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question about whole flax

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  • question about whole flax

    I tried the search function, but so much came up on flax, I gave up on wading through them all. So... I've always used ground flax as a supplement for my horses. However, this past Sat at the feed store they told me they had a busted bag of whole flax that they'd sell for a greatly reduced price. Do I need to crush them before top dressing on feed? If OK to feed whole, how much? I always gave 1/2 cup of ground. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I grind mine in a coffee grinder, one grinder-full for each horse, ground at feeding time. Many on this forum will insist that you don't have to grind it, but it has two kinds of fiber. The hulls are insoluble fiber and the inside is soluble fiber. Plus for the omega benefits, I am not convinced that they actually break down the seeds during digestion. I suppose someone could do a poop inspection to find out!
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


    • #3
      I'm one of the ones who will insist you don't have to grind it. Your horses teeth will do that just fine. I feed whole, never grind it. My horses look fantastic.


      • #4
        Another whole flax feeder. My guys all get a 1/2 cup daily and look amazing.
        "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
        So you might as well have a good time"


        • #5
          I've never ground it and neither did my dad nor anyone else around here. Very few seeds get through whole but like any grain, the odd seed will make it through but not very many. You can feed up to a cup of whole flax per day.
          Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

          Member: Incredible Invisbles


          • #6
            Poop inspections show it absorbs, when fed whole ...


            • #7
              A lot of it will pass through the horse undigested when fed whole. You'll get pretty flax plants in your pasture.
              When I feed flax I go old school and cook it all day in a crock pot.
              As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


              • #8
                I feed it whole as well. 1/2 cup a day. Never had any problems with absorption.


                • #9
                  1 cup daily, NOT ground

                  Horses look fabulous, and it's due to the flax I'm sure. They didn't look fabulous before the flax (hence the reason I added flax to the diet)
                  "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                  • #10
                    I grind it for my toothless wonder. Just spin it around in a dry blender.


                    • #11
                      I never have a flax plant growing when I feed it whole

                      If you're finding a lot, then something isn't working right with the teeth and/or the GI tract. I can see some flax not actually getting ground by the teeth - they are small seeds and the grinding surfaces are not necessarily going to encounter all the seeds. But putting a flax seed through the horse's GI system is really tough, and the hull does break open for the nutrients to be extracted, when things are working well.

                      No harm in grinding as long as you feed it then, or at least refrigerate it immediately and feed it quickly
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                      • #12
                        Hum, maybe my horse is different - but according to my local birds - my horse passes the seeds whole when fed whole.

                        I started finding piles in her paddock that the birds picked completely apart when I started feeding whole.

                        Did a little experiment - clean paddock, feed ground seeds (omega horse shine - didn't have a grinder) - check next day, all piles in tact.

                        Feed whole (one feeding, at night - 1 cup) check the next day, and there are two or three piles which the birds have picked apart.

                        So they DO go through my horse, who is 6 years old, healthy, teeth in good shape, no signs of ulcers, easy keeper on hay + ration balancer. I am not sure what percentage pass whole - but enough to bring the birds!
                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                        • #13
                          Flax which is not ground by the horse's teeth will come out the other end as do tomato seeds in humans. When I first started feeding flax, Larry Mack at Seminole told me to buy the stablished ground flax and explained to me that I'd be wasting some seeds. Seminole sold both. I liked the taste of whole flax better than ground, so I fed C&C whole flax. A few month's later the huge manure pile at that barn sprouted a lovely crop of flax plants.

                          Now I feed chia seeds from getchia.com. However, those which aren't ground by my horses' teeth are nice plants out in the pasture. Not as many chia plants as I had flax plants, so I guess more get ground up and digested. Chia seeds have less omega6 than do flax seeds, so they are better for horses, with the "good" omega3.


                          • #14
                            I feed 1 cup of whole flax/day and have done so for years. No flax plants in my manure pile.
                            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Appsolute View Post
                              Hum, maybe my horse is different - but according to my local birds - my horse passes the seeds whole when fed whole.

                              I started finding piles in her paddock that the birds picked completely apart when I started feeding whole.

                              Did a little experiment - clean paddock, feed ground seeds (omega horse shine - didn't have a grinder) - check next day, all piles in tact.

                              Feed whole (one feeding, at night - 1 cup) check the next day, and there are two or three piles which the birds have picked apart.

                              So they DO go through my horse, who is 6 years old, healthy, teeth in good shape, no signs of ulcers, easy keeper on hay + ration balancer. I am not sure what percentage pass whole - but enough to bring the birds!
                              But have you check the piles yourself? Honest question - and yes, *I* have, so I can say this with some experience

                              Most of what I found, whether this was from whole oats or whole flax - were simply the hulls. I did find a few intact ones, but probably 80% of what I found were merely the hulls. IMHO, the few whole ones, or even the whole-looking hulls, are what attract the birds and get them digging in piles to look for more. If they don't even see an empty hull, they won't go digging.

                              So, put on some gloves for the next trial and see what you find - it's really quite interesting to pick through some apples and see what's in there, I promise
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                              • #16
                                I feel whole flax, 3/4-1 cup a day, vet said it was fine. From what I understand the oils are still absorbed even if the seed doesn't breakdown. Agree with JB-mostly hulls. All I know is when I stopped, his skin problems came back.


                                • #17
                                  I have fed whole in the past and felt it did the job. I'm grinding it now only because I was tired of cleaning up the seeds. There was always some stuck to the side of the feed pan or the buckets where I mix grain, and it drove me nuts as they stick like nothing else once slightly damp. It takes me just a minute extra to buzz them in the coffee grinder and dump on each bucket of food when I feed. I can't say it has made much difference in how my horses look, whole vs. ground, but I like not having little seeds stuck to everything.


                                  • #18
                                    JB- I have not inspected the seeds in the poop - perhaps they are just hulls like you say that bring the birds.
                                    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                                    • #19
                                      I feed whole flax. No measuring--I have 1 cup supplement cups, put in their other supps first, and top off with flax. So probably about 3/4 cup. They haven't been on it long enough to really tell a difference, especially now that they're getting fuzzy and muddy.
                                      Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                                      Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                                      VW sucks.


                                      • #20
                                        I have fed whole and ground. Overall I think I get better value from the seeds ground. And I have found I can grind a week or so at a time and it doesn't go rancid or lose any effectiveness. I feed a cup a day and my boys look fantastic. Gotta love that wet look shine. :-)