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Horse not eating grain

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    Horse not eating grain

    I've tried everything to get her to eat. I've changed feeds and she'll eat ok for the first few weeks and then she'll just stop eating it. When I go to shows away from home she stops eating completely. She'll eat hay all day long just not the grain. I've tried feeding her smaller amounts throughout the day which seems to help but she still just picks at it. I gave her 30 days of ulcer guard and have talked to my vet about it he put her on an omeprazole power that suppose to help with hindgut too. Has anyone else had a horse do this?

    How much grain( pounds) are you feeding a day? Some horses just won't eat a large volume of processed feed.

    Does she need grain? Maybe try adding alfalfa hay and a ration balancer which is fed in 1-2 pound range daily.


      Original Poster

      I feed her 3qts 3 times a day. When I first got her I gave her 3qts twice a day and she dropped weight so I started giving her more. She gets alfalfa morning and night and is turned out at night. Right now she is on a local feed that compares to TC complete.


        Originally posted by ambershay14 View Post
        I've tried everything to get her to eat. I've changed feeds and she'll eat ok for the first few weeks and then she'll just stop eating it. When I go to shows away from home she stops eating completely. She'll eat hay all day long just not the grain. I've tried feeding her smaller amounts throughout the day which seems to help but she still just picks at it. I gave her 30 days of ulcer guard and have talked to my vet about it he put her on an omeprazole power that suppose to help with hindgut too. Has anyone else had a horse do this?
        It goes without saying her teeth should be checked; preferably by a equine dentist, not just a generalist that happens to float teeth.

        Assuming the teeth have been checked, and the goal is to have the mare gain weight in a healthy fashion, have you considered offering her free choice forage 24/7? Second cutting is often more palatable as are the alfalfa mixes. If you are boarding, you may need to pay extra and perhaps fill you own hay nets.

        Soaked alfalfa cubes, soaked beet pulp, adding oil etc. are other ways to add calories. All require extra work on the part of the staff so don't be surprise if there is an extra fee.


          Perhaps she just doesn't like the taste - or oats (which is a big component of TC Complete). I'd try her on a different feed that is a pellet (no oats) like a senior feed. But, it may be the beet pulp she's not fond of - so maybe something with little to no beet pulp. Some horses are just picky eaters - so it may take time to find something she enjoys eating.

          Some horse won't eat prepared feeds at all - so for them alfalfa pellets (or other type of grass pellet) + a good vitamin/mineral supplement is they way they have to go. Either due to allergies or taste or whatever the reason, this works for those horses. Then added oil or a fat supplement if they need more calories.

          Oh - and definitely check the teeth.
          ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


            Original Poster

            Teeth were checked last week. I try and give her more alfalfa than the rest of the horses. She ate the TC complete good for the first couple of weeks and then just stopped eating it. I gave her some of the senior today and she ate that right up but I'm sure she'll stop eating that in a few weeks like she has the other 3 feeds I've tried feeding her. I also feed her exceed 6 way for joints and overall health since she is in moderate/high work. I have noticed her just picking around the feed and eats all the supplements in it but leaves the rest of the feed which seemed odd to me since it usually the other way around.


              How much hay are you feeding? Have you measured (weighed) the hay? If teeth check out ok and you treat for ulcers, it could just be preference for feeds. Some horses just don't like certain things. E.g. I have a couple that don't consider beet pulp to be "food" at all, but another that will kill them all to eat theirs.


                Would be worth investigating if she has ulcers! Whether that means treating her for a couple weeks with ulcerguard or getting a vet out, it is certainly a possibility


                  I had the same problem, ulcers. Normally a horse will not eat for three reasons, teeth, ulcers, or when they are sick(temperature). Did she eat normally before? When they stop eating at shows it is because they do not cope well with stress(even if you do not see it). Hope she will be fine.


                    I'm right there with you on the "stopped eating grain train". Mine is a 23 year old QH mare with an easy life style - trail rides 2-3 days a week and that's it. We've done the Teeth - UlcerGuard - Bloodwork - Different Feeds - Different Supplements dance and she still won't eat more than a handful of grain / pellets. She will eat Alfa-Lox from Triple Crown, so Alfa-Lox is what she gets. I've asked her more than once WTF and she gives me no answer.

                    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
                    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


                      Original Poster

                      I've treated her with ulcerguard. Right now she is on omeprazole power that my vet has specially mixed up for her to help with foregut and hindgut ulcers. Her bloodwork came back normal. She ate normally for the previous owners then as soon as I bought her bam she won't eat anything.

                      I've never weighed my hay a rough estimate would be around 10-15 pounds a day of hay.

                      I think she gets tired of the feed just like we get tired of something if we ate it twice a day every day. When I first switch the feed she eats it great and I'm like finally something you'll eat. Then in a couple of weeks, she stops eating it. So I'm wondering if she just gets tired of eating the same feed.


                        Horses don't seek variety in food. They are happiest in a lush pasture of grass. Most horses will raise the roof to get the same routine mash or grain they've been eating for 10 years every night.

                        If a horse goes off a feed it is a sign it isn't sitting well with them. My very hungry mare has indeed refused two or three hay bales over the years. East's for a few days then stops. I just get rid of that hay.

                        Figure you are lucky. Other horses will eat eat and get laminitis, ulcers, colic. Your horse has a better sense of what she needs. Listen to her. Stop worrying about her needing grain. She doesn't need it. At least not right now.


                          I agree that grain is not what will put weight on. She needs more hay!
                          If this is a horse (not a pony) 10-15 pounds of hay daily does not sound like enough.
                          The recommended amount of daily hay is 1.5% to 2% of the horses weight.
                          For a 1000 pound horse that is 15-20 pounds a day. Just to maintain.


                            I missed that was the total hay per day. Unless she is on very lush pasture, unlikely in August, that's way too little hay. Double the hay for sure.


                              There was a mare like this at my barn. We discovered way too late that she was experiencing kidney failure. Worth looking into.

                              You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


                                Originally posted by ambershay14 View Post
                                She ate normally for the previous owners then as soon as I bought her bam she won't eat anything.

                                I've never weighed my hay a rough estimate would be around 10-15 pounds a day of hay.
                                I agree that horses don't seek variety in food. That's not it.

                                What did the previous owners feed, and how much, and how much hay/pasture? What else has changed about the feeding regimen - e.g. fed in a stall, fed off the ground, fed in a herd?

                                Based on the small amount of hay I'm going with ulcers. 30 days may not be enough to treat ulcers, especially if you have other issues (stress, lack of hay, etc.)

                                If you're really feeding 10-15lbs of hay, it's obviously not enough (and wouldn't be for many horses). I would start by weighing it to see if you're even feeding that much. Then I'd double it (at least) for now.

                                Not having enough hay/forage is a primary reason for ulcers to develop. You can treat them but they will happen again.