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Grain - Feeding Senior Feed vs. Sweet Feed and other grain?

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  • Grain - Feeding Senior Feed vs. Sweet Feed and other grain?

    My husband and I will be buying a hunter farm. There are quite a few boarders there now, with most of the horses in regular work. The farm feeds a Senior Blue Seal feed to almost all the horses, aged or not. I understand it is easier to digest and contains more fiber than other grains, but the feed is very expensive and I have never used it for my own horses. I feed a 12% sweet feed and my horses look great. I'd be happy to keep the aged horses on a Senior feed. Can someone explain the benefits to me of feeding a Senior feed to all the horses vice a more common sweet feed for the younger horses in work? Is it really necessary? Do they require less feed with the higher quality? We are seeking ways to realize cost savings, but I don't want to compromise nutrition if there really are benefits to feeding the expensive stuff. Any advice will help me here...

  • #2
    "12% sweet feed" doesn't mean anything. Is this a brand name? How much of it are you feeding?

    Sweet feeds - in the traditional sense of lots of molasses and grains - are high in sugars, which have proven to have links to metabolic issues and developmental issues.

    Is this the Vintage Sr feed from BS? If so, that's about 20% NSC. Not the worst thing but it is a little high. To compare, Triple Crown Sr is 11%. Purina Sr is higher than 20% - mid-20s IIRC.

    But "sweet feeds" can be very, very high - 40s and above even. If that is the case, then yes, you generally will find you feed less of a lower sugar, high quality feed.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • #3
      I would ask the current barn owner, see what they say. I would hesitate to change many things at first, until you know the why's. Cost savings may cost you the boarders that are already there. Good luck with your new farm

      I do find that when feeding a better quality feed, it might cost more but you feed less of it. Maybe they are getting a deal by buying that feed in bulk.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        The Senior Feed is Blue Seal Sentinel. The feed I have my horses on is a 12% sweet feed, Nutrena Stock and Stable, 3 QTs, 2x a day.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          And also - we are going to try to keep everything "as it has been" for the very reason of keeping our customers (and horses) happy! We will keep the same feed if we can, but certainly want to do our research first to make sure we are jumping into this the right way. Thanks for the feedback so far...

          It also might be worth mentioning that the farm feeds an alfafa mixed hay.

          Comment


          • #6
            Oh, Stock & Stable is a really low quality, high sugar feed. 6 quarts of that is 8lb, maybe a bit more - that's a LOT

            I definitely think you would end up feeding less of the BS - much better feed.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JB View Post
              Oh, Stock & Stable is a really low quality, high sugar feed. 6 quarts of that is 8lb, maybe a bit more - that's a LOT

              I definitely think you would end up feeding less of the BS - much better feed.
              This I couldn't find the stock & stable on nutrena's website. Did they change the name? Where are you located? Maybe price other brands of feed that are similar to the BS.

              Comment


              • #8
                I am an Ultium Fan!!! LOW NSC, High Fat & Fiber..11% Protein...they have a website: www.Ultium.com it is by Purina!

                My horses have great coats and I feed less! It's more expensive...I pay $22/bag to me it's well worth it!!

                I have some feed charts, etc...from the different seminars I have attended. I would be happy to copy & mail to you!

                Good Luck!
                Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakend. ~Anatole France~
                www.EquineKneadsLLC.com

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  This is all good information. Purina site has a LOT of good information. As for the feed I have now, the 3 qts a day is right in line with their size and exercise levels per the recommended amounts. I would like to find something with less sugar content though and seminar information wouldn't hurt! The Stock and Stable info can be found at http://www.libertypet.com/Nutrena-12...eed_p_116.html ... this gives information on the feeding amounts and nutritional data.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The feeding levels of feeds are for the nutritional content, mostly. You adjust up or down a bit from whatever base they set. But even then it doesn't mean the nutrition is highly digestible, or that there aren't other things that are basically fillers, causing you to "have to" feed more than you should be feeding

                    It's also directed to feed at VERY high amounts. It says to feed between 10 and 17lb a day to a 1000lb horse

                    The BS Sentinel, from a nutritional standpoint, is directed to feed at 5.5-7.5lb for a 1000lb horse in moderate work.

                    The link doesn't help much, unfortunately. It gives a bare bones analysis, and no ingredients. I just about guarantee it has "by-products" and "products" for a great many things related to "grain" and "forage" and maybe even "protein"
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I've weighed the grain and you're right, it is a LOT... something like 15-16 lbs, and it makes me nervous about laminitis and founder. We do have very good quality hay and pasture, so that has helped. After a lot more reading on this today, I am thinking something like the Ultimum, expensive or not, would be ideal, but still need to do some research. I guess I've just never heard of feeding a Senior feed to horses that aren't Seniors? Trying to fully understand it.... what should I be looking for in that "ideal" grain for working and showing horses? I understand one shoe won't fit all, but what are some good guidelines to go by when choosing the right feed?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Culetose View Post
                        I've weighed the grain and you're right, it is a LOT... something like 15-16 lbs, and it makes me nervous about laminitis and founder. We do have very good quality hay and pasture, so that has helped. After a lot more reading on this today, I am thinking something like the Ultimum, expensive or not, would be ideal, but still need to do some research. I guess I've just never heard of feeding a Senior feed to horses that aren't Seniors? Trying to fully understand it.... what should I be looking for in that "ideal" grain for working and showing horses? I understand one shoe won't fit all, but what are some good guidelines to go by when choosing the right feed?
                        I would talk to the boarders and try and get some feedback. I would venture to bet that most of them will be resistant to a feed change, especially to something as cheap as Stock and Stable. You could lose your boarders, and in this economy, they may be hard to replace.

                        There is nothing wrong with Senior feed for all age levels. The word "Senior" is just a marketing ploy, when in reality they tend to be higher fiber feeds that benefit any age of horse.

                        I would call the Blue Seal rep in your area and see what price deals they have for larger loads; maybe if you buy more in bulk you can get a better price.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          If we even are going to make a change, I would definitely steer away from what we are feeding now. My horses will get what the boarders are used to getting. I just wanted to make sure there was really a benefit to the Senior feed so that we could explore other "smart" options that still provide the right nutrition and keep the customers happy. Thanks for helping me get a dialogue going on this.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yep, I wouldn't worry one iota about the current barn grain being a "Sr" feed

                            I still believe that after an adjustment period, you will find you feed less than 15-16lb of the BS grain. You might see weight loss in the beginning, so don't panic, give the horses time to readjust their bodies
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here's my experience, I love the BS Sentinel Senior feed, been using it for years on all my horses, regardless of age.

                              The reason I started using it was a had a young (6) horse who had colic surgery and could never eat hay of any kind or risk another impaction. So I had to find a complete feed that he would eat. The only complete feed he liked was Blue Seal.

                              While he was alive, my horses got no hay, fed 5 times a day, 2 pounds per feeding (for a total of 10 pounds per day), and all the grass they could graze in 24 hours. This included winter when the grass is dormant/frozen. I could cut back the amount of grain in the spring/summer/fall when the grass is growing.

                              Poor little guy passed away of kidney disease 14 months later, and I started feeding hay again, and cut way back on the feed. I still feed it, my horses are 28, 24 and 7.

                              Because I am feeding way less than the recommended amount (they only get about 2.5 - 3 pounds per day now in 3 feedings - so about 1 pound per feeding), I also give them the Blue Seal Min-A-Vite-A-Lite for grass mix, which is not very expensive, with three horses the bag lasts about 2 months, feeding at the recommended amount on the bag.

                              I will tell you that my vet hospital feeds all the recovering horses senior feed (Purina), regardless of age. My vet says she sees no issues with feeding a senior feed to younger horses, with adjustments based on condition (we don't want fat horses).
                              There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                You could also look into ration balancers for the easy keepers. They are more expensive, but you feed much less of them. I feed Tributes Essential K grass balancer to my easy keepers. What feeds are available in your area besides BS. Purina, seminole, tribute, triple crown?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I sell feed for a living and recommend Senior feeds for non-senior horses on a daily basis. My personal favorite is Triple Crown Senior.

                                  Most Senior feeds are highly digestable, offer higher fat, and better vitamin mineral supplementation. The added benefit is that they are also high in fiber. Fiber is not a bad thing with horses! The better formulated Senior products are also lower in NSC. I very rarely see horses that are worked hard enough to "need" a higher NSC feed.

                                  Another benefit to Senior feed is that it is calorie dense. You will feed less of this than other products. The goal should be to put as little feed into your horse as possible. If my horses were getting 15-16 lbs of feed per day, I would have a fit. Horses are not designed to digest 2 huge meals a day like that. I would minimumly want to see three meals per day if a customer insisted on feeding that much grain.

                                  Nutrena Stock and Stable is a low quality, basic feed that is not intended for horses at work. Make your self a spread sheet and compare the cost of 15-16 lbs per head per day of Nutrena Stock and Stable to 5-7 lbs per head per day of a quality feed. I make the comment about the Stock and Stable from an unbiased posititon as it is one of the feed lines I sell. Another negative point to this product is the NSC level is probably over 40-45% if not higher.

                                  The hunter barns in my area who are showing want their horses to have a "bloom" on them. That is usually harder to accomplish with a lower quality feed.
                                  "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Very good information, and, agreed. Comparing some of the Senior feeds, I see that Sentinel appears lower in fat content than some of the other senior feeds. I will have a look at the Triple Crown Senior. Also - I can't find information on any of these brands that disclose the NSC. What's a good way to know what the NSC is other than looking at the ingredients and taking a best guess?

                                    I am also thinking that the weight of the stock and stable is inconsistent per scoop because it doesn't add up. I've weighed it, like I mentioned, but doing the math on how many lbs per bag and how much weight per feeding, the math doesn't work. Three bags of grain last us about a week between 3 horses and 2 donkeys (who get just enough to think they are part of the feeding).

                                    Another possibility that my husband is pushing for is a local feed mill that will process the grain to order, and claims to be able to meet very specific specifications. We would be able to buy it by the ton, 100lb bags, or 50lb bags. Is this something we should steer away from?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I can't say enough good things about Triple Crown Senior. I've all horses in my barn (ranging from ages 4 to 17) on Senior and they all look fabulous. I have one who is basically a pasture ornament and goes months without a really thorough grooming and he is still super shiny. I could put him in a show tomorrow and a quick bath is all he would need to look like I'd put hours of elbow grease into grooming him.

                                      I also have (large) horses in very heavy work and the most any of them eat is 8lbs per day.

                                      Way back when I boarded 2 of my horses, they ate about 10 lbs a day of a mix of Purina Senior and Nutrena XTN PLUS supplements. They now eat 6 lbs a day of TC senior, no supplements, and they look better (and they hay they get now is the same quality or slightly less than what they were getting).

                                      I don't feed anything made by Purina because I think its all crap. I won't even feed Purina dog or cat food, so I certainly wouldn't feed it to an animal with a sensitive system. Purina (and many others) don't guarantee the ingredients, only the analysis. This means the ingredients may be different in different bags and given that I have a colic prone horse, I can't risk that change.

                                      I have thought about switching to bulk grain from a local mill to save some money, but I just love how they look on the TC. So far I haven't been able to convince myself to make the change, but I may try a super slow change and if they start to look less than amazing, I'll go back.
                                      A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. ~Beryl Markham

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Here are 2 sources for NSC levels
                                        http://www.hooflady.org/nsclevels.html
                                        http://www.horseforum.com/horse-heal...-levels-14767/

                                        Triple Crown also lists all theirs
                                        http://www.triplecrownfeed.com/artic...rown-horsefood

                                        I THINK BS has theirs on their site somewhere but I can never find it
                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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