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Getting a horse to eat beet pulp?

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  • Getting a horse to eat beet pulp?

    I just purchased some beet pulp for my TB. Today I gave him some, and he ate a little of it, and then didn't seem crazy about it and went to his hay. I left it for him, so I'll find out tomorrow from the BM if he ate it or not. Any suggestions to make it more tempting to him? He's a relatively picky eater. I did get the kind without molasses, maybe that's the problem? Anyway, any ideas would be appreciated! I have a 40 lb bag!

  • #2
    Try bribery - mix in some whole oats or sweet feed. You won't need much and eventually can feed without more than a sprinkle on top, then nothing. Don't leave beet pulp for more than over night as it will ferment and he certainly won't eat it and the bucket will have to be not only scrubbed but deoderised to remove the smell of fermentation.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

    Member: Incredible Invisbles

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    • #3
      Here are a few ideas:

      - You did soak it first, right?

      - Mix it with his grain
      - Add your own molasses or karo syrup
      - Add applesauce and stir it up really well
      “Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.”

      Ralph Waldo Emerson

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      • #4
        Sometimes it takes awhile for horses to accept beet pulp. I usually start with very small amounts and build up over time. I'll also add grain (if they are getting it already) or perhaps some cut up apples and carrots to make it a little more attractive. Whatever nummy thing that they normally eat is a good additive -- you can always change over to more beet pulp and less nummy thing as time goes on. If they don't finish it overnight (if fed in evening), I toss the leftovers in the morning as they will go rancid, esp in warm weather. Also some horses prefer it fluffy, with less water, and others like it with more water, so might have to experiment with that. Don't give up if they aren't that interested at first - some take time to come around.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pamperedponies View Post
          - You did soak it first, right?
          Good question! I just assumed the OP did, but that is a good thing to check!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pamperedponies View Post
            Here are a few ideas:

            - You did soak it first, right?

            - Mix it with his grain
            - Add your own molasses or karo syrup
            - Add applesauce and stir it up really well
            All good suggestions. Also after soaking, drain off most of the water till the horse gets used to it, then you can keep the water in it and get all that extra water into the horse. Mis the grain etc in after you have soaked and drained, and gradually leave more water in it.

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            • #7
              Why are you feeding your horse beet pulp? I would suggest feeding him something he likes, more likely he'll eat it.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Yes, i did soak it before. My vet recommended adding it. He's a hard keeper, and she thought it would be a good thing to feed, without adding excess energy (he can be a bit of a handful when fed certain things!) He's worked 6 days a week, and shows often throughout the summer. His weight is not bad right now, but I'd like him to fill out a bit more, especially going into fall/winter when sometimes he loses weight.

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                • #9
                  I'd try mixing in some sweet feed or something yummy - then as he gets used to gradually decrease the additives. I now have the opposite problem.. my tb will not TOUCH her feed without her beep mixed in.

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                  • #10
                    my suggestion is to add rice bran on top - it will really help with the taste and also help keep weight on your horse.

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                    • #11
                      Molassess, apple sauce or even his regular grain ration all can make the beet pulp more palatable. Just make sure you never let the beet pulp sit for more than a 1/2 day to soak, especially in the hot weather. Souring beet pulp will definately turn him off to eating it. The texture as well as the flavor of beet pulp is not readily accepted by every horse, thought some do just dig right into it. Good luck with getting you boy to eat it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by prodomus View Post
                        my suggestion is to add rice bran on top - it will really help with the taste and also help keep weight on your horse.
                        This or ground flax.

                        I had one horse turn his nose up at it, so I stopped giving it to him, everyone else around him was eating and he wanted whatever they were having. I let him lick some off my hand, to a tiny bit in his feed tub, to about a pound or so wet. He now DROOLS when I show up with the beet pulp.

                        They all get flax as well. A couple get oil mixed in, one gets rice bran with his, one likes his more dry, my horse doesn't care if it is dry or soupy he eats it all. Some get as little as a handful all the way up to about 40 lbs wet - that is 8lbs dry. When a new horse comes in the barn they start off with a taste and I increase it from there depending on what they need.

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                        • #13
                          I feed my Tb mare beet pulp in the winter to get extra water in and some extra calories. My mare wasn't terribly fond of it either at first, but I made a "cereal mix" that I add( about 1/3 cup) and she will snarf it right down. I got a rubber maid type container with lid and mixed equal amounts of old fashioned oatmeal(not quick cook),corn meal, and ground flax. I sprinkle a tiny bit of brown sugar in and maybe a couple of peppermints then add hot water.

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                          • #14
                            Cocosoya oil. My horse loves it, plus its been great for his coat. Adds some extra calories and it smells like candy.

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                            • #15
                              I also add a little of that but not for the taste for the benefits

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                              • #16
                                My horse gets his supplements, sunflower seeds etc on top of his beep. If you are in a hurry, put it on top of the beep bucket, then dump it in his feeder so the goodies are on the bottom...well.... you will get a very very dirty look.
                                ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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                                • #17
                                  You can try mixing his feed up into it to make it a little less sloppy if that's what's causing his lack of interest. Also, maybe add some applesauce, or even some rice bran (which is also good for putting on weight).

                                  Not sure what else to try....Vinnie used to love his soupy meals, lol.
                                  <3 Vinnie <3
                                  1992-2010
                                  Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred

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                                  • #18
                                    First off, start small - as you should with any new feed. Beet pulp requires different enzymes and microbes to digest it. I would start with a handful, well soaked, and mix it well with his other feed. Gradually, over time, increase the amount. My open broodmares get 1 lb of well soaked beet pulp pellets, which swells up to half a standard 8-9 quart bucket. I add 1 lb of alfalfa pellets, 1 lb ration balancer and 1 lb oats if extra calories are needed.

                                    There are several huge advantages to feeding beet pulp.
                                    • because of the way it is digested, it enhances the digestion of the other feeds included with it
                                    • beet pulp is totally digestible fiber and is even more digestible than hay
                                    • it increases the water intake and reduces the chance of colic
                                    • it allows you to reduce the amount of 'real grain' in the diet yet allows the horse to maintain weight (after all, forage SHOULD be the basis of the diet for a horse, not grain)
                                    • it makes it easier to slip in meds should they need them (although not always)
                                    But start small, so the horse can build up the enzymes and microbes to digest it and so he can get used to the taste. I've never met a horse that didn't like it once they got used to it.

                                    We actually start our foals out with a little beet pulp when they first start looking for food. We put a handful of Mum's, before we mix in her feed into a short bucket for the baby and hang it at baby height. Mum will immediately stick her nose in to see what baby has. Ohhh, plain beet pulp, mine has other good stuff in it, she says. Baby eats a little, but not all at first. Later, Mum finishes it up. Shortly, Mum doesn't even bother looking in baby's bucket because she is now sure it is just plain beet pulp. Baby starts to clean it up. Once baby is eating the beet pulp well, we quietly slip in a small handful of Foal Starter - a milk based pellet - and mix it in. Mares LOVE milk pellets and will readily take them away from baby, but now Mum is sure baby is only getting beet pulp, plain. Baby learns to eat milk pellets with his beet pulp. Keep increasing the amount of milk pellets until baby is ready to be weaned. When baby is weaned, s/he is eating very well and they never lose weight from weaning. Then we start slowly adding in ration balancer (but not before the age of 3 months as foals can't digest grain before that) and decreasing the amount of milk pellets. Pretty soon, baby is well weaned and eating beet pulp and ration balancer or a foal growth feed. Voila! baby that doesn't lose weight, mare that doesn't lose weight.
                                    Last edited by Tiki; Sep. 3, 2010, 08:52 AM.
                                    Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                                    Now apparently completely invisible!

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                                    • #19
                                      Try throwing in bag of Quaker apple oatmeal, then soak it all together. My horse goes NUTS for that stuff. Also, are you soaking the beet pulp in hot water? If so, make sure you aren't using water that is too hot. If you actually cook the beet pulp it changes the flavor and smell to something most horses don't care for. Or, if your horse does not have any metabolic issues, then you might just make life easier and get the beet pulp with molasses.

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                                      • #20
                                        My mare hated it at first. Seems like it takes them awhile to cotton on to eating soaked beet pulp, especially the non-mollassed. Decrease the amount and add something to it like others suggested. After they get used to eating it with other stuff it's usually not a big deal to eat it plain, although my mare used to make faces if hers was plain. Don't know if you can find them in your store but I had a big, flat-bottom mesh colander that was excellent for beep, I'd put it in the bucket to soak with way more warm water than necessary for about 15 mins. and then dump in colander in sink and rinse and after it sat for a few minutes it was nice and fluffy. Took the guess work out of just how much water I needed to soak.
                                        It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

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