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bran mash bad for horses?

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  • bran mash bad for horses?

    So we just spoke with an equine nutritionist who went on at some length about bran mashes being bad for horses (I believe her exact words were "a bran mash can take the paint off of a wall"). This is a new one to me - and I've had my hard keepers on bran for years. Is this a theory-of-the-month or does anyone have any knowledge/data behind this?

  • #2
    found this article-has some interesting thoughts.

    http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-he...ding-bran-3151
    What you allow is what will continue.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wheat bran can be unbalanced with regards to Ca:P

      Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
      So we just spoke with an equine nutritionist who went on at some length about bran mashes being bad for horses (I believe her exact words were "a bran mash can take the paint off of a wall"). This is a new one to me - and I've had my hard keepers on bran for years. Is this a theory-of-the-month or does anyone have any knowledge/data behind this?
      So a bran mash without extra Ca in it might just might upset the overall Ca:P ratio, which should be in favor of calcium.

      Just add a teaspoonful of ground limestone or 5 tums to the mash if that worries you.
      Otherwise there is nothing wrong with a bran mash once in a while, though I would not raise babies on it.
      MW
      Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
      Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
      New edition of book is out:
      Horse Nutrition Handbook.

      www.knabstruppers4usa.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
        So we just spoke with an equine nutritionist who went on at some length about bran mashes being bad for horses (I believe her exact words were "a bran mash can take the paint off of a wall"). This is a new one to me - and I've had my hard keepers on bran for years. Is this a theory-of-the-month or does anyone have any knowledge/data behind this?
        Yes, there's data. Try searching on thehorse.com -- I was looking it up last week when the vet recommended bran after my horse's mild colic. I seem to recall a Cornell study that confirmed that bran mash actually REDUCED hydration, not increased it as previously thought, and that any perceived laxative effect was actually the result of digestive upset caused by the abrupt diet change. I'm pretty sure I just searched thehorse.com for "bran mash colic" and came up with the results.
        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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        • #5
          You wouldn't suddenly switch your horse's grain to a different kind right? Never made sense to me to feed bran mashes.

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          • #6
            After my horse had a mild episode of colic (resolved with a less than full dose of Banamine) one of my horse's vets recommended giving him a wheat bran mash 1-2x per week..she said giving it any more and it reduces / loses its laxative affect. I've been giving my horse the amount she recommended, which is one quart of it dry, and then adding as much water as he'll take with it. Would you guys not be doing this??
            Originally posted by RugBug
            Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.

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            • #7
              Ah, the age old bran mash debate! It is often hotly debated whether or not there is any benefit to giving a horse a bran mash. Even the experts disagree. Some studies show no "benefit" but also no harm, and others show harm.

              I remember one study was done to test the laxative effect of bran mash. Of course the study found that there was no laxative effect, but the main reason for feeding a bran mash is not to make the horse poo or to make his poo wetter. The main reason for feeding a bran mash is to make the horse drink water! Bran mashes are too often made pasty instead of soupy. I make mine with LOTS of water and add some beet pulp and hay cubes to reduce the amount of wheat bran since wheat bran really isn't the best source of fiber.

              One article on bran mashes said it's no use to feed a hot mash in order to warm the horse up because the warming effect only lasts around 10 minutes. I don't agree that 10 minutes is not beneficial. My horses are at home and I work very far away. There have been a few times when I have not been able to get home before a cold rain. I come home to wet shivering horses and immediately throw them in their stalls, pile on the coolers, and make hot mashes with bran, beet pulp, and a few hay cubes. Within 10 minutes they are not shivering and are getting nice and toasty.

              I wouldn't make bran mashes a weekly deal but I think they have their uses.
              "But if you buy them as ponies aren't they cheaper?" - Favorite non-horse person quote.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here is an excellent article on mashes. It also has a link to another interesting article on linseed (flax seed).

                http://www.stablemade.com/horsecare/.../bran_mash.htm


                I seem to recall a Cornell study that confirmed that bran mash actually REDUCED hydration, not increased it as previously thought, and that any perceived laxative effect was actually the result of digestive upset caused by the abrupt diet change.
                That is interesting. I would like to see that study. I searched on theHorse but did not find it. What I really find interesting is that a laxative by definition causes elimination, and that often the result of increased elimination is slight dehydration. That is the reason humans are advised to drink lots of water when they take laxatives.
                "But if you buy them as ponies aren't they cheaper?" - Favorite non-horse person quote.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ok, I found it! Here's the link http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=424

                  What I find interesting is that they said bran mash does not sweep sand out of the gut like people thought. My reaction to that is, of course is doesn't! What is supposed to sweep sand out of the gut is a linseed mash, which is a more traditional mash. It takes hours to make a proper linseed mash and most people don't want to do it. The seeds have to be soaked over night, and then boiled and then simmered for 2-3 hours until they turn into jelly. Then wheat bran may or may not be added before giving it to the horse. The jelly is what is supposed to remove sand and the linseed actually does have a laxative effect.
                  "But if you buy them as ponies aren't they cheaper?" - Favorite non-horse person quote.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A bowl of Cap'N Crunch is "bad for you", too. But an occasional indulgence isn't going to kill anyone. Same with bran mashes. They're not necessary, but they're not toxic poison, either. Bran as a source of nutrients has pros and cons like any other. As "part of this balanced breakfast" it's perfectly fine. But horses don't "need" bran mashes. If you horses are doing fine on bran as a part of their diet, there's certainly no need to change anything. But if you want to give them something warm and soupy and wet for extra hydration, soaked beet pulp probably makes more sense.
                    Click here before you buy.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                      But horses don't "need" them.
                      My horses go NUTS over a nice warm mash in the wintertime. It is a very minor thing to indulge them, and they are most appreciative (as they nuzzle me and leave gobs of mash on my face)

                      One of life's little pleasures......
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling

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                      • #12
                        Exactly how I feel about a rare bowl of Cap'n Crunch.
                        Click here before you buy.

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                        • #13
                          don't think you can compare our diets to a horse's for obvious reasons. I'm not going to go out and give my horse a scoop of sweet feed when he is used to pellets. Why would I go and give him a scoop of bran? That doesn't make any sense.

                          The only arguments for feeding bran mashes are based on anecdotes and "I did this for 50 years" etc.

                          If I want to treat my horse I can give him an apple or carrot without him getting diarrhea from it or upsetting his GI tract. Or if I want something warm and wet I will add warm water to his grain with maybe some sliced up carrots/apples.

                          Or even a little bit of bran I'm sure is fine, like maybe a cup soaked. But not a whole mash that's usually a lot more bran.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, for one thing, a scoop of bran doesn't weigh anywhere near as much as a scoop of sweet feed...weight and differing nutrient-wise, I expect it's very little difference from giving a couple of apples.

                            I make ban mashes by substituting bran for half the grain ration. So it's not a huge alteration in the normal diet, and it is definitely something my horses enjoy.
                            Never had one get diarrhea from it.
                            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There is a difference between feeding bran as part of a regular ration and randomly giving bran mashes. The former is entirely reasonable, assuming that what's in the bran is what the horse needs. The latter is completely out of style and has been pretty much demonstrated to not have any magical hydrating or other properties, but has also probably never killed a horse yet.
                              Click here before you buy.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Shiaway View Post
                                don't think you can compare our diets to a horse's for obvious reasons. I'm not going to go out and give my horse a scoop of sweet feed when he is used to pellets. Why would I go and give him a scoop of bran? That doesn't make any sense.

                                The only arguments for feeding bran mashes are based on anecdotes and "I did this for 50 years" etc.

                                If I want to treat my horse I can give him an apple or carrot without him getting diarrhea from it or upsetting his GI tract. Or if I want something warm and wet I will add warm water to his grain with maybe some sliced up carrots/apples.

                                Or even a little bit of bran I'm sure is fine, like maybe a cup soaked. But not a whole mash that's usually a lot more bran.
                                None of my horses has ever had diarrhea after a bran mash, even a fairly large one. A bran mash can be made with varying amounts of bran. I'm sure some people use a whole lot of it but some people also feed enormous amounts of grain. Just people some people feed too much does not mean all people do or should.
                                "But if you buy them as ponies aren't they cheaper?" - Favorite non-horse person quote.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  While the 9% fiber content of wheat bran is laxative to humans (who traditionally eat a very low fiber diet), 9% fiber is actually pretty low for a horse (hays and other forages average over 20%).

                                  However, at more than 22% starch (on average), wheat bran, fed in significant amounts to a horse that has trouble with simple carbs, could potentially lead to gut disruption and laminitis.

                                  Remember, Dr. Pollitt experimentally and purposely induced laminitis in healthy horses with wheat starch. Not worth taking the chance, IMO.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Wheat starch is definitely not the same thing as wheat bran...
                                    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      In fact, it's a completely different component of the grain all together called endosperm.

                                      I am pro bran mash. no real reason except that it helps my horse in drastic weather changes, and my trainer and vet both recommend them.
                                      www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                                      chaque pas est fait ensemble

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Bran mash pros and cons...

                                        Pros...

                                        Horses love it.

                                        It's a horse treat.

                                        You can put pieces of apples and carrots in it, and even drizzle some molasses on it.

                                        It smells wonderful.

                                        Works great for hiding meds.

                                        Makes you and the horses happy.

                                        People love the sound the horses make while eating it.

                                        You can pour a little mineral oil in it and give it before shipping.



                                        Cons...

                                        Bran is high in phosphorus and if fed to often without a source of calcium to balance it, it can lead to brittle bones.

                                        It can be messy.

                                        It's not a panacea.

                                        It probable that there is a horse somewhere in the world who is allergic to it.

                                        It's also probable that there is another horse somewhere in the world who will somehow find a way to hurt himself with it.

                                        -

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