole show & sport 12%protein 12% fat. I find I can feed less with the show & sport. Seminole usually has coupons in Horse & Pony magazine or I try to stock up during their customer appreciation sales. Seminole also has a customer reward program now.

    I also plant rye grass in the winter so there is still something to graze.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2010
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    1,588

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hampton Bay View Post
    I'm in FL too, and for mine, the most cost-effective way to feed them is nice coastal rolls (stored indoors, peeled off as needed), and soaked alfalfa cubes and beet pulp. They get SmartVite, and the big mare gets SmartOmega and SmartHoof. I add some rice bran if they need a bit more fat, but not a ton.

    .
    You might want to check out Horsetech glanzen or glanzen lite for your mare.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tasia View Post
    You might want to check out Horsetech glanzen or glanzen lite for your mare.
    I have looked into it, but the SmartVite, Omega3, and Hoof end up being cheaper for what it provides.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2004
    Location
    Still here ~ not yet there
    Posts
    6,309

    Default

    Wow -- I can't believe more people aren't mentioning FAT.

    Protein & carb are 4.5 kcal per gram (I think it's gram) while fat is 9 kcal. So the easiest way to add cals is to add FAT.

    According to research, a horse can tolerate up to 30% of his diet in fat (but you have to start slowly).

    I feed a combination of beet pulp, rolled oats, a touch of sweetfeed (for taste), a multi-vit and corn oil.

    After doing a comparison of cost per calorie of all the available fat products out there, I found plain old corn oil in the gallon jug from WalMart to be the winner. Plus corn oil is 100% fat, while other products like rice bran are only 30-40%.

    Again, start with just 1/4-1/2 cup, but I've fed my lactating broodmares up to 2 cups a day without a problem.

    Also, I have no hard "science" to back this up, but I also think soaking the feed helps keep weight on. I have been soaking my mixture for years (just using hot tap water). Originally it was just to prevent "sorting", but then when I started to feed beet pulp, it became mandatory and I have been VERY pleased with the results. Not only have I never had a colic on my place (and I am now knocking wood furiously!!) ,but it seems to help keep the wgt on as well.

    I think it might be because the food is sort of half-digested already when the horse eats it, but again, that's just my theory.

    There are plenty of fat products out there, so look around, but the way I look at it, why spend $20 a bag for some name brand feed when (if you look at the ingredients) all it contains is oats, beet pulp and fat?



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,312

    Default

    Fat is an efficient source of calories, but is completely devoid of other nutrients. You sort of still have to do the math. I have all easy keepers so the only reason I use fat is for shiny coats.
    Click here before you buy.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2004
    Location
    Still here ~ not yet there
    Posts
    6,309

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Fat is an efficient source of calories, but is completely devoid of other nutrients. You sort of still have to do the math. I have all easy keepers so the only reason I use fat is for shiny coats.
    However, the OP is trying to put weight on the horse(s). Although your belief is that a hard keeper has a nutrional imbalance, I am not aware of any hard science that backs up your theory.

    Endurance riders tend to feed their horses a high fat diet because they burn so many cals. Nothing mysterious about it.

    In general, for people as well as animals, if you want to add weight, you add calories. Period. And since fat has twice as many calories as protein or carbs, adding fat is the most efficent way to add calories. Like you said, just do the math



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    The Prairie
    Posts
    5,371

    Default

    YMMV depending on what is inexpensive in your area, but around here the most cost effective feed would be:

    Beet pulp, rolled oats (good, heavy oats that are sometimes referred to as "racehorse oats"), canola oil bought in bulk (more or less, depending on how many calories the horse needs) and vit/min supplement made by a local feed mill.

    Most eat that quite happily once they get used to beet pulp. If you needed to entice I would add a bit of molasses or corn syrup until they got used to the taste of the beet pulp and then back off the sugar.

    However...might be different in Fla, where they don't grow the stuff I have referred to, hence the previous advice to talk to the locals.

    Good quality oats have a decent amount of protein but if you think you need some more there is always soybean meal.
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,312

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyzteke View Post
    However, the OP is trying to put weight on the horse(s). Although your belief is that a hard keeper has a nutrional imbalance, I am not aware of any hard science that backs up your theory.

    My belief is what?! I said no such thing and I don't think you'll EVER find me using the term "nutritional imbalance." I don't apply "beliefs" to feeding horses. The OP indicated that her horses were, in the past, "butter fat" which would indicate "easy keeper" to me. And there is no mention of "putting weight" on these horses. The OP is looking for feed options that are less costly, not a means of putting on weight.

    But the fact remains that if one is looking for feed options that are low cost, one cannot just find the cheapest calorie source without accounting for the animals' non-caloric needs, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, etc. None of which are present in a pure fat source such as oil.
    Click here before you buy.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2006
    Location
    Seabeck - the soggy peninsula
    Posts
    2,842

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyzteke View Post
    However, the OP is trying to put weight on the horse(s). Although your belief is that a hard keeper has a nutrional imbalance, I am not aware of any hard science that backs up your theory.

    Endurance riders tend to feed their horses a high fat diet because they burn so many cals. Nothing mysterious about it.

    In general, for people as well as animals, if you want to add weight, you add calories. Period. And since fat has twice as many calories as protein or carbs, adding fat is the most efficent way to add calories. Like you said, just do the math
    There is plenty of hard science and good clinical anecdotes to back up that system. You just have to search and be open to challenging your own beliefs and theories. It is useful to have been there and done that to a certain extent with nutritional studies or done the work yourself. Corn oil is not readily digestible for most horses. The hard science is current on that. What oil is able to be digested is still in the varying stages of research but it does all depend upon what enzymes/vitamins/metabolic insufficiencies the horse or any other creature suffers from.

    Rather than batting in the dark, use a good ration balancer and an excellent hay with a profile that you can understand. I think Progressive Feed has a good all round feed that has worked wonders on big, hard keeping dressage horses that I knew about a year ago in Virginia Beach but it all depends upon what soil nutrients are available in the pasture/hay and feed as a total diet, as well of course upon the usage required of the horse. Do the work and read the latest studies. Oh, and cast aside the touchy feely belief system, all that will give you is a not so good case of SIDS.
    "I have brought on the hatred of Wall Street and I relish it".
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt



Similar Threads

  1. saddle suggestions on a budget
    By knh39 in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Jun. 9, 2012, 09:10 PM
  2. Saddle suggestions (with a low budget!)
    By SquishTheBunny in forum Dressage
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Aug. 23, 2010, 12:30 PM
  3. Replies: 13
    Last Post: Feb. 7, 2010, 01:34 PM
  4. Any suggestions for a show pad on a teeny budget?
    By imnotclever in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Nov. 8, 2009, 07:00 AM
  5. Suggestions for a nice saddle on a limited budget
    By Beethoven in forum Dressage
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: Nov. 2, 2008, 03:11 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •