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  1. #1
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    Oct. 3, 2002
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    Question Ration Balancer Or Alfalfa Pellets?

    17.5 yo gelding blanketed and out 24/7 a bit south of Great Lakes area - so, yes; snow & temps well below freezing in January & February. Usually.

    I have been feeding him a nice warm sloppy mix of Timothy/Alfalfa cubes, beet pulp, 1/4 cup of BOSS and Purina RB twice a day. Also getting mixed grass hay.

    I want to take him off of the cubes & RB, and replace that with alfalfa pellets, as he is a little on the thin side, and I'd like to put more weight on him.

    Thoughts?



  2. #2
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    Mar. 8, 2004
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    Default

    How does taking feed away put more weight on a horse? The math doesn't add up to me. A ration balancer is the starting point for my horses then I add to that as necessary for the particular horses needs so I would definitely keep that.


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  3. #3
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    Well, mostly I would be replacing the T/A cubes for the A pellets. He'd be getting the same amount of feed, but just different.
    As he's not getting much of the R/B (he never had any last year),
    I'm wondering if it's a waste of money. Why not just replace the pound of R/B each feeding with a pound of A pellets?
    Switching to straight alfalfa pellets from T/A cubes seems like it would be more nutrient-dense, no?



  4. #4
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    Oct. 26, 2007
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    A ration balancer is basically a vitamin / mineral / protein supplement that is designed to complement the hay you are feeding.

    Alfalfa pellets add protein, calories and calcium to the diet – not really comparable to a RB.

    I feed my horse a diet of alfalfa hay, and a ration balancer designed for alfalfa hay. The RB is not fed to add calories, rather to balance / provide mineral and vitamins not supplied by hay alone.

    Its more like saying, hey, I take a Flintstone vitamin every day, but I am thinking about replacing it with a chicken breast instead.

    I do agree, that alfalfa pellets would be more calorie / protein dense than an alfalfa timothy mix.


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  5. #5
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    No. Ration balancers provide protein and vitamin and minerals. Alfalfa pellets do little to none of that. Think of it like the old Total cereal commercials.



  6. #6
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    1lb of alfalfa pellets is about 1000 cal.

    1lb of most RBs is about 1200-1300 cal.

    So no, replacing one for the other, pound for pound, is not going to improve the situation.

    Since the RB isn't doing the job, switch to a regular fortified feed. It will be a good bit cheaper than the mix you're feeding now.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


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  7. #7
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    Oct. 10, 2007
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    Why not put him on triple crown senior if it's available where you are. It's great to put some weight on and breaks down nicely when wet. The calories are much higher I believe then ration balancer or plain alfalfa pellets.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


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  8. #8
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    Feb. 11, 2011
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    How much hay is the horse getting? Teeth OK?



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Taylor View Post
    How much hay is the horse getting? Teeth OK?
    About 25 lbs per day. More as it gets colder.

    I think what I will do, is keep him on the R/B, beet pulp, BOSS, and swap the T/A cubes for A pellets.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabicon View Post
    Why not put him on triple crown senior if it's available where you are. It's great to put some weight on and breaks down nicely when wet. The calories are much higher I believe then ration balancer or plain alfalfa pellets.
    I will check into this. I believe PBS Animal Health carries it.



  11. #11
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    Yes, nearly any fortified feed is going to have more calories per pound than any ration balancer. The additional benefit is you also feed more pounds for the same nutrition. This means, if the minimal amount you should feed of, say, TC Sr is 5lb/day, then that 5lb is going to provide roughly the same nutrition as 1lb of TC 30, but it's a calorie comparison of roughly 4500 to 1300, give or take.

    I realize this horse is big and gets 2lb of the RB, but that also means he should be getting more of the Sr.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nasalberry View Post
    About 25 lbs per day. More as it gets colder.
    Can he get more? He's a big boy

    I think what I will do, is keep him on the R/B, beet pulp, BOSS, and swap the T/A cubes for A pellets.
    That's a negligible increase in calories in a lb/lb swap. You can certainly get him to eat more a-pellets in a given time frame than any hay cubes, so you can feed more and get more calories that way.

    But while I love feeding a RB-based diet, the things you're adding to it are making it very expensive.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nasalberry View Post
    About 25 lbs per day. More as it gets colder.

    I think what I will do, is keep him on the R/B, beet pulp, BOSS, and swap the T/A cubes for A pellets.
    That might be a good start. I guess I forgot to ask which RB is the horse on?



  14. #14
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    The OP says it's Purina
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  15. #15
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    He's not that big - he's about 16.2 HH, and 1,245 lbs.
    He used to be a porker at 1,596 lbs!

    He can get more hay. The hay is not the best quality, and is mostly for the fiber and "stoke-the-furnace" factor.

    He also gets 1/4 veg oil in the wet mix.



  16. #16
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    Hehe, my bad, I somehow read the OP as he's a 17h+ guy

    hay can look on the poor side but still be pretty nice from a nutritional standpoint, so...

    Still, the first thing for a horse like this is all the hay he'll eat. If he's already there, that obviously won't work. But if he's ever without hay, then if that is a viable option, start there.

    The rest of my comments re: hard feed still stand
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  17. #17
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    My Thoroughbred maintained weight on 1 1/2 lb Progressive Grass Formula Diet Balancer and about 3 lb of alfalfa pellets per day. He'd also get alfalfa cubes when I was out 3-5 days / week. He started dropping weight over this summer... The vet recommended a high fat supplement and oil if he'd eat it. He's now getting 3 lb of Omegatin (20% fat supplement and about 1800-2000 kcal / lb) and 2 cups of canola oil a day. He's still getting his Progressive RB and some alfalfa pellets. He's now getting the alfalfa cubes every day (about 5-6 lb dry, given soaked with his evening grain and hay). I'll likely cut back on the alfalfa pellets or cubes once he picks up more weight.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    The OP says it's Purina
    Yes I saw that. But asking the OP for the brand. Purina bags more feeds and RB's then they promote as "their line". But some still call it Purina. I am asking which brand?



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Taylor View Post
    Yes I saw that. But asking the OP for the brand. Purina bags more feeds and RB's then they promote as "their line". But some still call it Purina. I am asking which brand?
    Enrich 32. If there is better, I'm all ears.



  20. #20
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    OP, the cost of a ration balancer, cubes, pellets, etc etc etc in order to get more calories is costing you more than just feeding ONE complete feed, like TC Senior.

    The TC Senior will give you the nutrients that the ration balancer is providing, adn the calories that you need. If the calories are not enough for weight, then add a fat supplement like oil or flax or cool calories or ...... whatever. And you won't need to be adding this, that, and the other thing, which will cost you more in the long run.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


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