i have a very fat pony - she is on thyroid meds, goes out with a muzzle,etc. i am thinking of bedding with straw instead of shavings/saw dust. My question is - if she has straw in her stall and she eats it, will it cause her to gain weight? Just like me, gaining weight is the last thing she needs!
I've seen ponies eat a LOT of straw. Studies show that ponies are more efficient in obtaining nutrients -they have to be where they evolved. Fiber is fermented to VFA, which are a useful source of calories. I've also seen a huge variability in the nutrient content of straw- some batches can be quit high in sugar in the stems, especially when anything happens to prevent full grain filling like drought or hail.
You might get lucky, but I went to a lot of trouble and expense to keep my ponies on shavings. Even when straw was free.
so in short - i could get lucky OR she could stuff herself with straw and founder!
my problem is that my hay man makes beautiful hay and the hay i have is toooooo rich for her. i have been trying to find
first cut from this year but cant cause second cut was so late in coming due to drought - everyone used up their first cut.
as a result she gets very little hay and i am trying to find something that she could "nibble" on without causing damage.
my other horses bed on straw so i was thinking of changing her.
My fat IR pony is bedded on straw and doesn't eat it. I'd try a little over shavings to start, see if he eats it, and go from there. He'll probably sample some, mine did, but must not have liked the taste. My fat boy would eat just about anything, so I'm lucky he doesn't like straw.
When my mini was gelded I was told by the vet's office when I made the appointment that it was imperative that he be bedded on straw. Shavings were not okay to bed the stall with because they could get into the incision and cause an infection. After the procedure the vet helped me walk him to his stall where my mini immediately began to chow down on the straw.
When it was apparent that he was going to keep eating the vet told me to take him off the straw and bed him on local hay instead because the straw could cause an impaction. If the hay was not available then shavings would be better than the straw because as he told me, "I would rather treat an infection than have to euthanize because of an impaction."
So I'm wondering if the chance of impaction is really that high? Is it because my mini is so small that the chances of impaction are higher? Is my vet just very cautious?
Also, if it matters, I'm located in the PNW. Maybe our straw is not as soft as in other parts of the country? (Never dealt with straw before, so not familiar with it.)