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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2012
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    Coastal NC
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    935

    Default Lowest calorie feed option?

    Help! My quarter horse gelding is an air fern. I am trying to re-evaluate his feeding plan to reduce calories where possible. Right now he gets 1.5 pounds grain in the a.m and 2 pounds soaked alfalfa in the p.m. I feed a good quality timmothy hay throughout the day in nibble nets. I make sure they aren't wasting but otherwise feed hay liberally. He gets a daily multi-vitamin.

    He loves the idea of eating and I want to give him something when I feed the others (one a hard keeper and one an average keeper)....what is the lowest calorie option for the air fern? Alfalfa, oats, grain or something else?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
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    16,258

    Default

    If you just need something to put in his bucket so he feels like he's getting something, how about a soaked timothy hay pellet?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    6,313

    Default

    Hay pellets for sure...or, in the case of my fat guy, who really needs NO extra calories, I just found him a pelleted vitamin supplement. His 1/4 cup of that makes him feel like he's getting something, without having to lick up a powder.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
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    7,242

    Default

    I give my fat pony a multivitamin formulated for grass, 1/2 oz. per meal. I give her 1/4 flake of stemmy hay to enjoy while the others are eating. Then her muzzle goes back on and they all go out. They all have 24/7 access to 3 bales of hay in Cinchchix nets, hanging under my 10 by 50 overhang/shed where it is dry. She can only get what hay she manuevers through muzzle and net.

    I would not say she is a fan of this feeding plan, but she is STILL overweight so I don't plan to change a thing. Her nutritional needs are being met and the muzzle/hay combination gives her pony brain something to do. The "easy access" hay replaces her grain meal and she is as excited about it as the others are about their grain ration.

    An air fern does not need 3.5 pounds of concentrate and free choice hay. That's way too much and I'd reduce the concentrate first. 2 of my other horses (both QHs) are on TC Lite (3/4 pound each meal), which is a ration balancer that is on the lowish side in calories. That's a good intermediate step for your horse to try.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2002
    Location
    Georgia
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    6,160

    Default

    Cut the grain and Alfalfa pellets totally, and give soaked - no sugar added - Beet Pulp. If he won't eat the BP, then add a little Alfalfa - or Timothy if you can find it - pellets to it. He also may need to be dry lotted...



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2012
    Location
    Coastal NC
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    935

    Default

    Thanks y'all. I have started separating him from the others during much of the day and limiting his hay intake. During the winter he is on a dry lot. I will completely eliminate the grain concentrate and reduce the alfalfa to about 1/4 a scoop, a little less than 1 pound.

    He will eat anything I put in his bucket so hopefully this will help. If it does not help a little I will have to place him on the Fordtracktor diet plan! I might personally need it after the holidays

    Are alfalfa pellets and timmothy pellets comparable in calories? Does beet pulp have less calories than both? I always think of it for the hard keeper.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
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    1,395

    Default

    Per pound BP is fairly high cal. But once soaked and "volumized" it swells up and so you really are not feeding that much when you are thinking a couple hand hands and a lot of water.

    Fatties as the other have said do not need grain. But a modest amount of flax (3-4oz) and a cup of whole roasted soybeans will give him the omega's and EAA's he needs. Add a vit/mineral sup and you are good to go.

    If that is too many calories then look at an EAA and a vit mineral sup.

    If you want something more to put in his bucket I suggest soybean hull pellets. They only run about 700 cal to the pound. High fiber and 85% of that fiber is fermentable.....meaning fills them up.

    I use them on my herd of easy keepers. Especially with this drought and it does stretch hay supplies nicely.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2005
    Location
    Unionville, PA
    Posts
    3,432

    Default

    I use Triple Crown Lite ration balancer. Designed for minis and ponies! No soaking so it's easy.
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer
    http://www.canterusa.org/



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    35,559

    Default

    No grain, no alfalfa (not even in his hay), use a cup or 2 of shredded beet pulp, add a vit/min mix, and if his protein/lysine is low, add Tri-Amino.

    Triple Crown Lite isn't a ration balancer Their 30% Supplement is the ration balancer.

    TCL is sort of a mid-way product - not a RB but not a full-fledged grain product either.

    And for an easy keeper, it's often still too many calories - 1lb/500lb, so a large horse could be eating close to 3lb and that's just too much for many of the really easy keepers.
    ______________________________
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Vermont
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    Default

    For reference, the TC Lite is 1150 calories per pound, so in order to feed the amount to make sure they're getting all of the vitamins and minerals it provides for the daily amount, you'd need to feed 2 to 3 lbs for the average horse, which is up to 3450 calories.

    The TC 30% ration balancer is 1266 calories/lb and for the average horse, you would feed only 1 lb per day. So, really, the TC Lite provides MORE calories than their ration balancer does.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



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

    Default

    Sucker for horses is right. You need to look at the bottom line of calories in the total ration including the hay. Then hone in on a total calorie sum that works for your horse.

    Just for example 3-4oz of flax would run about 420cals, a cup of whole roasted soybeans adds in another 450 cal. Vit/mineral supp is going to have afew with the carrier. but really insignificant amounts.

    So now the horse is getting a less than 900cal high quality EAA and EFA feed. But not much volume. The beauty of it is I can allow more hay and chew time on that hay cuz I miminized calories.

    This winter has been a real challenge with the drought for my herd. They are getting 5-6lbs of my drought ration to make up for the hay shortage. When grass was still hanging around a bit they started to get plump. But as soon as the grass was totally gone the weights stabilized. The hay just is not that wonderful this year with the odd growing season so we are keeping waist lines in check.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
    Location
    NY
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    4,354

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    For reference, the TC Lite is 1150 calories per pound, so in order to feed the amount to make sure they're getting all of the vitamins and minerals it provides for the daily amount, you'd need to feed 2 to 3 lbs for the average horse, which is up to 3450 calories.

    The TC 30% ration balancer is 1266 calories/lb and for the average horse, you would feed only 1 lb per day. So, really, the TC Lite provides MORE calories than their ration balancer does.
    This. We just switched from the Lite to the 30% for my fatty. She gets a small handful of the TC senior in with it just to break up the texture but in the summer I probably won't even bother.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
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    10,155

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by quarterhorse4me View Post
    Help! My quarter horse gelding is an air fern. I am trying to re-evaluate his feeding plan to reduce calories where possible. Right now he gets 1.5 pounds grain in the a.m and 2 pounds soaked alfalfa in the p.m. I feed a good quality timmothy hay throughout the day in nibble nets. I make sure they aren't wasting but otherwise feed hay liberally. He gets a daily multi-vitamin.

    He loves the idea of eating and I want to give him something when I feed the others (one a hard keeper and one an average keeper)....what is the lowest calorie option for the air fern? Alfalfa, oats, grain or something else?
    I bolded what I think is the problem. Air fern = no grain/concentrates in my world.

    My air fern Connemara who hunts twice a week- that translates into hunts about 10 miles long at a steady trot/canter- plus a trail ride or two during the week, gets not one kernel of grain. She gets a little alfalfa and nice rations of brome (grass) hay.

    Good luck with your guy.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
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    7,242

    Default

    Yes, you are technically right that TC Lite is not a ration balancer but it is kind of a hybrid between the two which is why i use it for my "medium keepers." 2 pounds a day is plenty for them, but 1 pound is probably not enough. It requires much less than TC Senior which is the other feed I feed (5-6 pounds a day minimum there). You are not supposed to feed more than 4 pounds of TC Lite a day.

    I'd use the 30% ration balancer if I had a horse that needed no more than 1 pound/day but I don't have one in that range -- 1 pound would be way too much for Fat Pony.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Vermont
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    Default

    Yeah, for an "easy keeper" or "air fern" I would find a pelleted vitamin/mineral supplement and feed that with just hay. Vitamins and minerals without the calories.

    Mine are mediums - I can feed the 1 lb of TC 30% without causing weight gain, so that is what I use.

    My mare gets that in addition to alfalfa cubes, my gelding gets ONLY the TC 30%.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2005
    Posts
    3,278

    Default

    Smartpak makes a pelleted vitamin that can be fed without grain. You also can add a handful of grain and/or flax if you need to add some volume to keep him happy and chewing for almost a minute. I know what it is like to feed an air fern. We have one air fern and one, older, difficult keeper.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2012
    Location
    Coastal NC
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    Default

    Thanks again for all the great input. He is still relatively young (5yrs) so I want to get a handle on his weight now. He really could care less what he eats, he just likes to eat.

    I picked up TC lite today and will give it a go for a couple of months along with a few other modifications to his feed/hay routine. If that does not work I will try the TC 30%. I hate having to soak hay pellets and beet pulp so the TC lite really fits better in my morning schedule when I am more rushed.

    Come Jan. 1, I suppose I will join him!!!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2008
    Posts
    2,322

    Default

    This is what I use with my easy keepers:

    1. Triple Crown 30%. They don't get 1 lb. a day, but some.

    2. Wenland's One N Only

    3. Thrive

    Both of the above are extruded feeds (like dog food) and are light enough that they can be fed free choice. I do clicker training, so I need some sort of treat I can use in large quantities (one pellet at a time).

    4. Regular grass hay in a small-mesh net. There is no way I'd give them alfalfa hay.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2012
    Posts
    748

    Default

    If you just want him to get something while the others are eating, carrots are always a good option. You can just top that with a good multi-vit supplement or balancer.



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