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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2008
    Location
    Deschapelles, Haiti
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    2,568

    Default Calcium Carbonate / limestone flour

    Can anyone tell me more about the Calcium carbonate/ "limestone flour" used in horse feeds to balance Ca:P ratios? Is it truely just fine-ground rock without other processing such as heat treatment?

    Calcium carbonate tablets for ME tend to invoke constipation, is there any increased risk of colic with using this as a ratio balancer?

    I have to keep weight on a group of ponies including youngsters, and we just can't get enough legume anything to do the normal solution of feeding good calcium rich hay. Beet anything is not available in 4-pony quality and they have all declared beets Utterly Inedible when I've tried feeding them. Corn and bran we have plenty of, but we have to feed them in scary volumes given the probable calcium deficit in the dry season forages available. We DO have tons of limestone including some softer versions I could have ground somehow, if just grinding will work and if I know how much would be safe to feed for a given amount of grain.

    Thanks!
    HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
    www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,395

    Default

    Limestone can be a source of calcium carbonate. However depending of the extent of dolomitization (which can vary greatly within a formation) some to much of the calcium can be replaced by another +2 cation (magnesium).

    Quarries that market limestone as a feed ingredient routinely test to ensure calcium vs magensium level so rations can be balanced correctly.

    So what I am getting at is it a tad more complicated than just grinding up any limestone formation and adding X amount to the feed.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2008
    Location
    Deschapelles, Haiti
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    2,568

    Default

    As a former geology major, I was thinking the same thing about not knowing the magnesium levels and seeing dolomitization in some areas between us and Port. Though I doubt these ponies are getting much magnesium from local plants, either.

    I'd like to find a solution that the local Haitians and I can use without being hostage to the cost and 4-6 month delays of shipping things in via container. Since CaCO3 is used as whiting in ceramics there's an off chance I could find a ceramics version for sale somewhere in Port au Prince.

    My biggest worry, based on the effect of calcium carbonate pills on me, is that I give to much and get a pony constipated or coliced.
    HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
    www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
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    1,395

    Default

    HHHHhhhuuuuummmmm. I guess the problem I see is that sand (as in quartz) is common in cermanics too. Is this cermanics grade CaCO3 going to come with a guarentee of SiO4 free. Sand is a frequent contaminate in some limestone formations and the cermanics industry might be ok with this.

    Sand not so OK in the horse gut.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2008
    Location
    Deschapelles, Haiti
    Posts
    2,568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by D Taylor View Post
    HHHHhhhuuuuummmmm. I guess the problem I see is that sand (as in quartz) is common in cermanics too. Is this cermanics grade CaCO3 going to come with a guarentee of SiO4 free. Sand is a frequent contaminate in some limestone formations and the cermanics industry might be ok with this.

    Sand not so OK in the horse gut.
    Quartz is pretty common in limestones as well! All these are things I need to research to come up with a solution. Just bringing in alfalfa pellets won't work because the containers are usually focused on medical materials and medicines - nothing potentially buggy and nothing too bulky can go on them without a lot of justification.

    I've seen a note or two somewhere on line that feed grade CaCO3 is sold in some feed stores? Who carries it? And how much per day might a 550 pound horse need to balance, say, 2 quarts of corn when the forage Ca:P ratio is close to 1:1? I'll have to look at what volume/weight of material I'd be shipping in.

    Sheesh, half the threads I post are about problems that would be solved by a decent in-country farm supply store
    HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
    www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,395

    Default

    I personally never use "loose minerals" in the rations. Feeding too many to do a little scoop of this and a little scoop of that and settling during mixing is also a concern with loose minerals. I use a premix fortified pellet that cover several minerals/vits in my custon blend that I have the local mill mix for me.

    It would be poor advice for me to say feed X amount CaCO3. I have no idea what Ca levels are of any of the forages, grains or brans you are feeding without that test information.

    But if I wanted either CaCO in the form of limestone flour or DiCal or any other mineral all I have to do is stop by my local mill. I live in the heartland and feeds and other feed ingredients are at my finger tips. But the import regulations and cost of shipping would be nightmarish I am sure for you. But if you can import I do know "natural limestone flour" added to bran mash was (and still is) popular in the UK. Perhaps you can google that and can view a product label with a mineral assay and recommended daily dosage.

    From there if you want to take advantage of local limestone resources as potential feed ingredients it is going totake more research. Is there a university with a geology dept you can request information from? The biochem of your limestones may have already been mapped.

    Then I think another potential source you have not considered is the fishing industry. Crab shell meal, fish meal, shrimp meal and such are all high in Ca. Such products are foreign to me but I see them marketed here and there to the organics crowd. Also egg shell calcium which I know some folks dissolve in lemon juice (produces calcium citrate). Google it and you find recipes.

    Attached is a link for your reference about minerals for horses....

    http://www.understanding-horse-nutri.../minerals.html



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2008
    Location
    Deschapelles, Haiti
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    Default

    DT, thanks for helping look up info sources.

    follow - up: I am trying to reach our Vet and see if the National Veternary Lab does feed or forage analyses. I am not sure that they do, I have always dealt with them about ruminant and pig disease IDs and the vet has never mentioned getting Ca:P data from them when I have discussed the dry season feed regimen with him before. If they do test for Ca:P, they probably can recommend an in-country calcium source. They would know if any fishing sourced meals are available, or if the National University has more info on Calcium carbonate production.

    I might be able to get typical value ranges on bran and corn ratios here, but corn grows in so many different conditions that it will have quite a range from one source to another. Unfortunately, I can only store a couple week's feed at a time or the bugs it comes with start multiplying, and they would probably have at least a week's turnaround on analyses. So I can't buy in bulk and have a test result that is good for a couple month's worth of feed. Same problem with cut and carry fresh fodder. Hopefully we can at least identify what ballpark we are in.
    HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
    www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2008
    Location
    Deschapelles, Haiti
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    Default Rats - I thought so

    Another update: I was right, vet says the National Lab doesn't do feed analyses. In fact, it's still down for rebuilding.

    I may throw some of the corn I have in a baggie and start freezing it to kill the bugs, then ask him to carry it to get it analyzed when he goes to the US. I would at least have a ballpark figure for one batch.

    I found one decent list of Ca:P ranges at http://oregonfeed.org/mehren_art_0308.htm

    "Phosphorus content of feed differs quite dramatically. Some typical values follow:

    Product Calcium Phosphorus Grain 0.03 0.30(corn,barley,oat,wheat=) Corn Silage 0.31 0.27
    Corn Stover (stalks,leaves,cob) 0.49 0.09 Alfalfa Hay 1.40 0.23
    Pea Hay 1.39 0.28
    Wheat Straw 0.19 0.09 (barley,oat straw =) Spring grass 0.36 0.26
    Grass Hay 0.18 0.26
    Grass Seed Screenings 0.29 0.28
    Grass Seed Straw 0.26 0.08
    Wet Corn Distillers w/ Solubles 0.04 0.58
    Grazing Triticale 0.20 0.28

    These are only AVERAGE values; your feed may be quite different. By-products and hay or silage have the greatest differences. Grain does not vary much."

    Some of our dry season feeds I haven't found numbers on yet. Bran isn't on here but is something like 11:1 P over Ca.

    Vet and I will be discussing options on Tuesday morning: anyone else's experience with balancing grain Ca:P ratios with things beyond legume hay and beet pulp would be much appreciated.

    PS: DT, we can hardly be in more different climates!
    Last edited by HorsesinHaiti; Sep. 25, 2011 at 07:24 PM. Reason: added info
    HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
    www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog



  9. #9

    Default Limestone Flour

    Southern Haiti has very pure Calcium Carbonate, that when processed is very suitable for adding to food, and vastly superior to other mineral calcium sources out there. If you still have the need contact me. We are trying to develop a local Haitian market for this, so we can justify a small milling operation. Currently we are processing this in several US locations.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2005
    Location
    Elmwood, Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,383

    Default

    When we first bought our farm in 1988, we had to deal
    with a severe drought which meant no alfalfa hay was
    to be had; the local dairy farmers reserved what they had
    for their best cows. We bought a mare at auction who
    turned out to be pregnant and needed supplemental
    calcium. We fed feed lime (calcium carbonate) along
    with other supplemental feed to provide proper nutrition
    for this mare. She had no colic problems at all.

    Could you get some help with horse nutrition from the
    owner of Alltech? I know that company started a facility
    in Haiti; maybe he would take an interest in your nutrition
    problems. Alltech does make feed supplements I believe.
    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, Wisconsin



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default

    The information is very interesting. I like the post. Thank you, this advice will come in handy. It made me understand something, and it is that I never knew before.



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