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Cooking Oats?

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  • Cooking Oats?

    It's a slow day at work and this has been niggling at me, so I thought I'd ask...

    How many of you do or have cooked oats for the horses? I've seen it mentioned around a few times.

    Have you *actually* seen any sort of differences, rather than a placebo effect of having done something more?

    What exactly is the process that you use to cook oats? Long time? Short boil?

    Had a bit of a Google and read claims that it changes the starch in grains if you cook them first, which supposedly reduces fermentation and acid production in the hindgut, any opinions on that?

    I'm not seriously considering doing it (although I might for the heck of it, I've got free time lately ), just wondering what other people have done/think.
    It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

  • #2
    Well, I have one horse in particular that I think cooking oats makes an incredible difference in a few ways.

    He's never been a hard keeper, but whenever I put him on a textured grain ration he'll either not gain weight proportionately, or he'll lose body condition. He also flips out mentally. If I put him on a fat/fiber diet he'll put on weight but not be strong in his hind end. Weak and stiff. I once had him on an excellent lowish carb medium fat extruded feed which worked pretty well. On that feed his mind was so much better than when he was on anything else.

    This year I ended up doing a trial of cooked oats for him, out of of curiosity. I pre soak the oats for hours, boil them for a half hour, then cover the pot, turn the heat off and let them sit for hours more. They turn into gelatinous goo.

    Within two weeks he looked and moved as if he were five years younger, his loin is stronger and he's not a total idiot.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Interesting! I wonder if there's a minimal cooking time to show benefit, I don't think Mama would like a pot of oats sitting on the stove all day Do they stick to the pot?
      It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

      Comment


      • #4
        It's evil! Processing food! Oh, the humanity!

        I do think cooking enhances digestibility to some degree. So if you had hard keepers and lots of free time, it might be worth doing. People swear by putting various grains in a crock pot on "low" and stewing them all day to feed at night. Certainly gives the human a bunch of "warm fuzzies", I'd imagine.

        I scoff at warm fuzzies, preferring the cold, hard edges of logic.
        Click here before you buy.

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        • #5
          No, they don't stick to the pot. I have friends who put grains in a crockpot to cook all day long. Another friend of mine tells stories of being a groom in France where they had enormous oat cookers that simmered all day long.

          It is a pain to cook the oats. I'm trying to pursue better options!

          I don't know about minimum cooking time. I cook them until the starch looks completely gelatinized.

          (FWIW, his teeth are fine)

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by deltawave View Post
            I scoff at warm fuzzies, preferring the cold, hard edges of logic.
            In a strictly platonic way, I think I loff you

            Meh, what the heck. I have one hard-keeper, free time, and could use some warm fuzzies. I may give it a whirl! I wonder if I boiled them up well in the evening and then covered until morning if that would be an appropriate cooking...
            It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

            Comment


            • #7
              delta, I wonder to what degree it changes digestibility. There are studies about pellet vs textured vs extruded, but I'm not sure how they compare to the amount of cooking an oat gets when in the crockpot all day.

              My theory with my guy is that unless they get cooked beyond recognition starches end up in his hindgut where they screw everything up. I dunno. It's a theory, nothing more.

              Comment


              • #8
                Mosey, give it a whirl and then check back in!

                For extra warm fuzzies, throw some cinnamon in while they cook. Mmmmmm. Smells good!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've never known a horse who didn't absolutely LOVE oats, so you are going to get some major brownie points.
                  Click here before you buy.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    He's currently getting them just whole and dry and he attacks the bucket violently. If I throw a little beet pulp/alfalfa pellets/flax in he eats in a more civilized manner. We'll see!
                    It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We boiled barley for horses at my working student position in NZ at an eventing yard. Most were on one or two scoops 2x/day. They were on dry lots, but we fed them two big armfuls of silage a day (basically wet hay). The horses were FAT. I don't know if the boiling helped, but boy did the horses flourish on it.

                      Granted, the upper level horses got the expensive grain that we were sponsored by, but the lower level horses did well on barley.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Put them in the crock pot on low for~ 6 hours with ~2x volume of water to oats. Every crockpot is a bit different...my old one did not vent so it needed only 1.5X.

                        The hull fiber and the groat will swell and the groat will also gel. The groat will "explode" out of the hull as it swells.

                        Cooking breaks down some of the starchs to sugars. That is why cooked oatmeal is slightly sweeter than wet oatmeal (yes did that backpacking in torrential rains).

                        By wet cooking oats in water you change feed form (easier for the dentally challenged) which basically makes it more digestible.

                        I have always cooked for my seniors. At least all but Chippers...he hates anything wet.

                        Add a tad of wet molasses and the house or barn will smell like cookies baking and horses turn into velociraptors.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thank you all for the information!
                          It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My barn has hot cooked oats every day for the afternoon feeding. Aside from the enhanced digestability they absorb a decent amount of water so aid in hydration as well...The horses love it...this is in addition to the regular feed. The oats begin cooking after morning feeding in a large cooker and are done by late afternoon feeding..There is a cooker in each feedroom. I dont have facilities at my personal farm for this, so my horses at home get soaked beetpulp instead.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I know someone who swears by boiled barley... horses looked fantastic. Seemed like a lot of work.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I like to cook oats for any picky eater and hard keeper.. Clean tubs guaranteed!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I used to steam oats for my old mare. Pour boiling water over grain. Just enough to cover the grain. Cover the bucket and let it sit about 15 minutes. Made it soft for the toothless oldie... she looked fantastic.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Well, DW - call me a warmfuzzy sucker, but I crockpot oats as a mash for my horses in cold weather.

                                    It's their evening feed and they LOFF it.
                                    I just put half their ration of whole oats in the crockpot and let it go all day.
                                    Since they are boiling hot, I add the rest of the ration & cold water (plus some treat like a cutup apple & glop of molasses) then sit back to enjoy the shlurping.
                                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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