advice for overhauling feeding program (changing grains)
I think this little zilapatrol (sp) issue may be the final straw in my relationship with Purina. I have been feeding purina for the past 18 years to a wide assortment of babies, breeding stock, racehorses, saddle horses, seniors, etc.
I don't remember ever having a problem with it in Oregon, but since moving to WA, once or twice a year I have had to return bags of feed because no one on the farm would touch it and I have some pigs in equine bodies.
The news of the zilapatrol in CA combined with the issues I've had up here has made me realize that purina really has an issue with quality control.
So, how to even go about switching? I currently feed Strategy G, Strategy healthy edge, ultium, ultium growth, and omolene 300. I know all about introducing a new feed slowly and all of that. I am more concerned with what and how much to feed of the new product once I am completely switched over.
Right now I'm printing out the feed tags from triple crown to see what is comparable, but it's just overwhelming.
I did once upon a time, know how to balance a ration, but honestly, I've been feeding the same feed for so long that I just "know" how much to feed of what.
Anyone else done this before?
Any other reccomendations besides Triple Crown? It has to be something available in WA.
Thanks, it almost feels like I'm ending a relationship that has been on the outs for awhile. LOL
I don't know what is available in WA, sorry. But usually there are high quality grains in every brand. So if you can find out what is carried in your area, that would help us out a lot because we could recommend specific grains.
Triple Crown is one of my favorite brands. My horses are shiny and dappled year round. Pennfield is another great brand, as is Buckeye. McCauley's is good as well but I think they are strictly east coast. Blue Seal's sentential line is great too. Oh and Seminole is supposedly a great brand but I have no experience with them. So call your local feed stores and see what brands they carry.
You could also go a more forage based route, feeding beet pulp and alfalfa pellets for calories and adding in a rb or multi-vite for nutritional needs. This way is a bit more time consuming but can be well worth it as you have more control over what your horses eat. You can add things like flax seed, rice bran, canola oil, etc depending on the horse's individual needs. The downside to this (besides the time spent figuring out what to feed each horse) is that generally you end up feeding more than an actual concentrated feed to get the same amount of calories. Not good for hard keepers.
Assuming you have TC in your area, here is what I would do.
Strategy GX and Ultium can both be replaced by TC Senior
You might get away with replacing the Healthy Edge with Senior as well, but I know the Healthy Edge is designed for easy keepers, so I might choose TC Lite for those horses instead. It's a similar idea, a grain for horses that need more than a rb but not quite the calories of your traditional grain.
Omolene 300 and Ultium Growth could both be replaced by TC Growth.
So you are potentially changing from 5 grains to 2-3. You also are getting better quality products and will most definitely be feeding LESS per horse. When I switched my TB from Strategy GX to TC Senior I ended up feeding almost 2 lb less of grain per day.
I'm not familiar with most of the Purina products, but Triple Crown is all I feed. We have everything from foals to a 24 yr old pony.
A few years ago our race horses used to be on the TC Performance, but we switched them over to the Complete for the higher fat content and even they did great on it. We may re-evaluate what we feed them and possibly go back to one of the TC Performance formulas, but then again maybe not. If it's not broken.....
Triple Crown 30% is their ration balancer and Lite is their "more than a ration balancer but less than their regular feeds". They are both pelleted. My easy keepers are on straight Lite.
Triple Crown complete is more comparable to the Ultium or maybe the Omolene 400, I think. It is a beet pulp based, high fat feed, very high calorie, but not high grain. All of our horses get this. Even though we have all TBs, only 2 of them eat the minimum reccommended amout of Complete (5 lbs or more). Everyone else gets whatever Complete keeps their weight where it belongs, plus 1/2 or 1 lb of Lite to make sure their nutrition level is high enough. This is what worked out to be the most economical for us. (even more than using the 30% as a "topper" or buying a vitamin supplement)
I would think, between the 30% for the super duper air ferns, the Lite for the easy keepers or ones who can't have much in the way of sugars, and the Complete for everyone else, it would cover almost everyone's needs.
I'm with TC like you've been with Purina (very long term relationship--lol), so can't really help you with amounts. I had a list, but I'm sure it's outdated now, of how many calories per pound each of the TC feeds were. That might be a good starting point for figuring out where you are heading with amounts. IIRC, TC calorie counts were WAY higher than the Purina feeds, with the exception of the Ultium.
Just as examples, here's what some of my horses get of the TC products. All get free choice, as much as they can hold, grass hay 24/7.
2 hardest keepers. Stallion--harder keeper, in sporadic work, 10 lbs TC Complete
Broodmare 16.2 with foal at side, peak lactation--hard keeper, 15 lbs TC Complete (but once the foal is weaned, she generally drops back down to 8 lbs Complete for the duration of her pregnancy).
Middle of the road keepers--16.2 TB gelding, regular work, 1/2 lb TC Lite plus 5 lbs Complete
16.2 TB mare, regular to hard work, 1 lb TC Lite plus 3 1/2 lbs Complete
Easiest keeprs--15.1 TB 3yr old, regular work, 1 1/2 lbs Lite, plus 1/2 lb Complete (only gets the complete cause I feel bad--like she's being cheated! lol)
Dales pony, 15.1, light work,--1 lb Lite. He should get 2 lbs because of his size, but that would be too much calorie wise for him. I really should put him on the 30% ration balancer, but he looks fabulous so I don't bother at this point.
Anyway, good luck with your switchover to whatever you choose. If you go with Triple Crown though, I think you'll be happy. I don't know anyone personally who feeds TC and doesn't love it (aside from occasional complaining about the price--but you do have to pay for quality.)
I don't know about which grains match up to which (altho I think Safe Choice is pretty close to Strategy), but I've had no complaints at all with using Nutrena for the last 15 years or so. Consistency and quality have never been a problem and my horses love it.
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
LMF would be a good choice, and should be available in WA (it is down here in the SW WA/PDX area). I feed rolled oats, rice bran and soaked BP....but I, too, have noticed that quality control is an issue in simple beet pulp brand to brand--though that could simply be the mill's issue, not the company whose bag I buy.
Good luck! I hate messing with feed regimens.
When I have fed pelleted feeds and such, I've had very good results with Nutrena, as well.
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
I really recommend FeedXl as a source to fiddle around with your horses diets. It's REALLY helpful, and you can add/change as many things as you want, as many times as you want. It's totally worth it! It's also really nice being able to know you aren't spending more money than you need.
I would go to your local feed stores, and see what brands they carry, then go from there. Good luck! I just totally overhauled my pony's diet, and without FeedXl I would have been TOTALLY frazzled, lol.
"On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."
Thank you all for the input. I am going to call TC on Monday and see if they will help me. I am also looking into lmf. I tried switching to safe choice several years ago and didn't like it, although I know several people who do.
I love the idea of using feedxl. I had completely forgotten about it. One question, does anyone know if it will take free choice hay into account. For all of my horses, I just keep their hay racks full at all times. I'm not sure if I could determine how much they actually eat
FeedXL doesn't take "free choice" hay into account as far as I know. I used the program a year or two ago. I would try to get an estimate of how much hay your horses eat each per day. Or maybe how much hay they eat in the stall and then double it. But without a hay analysis in the system the program is only guessing on nutritional amounts (which can vary greatly from hay to hay, even of the same type/cutting/soil) so it won't be very exact anyway.