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ration balancer vs multi vitamin supplement

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  • ration balancer vs multi vitamin supplement

    Can someone help me understand the role of the ration balancer? The more I read, the more it sounds like a ration balancer serves the same purpose as a daily scoop of multi vitamins. How do you decide when to use a RB, vs a multi vit, vs grain, vs a "feed" like TC senior or complete?

    I got a bag of TC lite which looks a lot like a RB to me, just because they were out of TC senior that day and I needed something. Now trying to figure out if horses like it, would/should it have a permanent place in my feedroom?
    TIA

  • #2
    It depends on the RB.
    30% RB's are designed as vit/min but also to supplement protein needs, particularly for horses on poor grass, breeding stock, etc.
    10% RB's are closely similar to the vit/min supplements. (again vit/min balances vary depending on brand, etc).

    I've been all over with feeding. A complete feed is good and easy for a horse that needs the calories to be able to eat the recommended amount to get the vit/minerals needed. I have some air ferns and their needs would not be met with a handful of complete feed. I switched them all to a 30% RB because our grass is brown and hay isn't the best, so I want the added protein. If we had super quality grass or supplemented with alfalfa say, they would be fine on the 10% or vit/mineral supplement.
    Celtic Pride Farm
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    • #3
      Most RBs have about the same nutrition in 1lb as there is in 4-6lb of most fortified feeds, and they do it with significantly fewer calories.

      No v/m supp matches that.

      Some products like Equi-pride come closer than a v/m does
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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      • #4
        I use SmartVite with alfalfa cubes and rice bran. My older mare could use the calories of a complete feed, but the soy makes her nutty. The little ones generally don't need the calories of even a RB. The alfalfa cubes work very well for me because I can adjust as needed without worrying as much about them getting the vitamins and minerals they need.

        I've fed a RB in the past, and I do like it for the ones who need the calories from about 1/2 scoop a day. But if they need more, then a regular feed is cheaper usually. If they need less, then you might still need to add a vitamin/mineral to it, in which case it's easier to use something cheaper for the calories.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post

          I've fed a RB in the past, and I do like it for the ones who need the calories from about 1/2 scoop a day. But if they need more, then a regular feed is cheaper usually. If they need less, then you might still need to add a vitamin/mineral to it, in which case it's easier to use something cheaper for the calories.
          See, I find the ration balancer to be cheaper in almost every case. BTW, you cannot measure in "scoops", it's an imaginary measurement.

          Here's an example from my particular brand/feed store. (Poulin, in Western Mass.)

          The ration balancer is $25 (approx.) for a 50lb bag. So $0.50 a pound.
          The "complete feed" that my TB is on is $18 for a 50lb bag. $0.36 a pound.

          So the complete feed starts off cheaper, at least when purchasing. HOWEVER. To get all the vitamins and nutrients necessary, it only takes a pound of the ration balancer. For my easy keeper, he gets the pound (plus hay/pasture/some hay pellets if I feel nice) and so costs me $0.50 a day to keep in "grain."

          The complete feed, however, requires the horse to be eating 5lbs a day, at least, in order to get all the necessary vitamins/minerals/nutrients. So that works out to at least $1.80 a day.

          If the horse does not need the extra calories from a complete feed (most of which average around 5lbs a day necessary to get the "complete" part) then the ration balancer, in my experience, ALWAYS works out to be the cheaper option.

          And healthier. Because 1lb of a complete feed is not meeting your horse's nutritional needs. It might be meeting the caloric needs, but not nutritional. That's where ration balancers come in....for those horses who don't need the 5lbs+ of a complete feed, but still need their nutritional needs met.

          Edit: But no, you're right. The point of a ration balancer is not to feed to horses who need the calories from multiple pounds of grain per day. It's for the easy keepers out there, who just need a protein bar instead of several meals a day.

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          • #6
            so glad you posted this thread because I'm trying to decide which way to go with my VERY easy keeper fjords. They do not need ANY additional calories and are on a very good quality grass hay year round but no pasture. To me even a pound of a RB is too much in terms of calories for them so I'm researching the SmartPak SmartVite line that is specifically formulated for grass hay and EZ keepers. I can mix that in with a handful of grass or alfalfa pellets but am wondering if I need to add in a scoop of Omega Horseshine (or something equivalent) to round things out? I want to be sure they're getting the essential daily nutrients that they need.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by amadee View Post
              so glad you posted this thread because I'm trying to decide which way to go with my VERY easy keeper fjords. They do not need ANY additional calories and are on a very good quality grass hay year round but no pasture. To me even a pound of a RB is too much in terms of calories for them so I'm researching the SmartPak SmartVite line that is specifically formulated for grass hay and EZ keepers. I can mix that in with a handful of grass or alfalfa pellets but am wondering if I need to add in a scoop of Omega Horseshine (or something equivalent) to round things out? I want to be sure they're getting the essential daily nutrients that they need.
              The Smartvite should be plenty if they're getting enough nutrition from the hay they're eating. And honestly, the only want to know that is to get it tested. Not feasible for me, at a boarding barn, where hay is here today, gone tomorrow So that is why I feed the RB to my relatively easy keeper. She gets about 1lb a day, I like that it meets her daily nutritional requirements plus added protein if the hay we get happens to be lacking that particular month.

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              • #8
                Equi-Pride provides more than a v/m, less than a RB, without the soy of a RB.

                A Fjord is probably pretty darn efficient in his use of most nutrients (as well as his calories lol) so I really wouldn't be concerned about the lower nutrition of E-P. You might have a need to add extra magnesium or something else but that can easily be done if needed.
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by amadee View Post
                  so glad you posted this thread because I'm trying to decide which way to go with my VERY easy keeper fjords. They do not need ANY additional calories and are on a very good quality grass hay year round but no pasture. To me even a pound of a RB is too much in terms of calories for them so I'm researching the SmartPak SmartVite line that is specifically formulated for grass hay and EZ keepers. I can mix that in with a handful of grass or alfalfa pellets but am wondering if I need to add in a scoop of Omega Horseshine (or something equivalent) to round things out? I want to be sure they're getting the essential daily nutrients that they need.
                  I've been using the SmartVite EZ Keeper line - I really like it. Instead of the Omega Horseshine, you could do the SmartOmega3. That way, only ordering from one place. Or you can go on the website and compare the two (OHS vs SmartOmega3), see which one you like better. Mine like the SmartVite pellets - will eat them out of your hand even.

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                  • #10
                    I have been using Horsetechs Highpoint Grass for the trulyneasy keepers, half a serving, very happy with it. IME easy keepers often have lower nutritional needs as well as caloric needs.
                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                    ---
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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                    • #11
                      Instead of the SmartVite EZ Keeper, do a half-dose of the Performance. Same exact stuff, just cheaper. All of the different "levels" of SmartVite are the same, just in different quantities.

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