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How would you feed him?

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  • How would you feed him?

    This post has probably been made 100 times but here it goes again. This is will a 17hh ottb adoption. The first pic is when i first brought him home, 2nd a couple months ago and third was a couple weeks ago. How would you feed him in order to gain weight and then maintain? How much weight would you like to put on him? He is outside 24/7 and is blanketed.

    (what he actually gets) free choice hay, 1 flake alfalfa, two 30 oz coffee can scoops of purina ultiam, 1 coffee can of alfalfa pellets and aloe and vegetable oil. Am and pm

  • #2
    Well, the photos aren't helpful...too small, and nothing to see in the first one but a skinny neck.

    It looks like weight is being added....so maybe the answer is do nothing different. It's not going to just appear overnight - I would think you would want weight gain over 4-6 months.

    One issue with free choice feeding is that it is hard to know how much he is actually eating. If he looks like he's eating all day, things are probably fine. If you suspect he's not eating enough hay, you may want to measure out hay for a couple of days and see how much is actually being consumed. Not sure how big your alfalfa flakes are but you could give a couple flakes extra - most horses love it and it is higher in calories than grass hay (in general).

    Comment


    • #3
      Ask your veterinarian? I did that and he referred me to ADM's customer service. Vet said to have my hay analyzed ($20) then call ADM (a feed company) and talk to their expert. She was 100% helpful and made specific suggestions on what to feed my 29 year old OTTB who could not keep weight on, had few teeth, and wasted 25% of his food (dribbled out of his mouth). After using her suggestions (and a nose bag to reduce/eliminate dribble), horse has never looked better --he is every bit as chubby as my QHs. The OTTB eats a combination of ADM products (wet down to help him eat better --I use warm water when it is cold out). He eats their Senior Horse, Healthy Horse, and Power Glo feeds ---about 1/3 each in every meal ---it's a high level of fat/carbs/protein -- I think it's the maximum amount suggested for horses--since July, I think he's put on 500#, maybe more. He was 1 week away from PTS due to an infection that was resistant to treatment ---he'd stopped eating. His weight on a 17.2 hh frame was down to 1000# (estimated). Vet put him at a #2 for body condition. Now he's a 6-7 and approaching 8. But the first step, always, is as your vet. Then have your hay tested. Next call the experts at the feed producer you plan to use. My feeling is they know more than I do about their products. I had no idea that I should use a combination of feeds to maximize my horse's recover.

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      • #4
        Did you treat for ulcers, tape worms, and encysteds strongyles?

        Comment


        • #5
          With what you are feeding, adding an extra flake of alfalfa would be a good start, if you think you need to up his feed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Get a weight scale (Walmart fishing dept) so you know exactly how much of each you're feeding. As previously said

            you need to know if he's getting enough hay and enough daily Ultium. Usually horses need 1.5%-2.0% of their ideal weight


            in good quality hay. If the hay is not good, he may need more alfalfa.

            Also have you had his teeth done lately?
            "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Count_thestrides View Post
              This post has probably been made 100 times but here it goes again. This is will a 17hh ottb adoption. The first pic is when i first brought him home, 2nd a couple months ago and third was a couple weeks ago. How would you feed him in order to gain weight and then maintain? How much weight would you like to put on him? He is outside 24/7 and is blanketed.

              (what he actually gets) free choice hay, 1 flake alfalfa, two 30 oz coffee can scoops of purina ultiam, 1 coffee can of alfalfa pellets and aloe and vegetable oil. Am and pm
              What a handsome guy! He has a nice, intelligent and kind eye. Ultium is alfalfa based, and you need to weigh your coffee can of feed so you know how much he is eating. I would guess it weighs 3.5 lbs? I agree that weight gain is slowly over time, and it's hard to tell from the photos how much he has gained. Why are you mixing alfalfa pellets with the ultium, which is also alfalfa based, and you are also feeding alfalfa hay? How much oil? Fat of course has lots of calories, so if he eats up good, you can always increase the fat.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Foxglove View Post
                Ask your veterinarian? I did that and he referred me to ADM's customer service. Vet said to have my hay analyzed ($20) then call ADM (a feed company) and talk to their expert. She was 100% helpful and made specific suggestions on what to feed my 29 year old OTTB who could not keep weight on, had few teeth, and wasted 25% of his food (dribbled out of his mouth). After using her suggestions (and a nose bag to reduce/eliminate dribble), horse has never looked better --he is every bit as chubby as my QHs. The OTTB eats a combination of ADM products (wet down to help him eat better --I use warm water when it is cold out). He eats their Senior Horse, Healthy Horse, and Power Glo feeds ---about 1/3 each in every meal ---it's a high level of fat/carbs/protein -- I think it's the maximum amount suggested for horses--since July, I think he's put on 500#, maybe more. He was 1 week away from PTS due to an infection that was resistant to treatment ---he'd stopped eating. His weight on a 17.2 hh frame was down to 1000# (estimated). Vet put him at a #2 for body condition. Now he's a 6-7 and approaching 8. But the first step, always, is as your vet. Then have your hay tested. Next call the experts at the feed producer you plan to use. My feeling is they know more than I do about their products. I had no idea that I should use a combination of feeds to maximize my horse's recover.
                I love ADM products! The help line is incredibly helpful when I was trying to figure out which company to use. I kept switching between different feed companies and this one has yielded the best results. It really helps when I can actually get it in my area. Lol. Buckeye and tribute is incredibly hard to find in my area but ADM is cheaper and I feed less of it which is best for me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ziggylala -- I will probably get flamed for this --but it is a mystery to me why so many horse owners --clearly intelligent people --play around with feed instead of "ask an expert." Whatever veterinarian one uses, probably spent a few classes studying animal nutrition, supplements, and various feeds. I don't know about you --but I can barely understand the labels on my feed bags, let alone decide which is the best feed for my horse based on his age, teeth, and use. My vet has 60 horses --they are individually and as a whole far more valuable than my 4. His decision to feed ADM and the help I received from the Customer Service rep --really made me a believer in the feed. I suppose that all major horse feeds would offer customers the same support, however. My frustration is with people like my neighbor --owns 4 just like me, who feeds what she feeds for no reason except she "thinks" it is what her horses need. Last year she lost a foal to scours --her statement to me, "I thought Calf-Manna would help." I don't know about you, but EVERYONE fed Calf Manna back in the day --but that was 1970! I don't know if Calf Manna caused her foal's condition --only a VET could figure that out --but I do know that Calf Manna was developed for cows, not horses. Second horse-owning neighbor swears by "black oil sunflower seeds" --which she gives at every feeding. That may be a wonderful supplement (I don't know, never tried it) --but it is much more expensive than other supplement that promise the same thing (improve coat, add calories) --and I suspect are more digestible. She says she "sees a lot" of whole sunflower seeds in the manure --and that sunflowers grow on her manure pile.

                  One might say that the ADM rep is just "out to sell feed." But it seems to me that someone who chooses to work for a company does so because they think it is a good company. My vet gets no kick-back from ADM (I know because I asked him). ADM holds free feed seminars in my area (heavily Amish) to educate people on horse feeding in general. I was told by the rep, after she looked at my hay-analysis, that my two older horses who have no work --just kind of hang out here --would be fine without ANY additional concentrates added to their died. In other words, "stop buying our product." I still give the fat-boys a handful to keep them coming into the barn at feeding time, but 2/3 less than I was feeding them. My feed mostly goes to that senior OTTB and my hunting horse.


                  Anyway --- free advise is probably worth what one pays for it --but I feel good knowing that someone more educated than I in horse nutrition planned out a diet for my horses.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We definitely need much better pictures Get them from the side - that tells most of the story.

                    We also definitely need to at least know the size of your "scoop". At least measure it in quarts. Ultium Competition weighs 1.3lb per quart. If you're using the Gastric Care, I don't have that info, but it's likely very similar.

                    Alfalfa pellets are in the 3c/lb range.

                    How much oil?

                    How much hay would you guess he's eating? How much does that flake of alfalfa weigh?

                    Feeding at the weight gain stage of things doesn't need to be, and shouldn't be complicated. Free choice hay, ideally (in this case) up to maybe 30% alfalfa, and at least the minimally recommended amount of a good quality, lower NSC feed. Ultium is not a bad choice as it's higher calories which lets you keep the amount fed down a bit.
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Foxglove View Post
                      Whatever veterinarian one uses, probably spent a few classes studying animal nutrition, supplements, and various feeds. I don't know about you --but I can barely understand the labels on my feed bags, let alone decide which is the best feed for my horse based on his age, teeth, and use.
                      (Bold mine)

                      I can only speak for the curriculum of the vet school where I was employed, but the statement of yours that I bolded in inaccurate. Most vets do not spend "a few classes" studying equine feeds and supplements.

                      Where I worked, first year vet students took exactly one, half-semester course in animal nutrition. This included nutrition of all common domesticated animals. Because of the breadth of material that needs to be covered in a short time, the emphasis is on the biochemical needs based on the physiology of the organisms. There's a lot of focus on the macromolecules, vitamins, and minerals necessary for the different species. There's not a lot of conversation about things like, "what feeds and supplements work best for the underweight 17h TB." That type of knowledge is garnered from experience or self-chosen further study in the field of nutrition.

                      I don't say this to disparage vets or their abilities. Vets have a near-impossible feat of becoming medical experts for multiple species in a very short period of time. You are lucky to have one who sounds like they have a wealth of equine husbandry experience in addition to their degree; their nutrition knowledge is definitely a product of both their education and extensive personal experience.

                      Also, I'm sorry you can barely understand the labels on your feed bags. There are a lot of resources available to help you with that, should your vet ever retire or move.

                      ("Flame" over)
                      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Foxglove View Post
                        Ziggylala -- I will probably get flamed for this --but it is a mystery to me why so many horse owners --clearly intelligent people --play around with feed instead of "ask an expert." Whatever veterinarian one uses, probably spent a few classes studying animal nutrition, supplements, and various feeds.
                        Actually, they don't. They get precious little education in nutrition, and most of that seems to be from Purina reps. A vet is among the last I would go to for feeding recommendations. It's amazing how many think Omelene 200 (with an NSC of around 40%) is fantastic, how feeding oil is an unhealthy fad, how alfalfa and protein make horses hot and cause DOD issues, how a 30% "feed" (ie a ration balancer ) is way, way too much protein, and more.

                        I don't know about you --but I can barely understand the labels on my feed bags, let alone decide which is the best feed for my horse based on his age, teeth, and use.
                        It doesn't take too much effort to learn to read them but it does take some effort, and taking one piece at a time. Once you understand basics, it's easy to decipher any feed label.

                        My vet has 60 horses --they are individually and as a whole far more valuable than my 4. His decision to feed ADM and the help I received from the Customer Service rep --really made me a believer in the feed. I suppose that all major horse feeds would offer customers the same support, however.
                        Even then you're taking a chance as to whether you get to talk to an educated, actual nutritionist, or a feed rep. I'm regularly shaking my head at some of the bad information handed down to people from a company rep - including some of their nutritionists. Purina, TC, ADM, Nutrena, they might all have someone who actually knows what they're talking about, but they all have those who end up with customers and who don't know much of anything.

                        My frustration is with people like my neighbor --owns 4 just like me, who feeds what she feeds for no reason except she "thinks" it is what her horses need. Last year she lost a foal to scours --her statement to me, "I thought Calf-Manna would help." I don't know about you, but EVERYONE fed Calf Manna back in the day --but that was 1970! I don't know if Calf Manna caused her foal's condition --only a VET could figure that out --but I do know that Calf Manna was developed for cows, not horses.
                        There's nothing inherently wrong with Calf Manna. Yes, it's old, it's pretty much the original "ration balancer". The foal was lost because she didn't get a vet involved, and those "scours" was likely not just normal scours which are generally not a problem as long as the foal is drinking enough milk to stay hydrated.

                        Second horse-owning neighbor swears by "black oil sunflower seeds" --which she gives at every feeding. That may be a wonderful supplement (I don't know, never tried it) --but it is much more expensive than other supplement that promise the same thing (improve coat, add calories) --and I suspect are more digestible. She says she "sees a lot" of whole sunflower seeds in the manure --and that sunflowers grow on her manure pile.
                        A lot of people love BOSS for the fat and shine, despite growing a bumper crop of BOSS. I will never feed them again, not just because of the high Omega 6, but because they are prone to aflatoxins and there is no screening for them.

                        One might say that the ADM rep is just "out to sell feed." But it seems to me that someone who chooses to work for a company does so because they think it is a good company. My vet gets no kick-back from ADM (I know because I asked him). ADM holds free feed seminars in my area (heavily Amish) to educate people on horse feeding in general. I was told by the rep, after she looked at my hay-analysis, that my two older horses who have no work --just kind of hang out here --would be fine without ANY additional concentrates added to their died. In other words, "stop buying our product." I still give the fat-boys a handful to keep them coming into the barn at feeding time, but 2/3 less than I was feeding them. My feed mostly goes to that senior OTTB and my hunting horse.
                        Except that hay has little to no Vitamin E and not much Vit A - did they mention that?

                        Anyway --- free advise is probably worth what one pays for it --but I feel good knowing that someone more educated than I in horse nutrition planned out a diet for my horses.
                        The problem really is, until you know at least a little, you have no idea the quality of the advice you're getting

                        Me, personally, I 'll never feed ADM because of how callous they have been towards the owners whose horses died as a result of monensin poisoning from their feed mills. I get it that it happens - if you buy feed from a mill that has monensin in it, whether or not the chute that runs your horse's feed just ran a batch of cattle feed, or there are separate chutes for each, it's a risk. But ADM couldn't have cared less and just wanted to pay off the owners for the monetary loss. So they're a big nope for me, no matter how nice their feeds might be otherwise.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Texarkana View Post

                          (Bold mine)

                          I can only speak for the curriculum of the vet school where I was employed, but the statement of yours that I bolded in inaccurate. Most vets do not spend "a few classes" studying equine feeds and supplements.

                          Where I worked, first year vet students took exactly one, half-semester course in animal nutrition. This included nutrition of all common domesticated animals.
                          Your school is definitely not a minority. Dr Sarah Ralston has stated here, a few times, how precious little nutritional education vets get in school. And yes, it's more about the biology and physiology of it, not practical application.

                          I'm fine with that. Well, not FINE, but fine - I would much rather vets be very well educated on diseases and antibiotics and stitching and decent lameness evaluations and that sort of thing, which the general layperson will never be able to do (nor should most of them). There are any number of reputable sources of equine nutrition education, many of them free. The Horse is an excellent resource.

                          ______________________________
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just got through going through this myself with my OTTB. This is what is working for us. Oh, he was on TCC Senior which is a great feed but for him it just wasn't working. He is on full board and gets fed twice a day. One scoop Purina 10/10 am and pm and at night he gets soaked beet pulp and alfalfa cubes. Good luck in you journey! Soooo much information out there it can get crazy.
                            Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club! RIP my dear Avery ~3/21/1995-9/21/2011~

                            Extreme Cat!!! 2006 OTTB
                            Magic Cat - Final Demand

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              To jump on JB's bandwagon, feeding is not actually rocket science. Very few horses actually need comprehensively overhauled feeding "programs" with half a dozen or more components.

                              I am also another that would never bother to ask a vet for feed advice, ever. For all the reasons mentioned above, they as a collective profession are experts in many things, but equine nutrition isn't one of them.

                              Weight Gain Step 1: make sure the horse can actually optimize whatever you are planning on putting in front of him by having his teeth looked at and doing a fecal egg count and then appropriately taking care of both.

                              Weight Gain Step 2: feed as much high-quality hay as the horse will eat over as long a period of time as he will eat it. The key there is as much as the horse will eat. Free choice is useless if the horse wastes half of it by stirring it into bedding, using it as a toilet, etc. If you put out the equivalent of a bale a day to one horse as "free choice" and he's only actually ingesting 1/10 of it...you get the idea. Good quality 2nd cut and alfalfa are excellent choices who need more "fuel". If you have access to good pasture and the horse tolerates it well, increasing pasture time is also excellent.

                              Weight Gain Step 3: look for feed additives that have the best bang for their buck. Some basic research on Google or in any nutrition book (for any species) will lead you to find that calorically-speaking, fat is your best calorie source in terms of calories/gram. Carbs and proteins are approximately equal in their caloric yield. So maximize your usage of fat sources where and when you can, whether that means top-dressing with oils or feeding a grain-based feed with a higher fat content. WHAT you feed tends to be a combination of personal preference and geographic location as well as a bit of trial and error for some particularly difficult horses.

                              Beyond that, I subscribe heavily to KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid. Especially when you are looking to add weight or manage a horse that needs continuous management throughout the year, it's best to add one thing at a time and give it a chance to show results, or not.
                              Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If you don't have a history with TBs, my first recommendation is to learn what BCS 5 looks like and learn to love it. You are likely wasting a lot of money and stress if you are trying to make a TB carry the same weight as a typical warmblood or stock horse.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Regardless of BCS (and I agree, that has to be evaluated for each horse, because the 5 TB doesn't look like the 5 Percheron doesn't look like the 5 Foundation QH.

                                  That said, the last pic of the horse shows clearly he's not quite "right". I can't see enough of his barrel to see if ribs are showing, much less how many. But I can see clearly that there is a big dip on either side of his spine. That might be sheer weight, or it might be the last thing to get filled in with fat and muscle building back up. So for sure, he needs "more". Whether that is more calories (depending on how long he's been at that state), more quality protein, or just more time, remains to be seen
                                  ______________________________
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Most equine vets, despite only having post-graduate "one" nutrition class in vet school still have a much deeper and broader knowledge of nutrition than horse people, due to the scientific focus of their education. Nutrition breaks down to the chemical and physiological etc level, and most horse people do not have the scientific base in chemistry, physiology, neurology, biology, etc that a vet has, to read articles and attend seminars and fully understand what is being presented by those who have a formal education in equine nutrition. I can only comment on the hundreds of equine vets I've met at conferences etc over the years, but most of them are also involved in horses personally, either riding and competing, or breeding/raising horses themselves. To conclude that a vet has little understanding of nutrition simply because they "only" had one class in nutrition while in vet school is ludicrous. Most vets are interested in the health and well being of the animals they treat, raise, compete and own, and they do seek out additional knowledge in fields like nutrition etc so they can better serve their clients and their own horses. You don't know what you don't know, and most laypeople way overestimate their depth of knowledge.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                                      Most equine vets, despite only having post-graduate "one" nutrition class in vet school still have a much deeper and broader knowledge of nutrition than horse people, due to the scientific focus of their education.
                                      But unless they decide to specifically pursue nutrition, they DON'T have the education, and *most* vets DON'T pursue that path.

                                      If most vets had a clue, they wouldn't have a meltdown over a 30% ration balancer as "wayyyyy too much protein" or pshaw the idea that horses can, actually, digest fat despite having no gall bladder, or actually understand the idea that IR horses should not be fed "crappy cow hay", or have a clue that there are a lot more brands, many of which have a lot better quality feeds, than Purina.

                                      Nutrition isn't what vets are about. That's just how it is. It's no different from dentistry or hoof care, both of which are also critical to a horse's well-being. They get a drop in the bucket about the care of those things, and unless they choose to pursue a more in-depth education on it, they are *not* the people to go to for evaluating them. Pay attention to just this forum, with all the craptastic feet on horses whose vets haven't had a clue there was anything wrong other than "heels need to be raised".

                                      Nutrition breaks down to the chemical and physiological etc level, and most horse people do not have the scientific base in chemistry, physiology, neurology, biology, etc that a vet has, to read articles and attend seminars and fully understand what is being presented by those who have a formal education in equine nutrition.
                                      Thankfully there are a LOT of places online which simplify all of that for the layperson to the degree that anyone who is remotely intelligent, and chooses to take a tiny bit of time to comprehend, and grasp. It's not rocket science. Really. It's not. The Horse is an excellent resource, and has many articles breaking down how to read labels. There are others. 99% of us mere peons don't need to understand the minutia of the chemistry of what happens to nutrients as they navigate the horse. If you want to become a certified nutritionist, sure, that's a requirement. Otherwise? Not really.

                                      I can only comment on the hundreds of equine vets I've met at conferences etc over the years, but most of them are also involved in horses personally, either riding and competing, or breeding/raising horses themselves.
                                      You've actually met - introduced, have a working knowledge of - 100s of vets? Impressive. I don't care that the vets are riding/competing/breeding horses. Do you know how many professional breeders (which most vets are not), feed crap, and their horses survive despite them (or worse, they constantly have to fix DOD issues because of the high sugar feeds they use)? Do you know how many professional riders and trainers feed whatever their Purina rep (not a nutritionist) tells them is the best thing to feed? Do you *really* think that the ONE little course in nutrition that the vets get, has educated them enough to be the go-to source for how to feed horses in general?

                                      To conclude that a vet has little understanding of nutrition simply because they "only" had one class in nutrition while in vet school is ludicrous. Most vets are interested in the health and well being of the animals they treat, raise, compete and own, and they do seek out additional knowledge in fields like nutrition etc so they can better serve their clients and their own horses. You don't know what you don't know, and most laypeople way overestimate their depth of knowledge.
                                      So none of the issues listed above exist? How is it then, if the vets are so well-educated in this area, that no matter where you turn - this forum, XYZ forum, the endless groups on FB, and more - there continues to be, on a daily basis, people who are struggling to know how to feed their horses because their vets only say "Omelene 200 is great, go with that"?

                                      Too many people way overestimate the depth of knowledge that most vets have in this area, simply because they have a DVM at the end of their name.

                                      ______________________________
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        OMG - someone is very very full of themselves!!! There is nothing like an anonymous internet poster to tell everyone like it is with an entire profession! Thank goodness we have all this knowledge and edumacation furr freeeee online! No need to go to vet school, just use Google.

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