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Ration balancer experts?

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  • Ration balancer experts?

    So now that you guys have told me a little about ration balancers, do you have recommendations, and advice for transitioning my horse (8-yr-old QH) from his daily grain to the balancer?

    It looks like my local feed store carries Triple Crown 30%, Purina Enrich 32, and Buckeye. Are any of these good choices?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    What is he getting now as his "daily grain"? What kind of forage do you feed? What is his weight/body condition?

    As useful as ration balancers are, they are not "one size fits all" and not ideal for every horse. Sometimes "different" is not necessarily "better", either.

    I like the Enrich 32 very well, but two of mine are such easy keepers that it doesn't even make sense to feed it to them, so they just get hay and a vitamin/mineral pellet. But this really depends on how hard they're working, and especially on what my hay analysis looks like in a given year, or on how much pasture they're getting.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • #3
      Buckeye is a great product. I am a strong supported of a diet balancer and think they offer the best option for a horse eating hay.

      Depending if they eat Legume or Grass the balancers are made for different hays.

      I am of the "keep it simple" regimen and diet balancers offer vitamins that are often lacking in cut hay yet keeping it simple.

      And if you feed a joint supplement or electrolites etc. you can add it to the balnancer. If you need more calories when working hard and increasing hay is not working then you can add grain like rolled oats.

      All the horses I know that are on a diet balancer do extremely well and I have had really good luck using them for about 20 years now.
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      • #4
        My very easy keepers do better on RB than just hay, didn't really notice anything with the multi vitamin pellets so maybe he extra protein helps them. I've used enrich 32 with success but prefer triple crown 30 because it's got double the amount of vitamin E (1000 mg/lb).

        I feed 2 cups daily which is just under 1 lb. If you decide to make the switch just make sure you do it over a few days. GI upset is more of a concern when dealing with much higher volumes so don't obsess over it.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm a big fan of TC 30. I use it on my QH and an easy keeper Morgan pony that boards at my barn. Both horses are in good weight with slick dappled coats. They get ~1 lb. each per day, split into 2 half lb. feedings. They also get free choice hay, which IMO is the best thing you can do for a horse.
          come what may

          Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

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          • #6
            using Gro and Win. My horse is doing great on it. About 2 yrs and he is holding a good weight, he gets half cup each meal. that's all. With good hay. Good Luck!

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            • #7
              I use enrich 32. The horses get about 2 cups a day, the pony more like one. They are on 30 acres of pasture (the pony is muzzled about 1/2 the time). That's all they get, and everyone is dappled and gorgeous, with great feet.

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              • #8
                I use TC 30 on my ASB. This is the first season I've ever had to use a ration balancer. My horse became an absolute PORKER on his 15 acre pasture this year (sorry, drought-ridden peeps, but we got a LOT of rain in NW Georgia this year and the pastures never dried up like they usually do). I cut his grain, of course, but when I cut feed completely OUT, I noticed his coat and feet getting less good, so I special-ordered the TC 30 and have been very happy with it. He gets a handful am and pm and that's it.
                "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

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                • #9
                  I've used both Buckeye and Enrich. Enrich is easier to get, so I've been going with that. Both have worked very well for us
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    What is he getting now as his "daily grain"? What kind of forage do you feed? What is his weight/body condition?

                    As useful as ration balancers are, they are not "one size fits all" and not ideal for every horse. Sometimes "different" is not necessarily "better", either.
                    This, and more:

                    If you're feeding 6lb of this grain now, it's highly unlikely you'll be happy with just 1lb of the RB - too big a loss of calories. You CAN add things like alf pellets, but the cost will be more than feeding as you currently are.


                    If he's getting a handful of the current grain, you might be able to move to the RB, but like DW said, that might then be too much.

                    If you're feeding 2lb of the current grain, then yes, a RB alone makes sense to at least try. If that's the case, you can just drop the old stuff and start with the RB at 1c/day and work up to the full lb which is really only about 3c, depending on the brand. If taste is a factor, drop the old grain, start 1c of the new, but add a handful of the old, for example.
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                    • #11
                      Has anyone used Barn Bag as an RB (made by the Farrier Formula folks)? Results? Opinions?
                      It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

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                      • #12
                        According to her other thread, the horse currently isn't in work, and is being fed 3 pounds of Strategy a day.
                        come what may

                        Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                          What is he getting now as his "daily grain"? What kind of forage do you feed? What is his weight/body condition?

                          As useful as ration balancers are, they are not "one size fits all" and not ideal for every horse. Sometimes "different" is not necessarily "better", either.

                          I like the Enrich 32 very well, but two of mine are such easy keepers that it doesn't even make sense to feed it to them, so they just get hay and a vitamin/mineral pellet. But this really depends on how hard they're working, and especially on what my hay analysis looks like in a given year, or on how much pasture they're getting.
                          Maybe not, but IMO, they're as close as you can get to a "one size fits all" for most horses.
                          Last edited by Smart Feeds; Sep. 22, 2012, 09:04 PM. Reason: clarification for DW and JB
                          If you're spending more than $1 per day on supplements, you need to get Smart.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Smart Feeds, since you appear to be getting ready to advertise something, I will just let you know that that is not only against the BB rules but gets peoples' hackles up pretty quickly.

                            You can beg to differ all you like, but all you've said is not only pretty much a repetition of what is generally known about RBs but also SUPPORTS my contention that they are not necessary nor a perfect fit for all horses. I would politely beg to differ in turn that while you COULD feed a RB to (ALMOST) any horse, there are certainly numerous exceptions, including obese ones, those with allergies to soy, and those who require no concentrate whatsoever.

                            Listen, I'm a fan. I use a ration balancer. But the idea that ANY horse and ALL horses can be kept optimally on them is just silly. (unless, of course, one is in the business of selling these products) I have two who although their weight is decent on my current regimen would absolutely be obese being fed even the minimum recommended amount of a RB. Especially for smaller horses, even 1500 calories is WAY too much and superfluous.
                            Last edited by deltawave; Sep. 22, 2012, 08:06 PM.
                            Click here before you buy.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GotMyPony View Post
                              Has anyone used Barn Bag as an RB (made by the Farrier Formula folks)? Results? Opinions?
                              There's nothing "wrong" with it, but IMHO, it's a glorified, expensive v/m supplement and not worth trying, unless you just haven't had success with other v/m supplements.

                              Originally posted by Smart Feeds View Post
                              I might beg to differ with this statement. Ration balancers are primarily made up of protein, vitamins, minerals. Three things that are required in the diet of every horse. How much of each is dependent on age, body weight, activity, and life stage (gestating, lactating, etc...). None of these three requirements (for any class of horse) can be met with just hay alone. You could purchase individual supplements to balance the diet, but unless you are testing every bale of hay fed, I think you'd end up spending at least twice as much as a good ration balancer would cost per day.
                              Your reply here is in response to DW's " they are not "one size fits all" and not ideal for every horse."

                              Your reply makes zero sense in that context. DW is RIGHT - no feed, whether it's a RB or a fortified feed or complete feet is one size fits all ideal for every horse. No Sr feed is right for every Sr horse.

                              By default, ration balancers all have some caloric value (~1500 calories/lb), however, the feeding recommendations are generally low enough (1 lb), the calories have little effect in the overall diet. Whether or not you need to supplement calories is mostly dependent on the quantity fed and quality of your hay.
                              Well of course, and that is partly why that statement was made. A RB is not an economical fit for harder keepers who need substantial calories beyond forage. They are not a caloric fit for horses who are already on restricted hay and/or muzzles, when ever calorie counts.

                              Considering the high nutritional density, low feeding rate (as compared to conventional feeds), and low NSC (generally 10-11%), you could feed a ration balancer to any horse over 4 months of age.
                              On paper, sure. But in reality, no, you absolutely can not. I cannot feed a RB to my 17h WB who gets fat pads in about 1-2 weeks when on a RB at 1lb. Take him off, the fat pads go away. The soy in RBs is not conducive to good health for some horses, whether it's IR issues or sensitivity/allergy issues.

                              If added calories are needed, then you can supplement with a calorie source such as oats, barley, beet pulp, fat, etc... IOW, the ration balancer allows you to easily meet the needs for horses as individuals. IMO, this is far better than underfeeding a manufacturers feed, and then having to buy supplements to make up for the deficiencies in the diet.
                              And why do you say that a RB is going to be nutritionally complete? Their serving is no more or less nutritionally complete, in general, then the minimal serving size of 4-6lb of most fortified feeds. If you're in a Se-deficient area, you're still going to be adding Se. If you're in an area where soil is high in iron, you may well be adding Copper and Zinc to the diet.
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SAcres View Post
                                According to her other thread, the horse currently isn't in work, and is being fed 3 pounds of Strategy a day.
                                Then yes, I would indeed look into 1lb of a RB and see how that goes. yes, it's a loss of some calories, but it may not be significant enough. Only time will tell.
                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by JB View Post
                                  There's nothing "wrong" with it, but IMHO, it's a glorified, expensive v/m supplement and not worth trying, unless you just haven't had success with other v/m supplements.
                                  Regarding Barn Bag, do you NOT consider it as a ration balancer per se? I have an easy keeper mare with metabolic issues. I am trying to reduce her calorie intake and NSC/starch levels. She is 1300# and currently getting 1.25# of Enrich 32, 3# of Strategy Healthy Edge, 2 cups of canola oil, out on currently poor pasture for 15 hours a day and coastal hay fed in a slow feed net in the stall. Currently under very low work levels and a bit overweight.

                                  Any suggestions? In the past when I tried to elimate the Strategy Healthy Edge and just use the Enrich 32, her joints began to pop loudly, it scared me so I returned to the HE. I can't figure out what the HE has that the E32 doesn't?

                                  A friend suggested using Excel or Platinum Performance but I have not seen either of these products.

                                  The Barn Bag product looked good to me because I have been so impressed with Life Data's Farrier's Formula.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by outfoxem View Post
                                    Regarding Barn Bag, do you NOT consider it as a ration balancer per se?
                                    I don't - like I said above, I consider it a "hefty" v/m supplement. It's got a feeding rate of 1/2c, about 1/5th of a pound, for the average 1000lb horse, compare to 1lb for most RBs.

                                    I have an easy keeper mare with metabolic issues. I am trying to reduce her calorie intake and NSC/starch levels. She is 1300# and currently getting 1.25# of Enrich 32, 3# of Strategy Healthy Edge, 2 cups of canola oil, out on currently poor pasture for 15 hours a day and coastal hay fed in a slow feed net in the stall. Currently under very low work levels and a bit overweight.

                                    Any suggestions? In the past when I tried to elimate the Strategy Healthy Edge and just use the Enrich 32, her joints began to pop loudly, it scared me so I returned to the HE. I can't figure out what the HE has that the E32 doesn't?

                                    A friend suggested using Excel or Platinum Performance but I have not seen either of these products.

                                    The Barn Bag product looked good to me because I have been so impressed with Life Data's Farrier's Formula.
                                    I can't see what's in the HE that would keep joint crackling away either. I don't know that I'd classify her as an easy keeper though, not with all those calories and being only "a little overweight" LOL Have you tried TC Lite instead of the HE and the E32? Is she an EPSM horse - is that why the oil?
                                    ______________________________
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Yes, she is EPSM I believe, have not had her tested though she shows symptoms and does respond to the diet.

                                      My goal is to eliminate as much NSC as possible and put her on a hay diet with oil and the necessary supplements as "feed". I like to keep her out to move around, but when the grass comes in there is no more room for sugar, so I'm trying to get as close to eliminating NSC in a feed as possible. Then if she needs more calories I could always increase her hay ration, right?

                                      I have a grazing muzzle for her as well.

                                      Feeding a horse like this is a huge puzzle.

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                                      • #20
                                        I use LMF for grass hay, horses are doing well, improving from where they were.

                                        http://www.lmffeeds.com/super_sup_feed.html
                                        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

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