So, I've been on the prowl looking for balanced extruded feed that can be nutritionally balanced for broodmares that are specifically labelled as LOW sugar and LOW starch, i.e under 10% for both components, preferrably even lower.
This vast search all started because of one broodmare who had a violent allergic reaction to a vaccine which set her off into a severe laminitis as noted on my previous thread. This reaction seems to have changed her and created profound sensitivities.
I'm considering switching all of my broodmares over to low-sugar low-starch feed, because I'm not convinced that any horse needs high sugar and high starches in their diets at any time, least of all when they're pregnant.
I never thought this would be so incredibly difficult.
I thought my problems were solved when I found ProForm's ProFiber Crunch. It says NSC (max) 9.8%. Nothing specifically stated about sugar. Made all these claims about how great it is for horses prone to laminitis, blah, blah, blah. I tried all my mares on it. They went CRAZY for it, practically standing on their heads for it, including my problem mare. Then I tasted it. It was sweet. VERY sweet. So, if it's low sugar, what's making it sweet, hmmmm??? As soon as I tasted it, I pulled my problem mare off it right away, started icing her legs, increased her bute, but it was too late. 2 days, fed less than a 1/4 pound and she spiked a rebound laminitis. Lovely.
Then I found Purina WellSolve L/S because it's label details 4% sugar, 7% starch, nominal soy with most of the protein coming from alfalfa. The label details the exact ingredients in the product. Yippee, says I. Finally a feed supplier who understands the problems. Problem solved, right?
Not so fast.
Purina USA is not ALLOWED to bring this product into Canada and cannot make this product at their Canadian plant. Canadian Purina product that is "similar" is called Integri-T which they claim has the "lowest sugar and starch on the market", but it is loaded in soy. And I mean LOADED. The sum total of their "feed analysis" is:
Crude Protein 13.0%
Crude Fat 6.0%
Crude Fibre 25.0%
Copper 35 mg/kg
Vitamin A 6500 I.U./kg
Vitamin D3 1200 I.U./kg
Vitamin E 250 I.U./kg
Selenium 0.3 mg/kg
Whooptidoodah. This tells me nothing. There is no NSC or ESC label. I'm supposed to take them at their word that this is really low sugar and low starch. If I taste it and it's sweet, then it's not so low in sugar now is it.
Canada's CFIA will allow Belgium Cavalor feeds to come in, but only 4 of their products and that is only because it is the ONLY broad-spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral enriched feed fully approved by the FEI as containing nothing that tests positive, so all the FEI show jumper horses are on it. At first CFIA was not going to allow it in to Canada, but all the international FEI show jumpers spending their summers competing at Spruce Meadows made such a royal hoopla about it (feed store owner's words) and the CFIA was forced to allow those 4 products. All of them start with 35% sugar/starch! And Cavalor SuperForce is practically rocket fuel that even the show jumpers feed it only during show week before switching back to lower octane.
I also can't get Buckeye in Alberta, although Canadian Buckeye "low starch" feed is still too high at 12%. Triple Crown is not distributed in Alberta.
How is it that CFIA has the right to deprive Canadian owners/breeders and their horses the kind of feeds they require? It's ridiculous. And for what it's worth, I have yet to find a beet pulp produced by a Canadian manufacturer, which is also available in Alberta, that doesn't have loads of molasses in it either. At least I can soak and rinse to lower the sugar, but quite frankly THIS is not a balanced feed to give ANY broodmare, let alone one with special needs, even if you add a no-calorie vitamin/mineral supplement. Even balancers have SUGAR. And when sugar is not an option due to supersensitivities what are you left with?
The CFIA only allows feed distributed through Canada IF they're made by Canadian plants and supporting Canadian farmers. I get we should support our farmers. However, Canadians should be allowed CHOICES and there should be COMPETITION amongst the feed manufacturers as this is what benefits the CONSUMER. But CFIA controls everything that goes into the mouths of all humans, bovines, equines, pork, poultry, etc. There are pros and cons to this sort of control. They're trying to protect us, but sometimes the control is too extreme to the point of ridiculousness.
I'm just venting. I'm getting off my soap box now.
Have you looked into Lifeline Carb Care by otter co-op? I don't see a nsc% listed, but I'm sure if you contact their nutritionist he could tell you. There's no molasses or grains on the feed label, though.
I'm surprised you can't find beet pulp without molasses in Alberta. We can get it in BC.
Your other option is not feeding a pellet. Feed hay and alfalfa and a good vit/min supplement. If she needs more energy then add oil.
Good luck finding a feed that works for your girl!
That is really aggravating. There's quite a lot of big breeding and training farms in Candada-- what do they all do?
Can you feed raw ingredients with a vitamin/mineral supplement? At least you could have a vit/min shipped in if it's not available locally, right? My alfalfa pellets are labeled "A product of Canada." Surely you should be able to purchase them there...
Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO
If you like the Buckeye feed maybe consider being a dealer? Or Triple Crown?
I am really surpirsed there is no Buckeye dealer in AB. I live in MB and there are 2 dealers within 15 min of my farm. One also sells Triple Crown.
I find feed brands available really vary from area to area in Canada. Where I live in BC all we can get is otter co-op, proform, and top shelf. I know other places in canada can get masterfeeds, buckeye and purina--you just can't buy it here for whatever reason.
I already use Hoffman's minerals which I think are fantastic. Their Horse Ration is the closest to what I need, but it is still too much soy. I contacted Hoffmans and asked if they would be willing to formulate for me a low sugar, low starch alfalfa protein formulation where the alfalfa has been water-leached of sugar. Haven't heard back yet.
rodawn, are you calling these guys or just emailing? In my (admittedly limited) experience, the people you want to talk to at a feed mill are not the kind of guys who do the email thing. If you've been emailing and not getting a response, you might find calling to yield more favorable results.