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Talk to me about supplementing your foals!

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  • Talk to me about supplementing your foals!

    I have just purchased a 6 month old baby!
    I was perusing a Smartpak catalog and came across a colt supplement, basically just a fortified multivitamin.
    Now I am very curious about the pros/cons of supplementing a foal? It seems like such a critical stage in body development!

    So, I figured I'd consult the experts! Who supplements their youngsters? Why or why not? And what is important to look for in a supplement?
    Originally posted by Nickelodian
    We jump horses. Over sticks. For fun.
    Never take life too seriously. Nobody makes it out alive anyway.
    Regulus RDL

  • #2
    I'm interested to hear the responses here, though the conventional wisdom seems to support feeding them a concentrate "designed to meet the nutritional needs of foals" (like TC Growth or TC 30), and feeding them an amount appropriate to their age and weight so that they get the right vitamins and minerals in the right balance. It's important that they not grow too fast, so overfeeding any concentrate is not a good idea. Feed the recommended amount, and make sure they are getting 100% of the RDA of the key nutrients.

    Also, they should be supplied free choice good quality forage, alfalfa (but not too much?), and a salt block. Or a mineral block? (but then does this throw off the balance of minerals in the feed?)

    I'm planning to supplement my soon-to-be-weaned 5 month old filly with MSM, since there have been some studies showing its anti-inflammatory properties to possibly help with early onset OCD. I figure if given in the appropriate doses, it can't hurt! My filly was in a stall for most of her first 30 days of life , and as she's been turned out more, she has done a fair amount of running around in the field and slipping in the mud (ARGH!), both of which have been linked to development of OCD. (Yet another thing to worry about!)

    Did I miss anything?

    I'm looking forward to hearing from the experts on the board, since they are the best resource! Also, I consulted with Kentucky Equine Research when my mare was in foal, and found them to be *most* helpful.
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

    Comment


    • #3
      Ration balancer here, Progressive in my case.

      If more calories were needed, I'd have gone with Triple Crown Growth for low sugar, high quality ingredients.
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

      Comment


      • #4
        I use Foal's First until they are four months old then switch to a ration balancer. I also keep an Equimin block in the stall. Amazing how they go to town on that for a week or so then don't touch it again for months only to go to town once again.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home

        Comment


        • #5
          Ration balancer (TDI-10) and I do give the smart pak omega 3- it has Omega 3's and vitamin E which is lacking since I raise my babies in ca and we don't have grass in our pastures.
          www.threewishesfarm.com
          https://www.facebook.com/ThreeWishesFarm
          Expecting 2017 foals by Vagabond de la Pomme, Cornet Obolensky, Zirocco Blue, Catoki and Christian.

          Comment


          • #6
            TDI-10 or 30 (depending on the individual), Flax, Vita E, Salt User Here! We have grass/pasture year round. Also in CA.
            Redbud Ranch
            Check us out on FB

            Comment


            • #7
              How much flax and how much Vitamin E do you feed, goodpony? I have been feeding my mare Horsetech Glanzen 1 (just the basic formula, I scoop/cup a day) for years now, and she always does great on it, her coat, weight, feet, and muscle tone are all terrific.

              Would the smartpak be a better choice? There's not much grass out there right now, so I'm thinking that supplementing with Vit E and Omega 3s might be a good idea, especially through the winter...At the moment, the filly is sharing her mom's grain--so not sure how much she is actually getting (the BM doesn't feed them separately.) Her weight is good, as is her muscle tone, but I can still feel her ribs--so she isn't overly fat.
              "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

              "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

              Comment


              • #8
                4 oz Flax or more depending on individual (we usually buy 40-50lb bag from Horsetech or Omega Horseshine (had a nice coupon from Omega Fields so that is what I got last time), I like Platinums Antioxidant (E,C, Se) to boost the Vitamin E/Se in the TDI. It is roughly 3000 iu in addition to what the TDI provides---We also have actual green Grass here year round (We are irrigated)--but winter grass--is winter grass!. I am also in a Se deficient pocket so the Platinum Antioxidant helps boost the Se just a couple of micrograms on top of whats in the TDI. Mine are all really easy keepers with access to year round pasture--occasionally we have to dry lot a few.

                If I were in a no grass situation depending on what else I was feeding I probably would use the TDI 30 vs. the 10. Ive also used LMF Super successfully--but mine seem to pack it on with that stuff--mainly because of the grass. I have also used Equus formulated by KER here in CA but is more difficult for me to get in my area.
                Redbud Ranch
                Check us out on FB

                Comment


                • #9
                  I also use a ration balancer (KER All-Phase) in addition to mixed hay (timothy/brome/alfalfa). In the winter they may get a little ground flax (maybe 1/4 cup per day), and I give added vitamin e. This year I am also top-dressing MSM (just a pinch) and DMG (the equivalent of 1500 iu/day).
                  Sunny Days Hanoverians
                  http://www.sunnydayshanoverians.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I am using Blue Seal Sunshine Plus as a ration balancer for my nearly 9 month old. When I got her she was a bit too ribby for my taste (and the more experienced people on here!) so I supplemented with a bit of their Omegatin.

                    She is still lean but in better condition now. She's a big girl - about 14.2 - and my vet said to be sure not to let her get fat.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For those feeding supplemental Vit E, where do you find it by itself?

                      I'm wary of feeding a Selenium/Vit E supplement (though this is how it is most often sold.) My mare is on Accel, which contain selenium, but only 0.15 ppm, so I supplement her with a tiny bit of extra selenium in her supplement baggie. The baby probably gets some of this since they eat from the same bucket. Even though we are also in an area where the soil is depleted of selenium, the TC growth already contains selenium: 0.55 ppm--and I don't want to risk selenium toxicity. IIRC, you can't really OD on Vit E unless you do something like quadruple the recommended dose...?

                      As for salt, the BM hangs a Himalayan salt block from the wall of their stall (on a string), and neither one has touched it in 4 months. And they are BOTH very oral, and lickers. The BM doesn't like to put salt block holders in the stall. They both demolish the big salt lick in the field, though. I'll have to check to make sure the BM puts one out for the weanlings in their field, since otherwise my baby won't have access to salt (that she will ingest, anyway!)
                      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For selenium, you really should have the blood tested if you are considering adding more than 1-2mg in addition to what's in the forage. It's not SUPER easy to od on Se unless you're just adding so many supplements that all contain Se. But if you're in an area where hay accumulates lots of Se, even a minor additional amount could lead to some toxicity issues over time. It's highly doubtful that's an issue where you are though. Most typical E/Se supps don't contain enough Se to really worry about if you're feeding just a regular dose. Still, it doesn't hurt to test the blood first, and then if you're adding something that contains Se, check again in 4-5 months.

                        E is harder to OD on, even though it's a fat soluble vitamin.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          These responses are great, and are leading to quite a bit of reading...which is leading to more questions!

                          With the ration balancers, how do you know the balancer you choose is covering your bases? I am finding it very difficult to find a nutrition chart or a list of vitamins/minerals that are necessary for foals/weanlings/yearlings.

                          Also, for those that add MSM, has it been shown to reduce the chances of DODs?
                          Originally posted by Nickelodian
                          We jump horses. Over sticks. For fun.
                          Never take life too seriously. Nobody makes it out alive anyway.
                          Regulus RDL

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Most ration balancers are more or less the same. Many companies make one for grass-based diets and one for alfalfa-based diets. Some are made more for a specific area of the country and just not available in other areas - Seminole for example is (nearly?) exclusive to the SE area. LMF is a Western brand.

                            If you really want to study nutrition, I highly recommend getting the newest release of the NRC book

                            RBs do "cover your bases" in most cases, but it really all starts with the hay. If you test your hay and find it's just super fantastic AND your horse can eat enough of it without getting fat, then if that's enough calories, you don't need even a RB. But most folks either can't get enough of one batch of hay to test and make it worthwhile or, worse, so much soil in the US now doesn't produce that high quality of hay.

                            Feeding the recommended amounts of a RB is going to get the horse where he needs to be unless the hay is just super craptastic nutritionally. You might still need to add something specific - selenium, copper, magnesium, something - based on your particular horse's issues or your particular location.
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I love that you meantion the NRC book, JB!
                              I just found this chart from the NRC 2007:

                              Digestible Energy/Mcals: 13.3
                              Protein: 669 grams
                              Calcium: 39.1 grams
                              Phosphorus: 21.7 grams
                              Sodium: 12.8 grams
                              Copper: 142.1 milligrams
                              Iron: 210.6 milligrams
                              Selenium: 0.42 milligram
                              Zinc: 168.5 milligrams
                              Vitamin A: 7,600 I.U.
                              Vitamin D: 3,740 I.U.
                              Vitamin E: 337 I.U.

                              The foal is on pleeeeenty of grass and currently on the concentrate the breeders feed- not sure of the specifics, so I'll double check, but I think it is what they feed all the horses in the barn...so I figured it might be a good idea to add something to make sure he is getting enough of the necessary vitamins/minerals for a growing foal.
                              Originally posted by Nickelodian
                              We jump horses. Over sticks. For fun.
                              Never take life too seriously. Nobody makes it out alive anyway.
                              Regulus RDL

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I love that you meantion the NRC book, JB!
                                I just found this chart from the NRC 2007:

                                Digestible Energy/Mcals: 13.3
                                Protein: 669 grams
                                Calcium: 39.1 grams
                                Phosphorus: 21.7 grams
                                Sodium: 12.8 grams
                                Copper: 142.1 milligrams
                                Iron: 210.6 milligrams
                                Selenium: 0.42 milligram
                                Zinc: 168.5 milligrams
                                Vitamin A: 7,600 I.U.
                                Vitamin D: 3,740 I.U.
                                Vitamin E: 337 I.U.

                                The foal is on pleeeeenty of grass and currently on the concentrate the breeders feed- not sure of the specifics, so I'll double check, but I think it is what they feed all the horses in the barn...so I figured it might be a good idea to add something to make sure he is getting enough of the necessary vitamins/minerals for a growing foal.
                                Originally posted by Nickelodian
                                We jump horses. Over sticks. For fun.
                                Never take life too seriously. Nobody makes it out alive anyway.
                                Regulus RDL

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yep - my filly is on beautiful, but nutritionally crappy, hay. It works for my mare and my 2 donkeys, who would be fat on a good hay, so they all get RB to fill the holes.

                                  Good hay is hard to find in my area - that mine is clean, sprayed for weeds, fertilized, and stored inside, not to mention beer can/bottle/dead critter free, more than makes up for its less than stellar nutrient profile.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post
                                    For those feeding supplemental Vit E, where do you find it by itself?
                                    I buy "human" Vitamin E (the natural Vitamin E, d-alpha) which comes in gelcaps. I get mine online from Puritan's Pride which has great deals if you buy multiple bottles (ie, buy three bottles, get two free, that type of deal, they'll also often throw in free shipping if you're ordering that much.)

                                    -Gigha
                                    River Oaks Farm - home of the Elite Book Friesian Sporthorse Grand Prix dressage stallion Lexington - sire of four consecutive FSA National Inspection Champions. Endorsing the FSA.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by RiverOaksFarm View Post
                                      I buy "human" Vitamin E (the natural Vitamin E, d-alpha) which comes in gelcaps. I get mine online from Puritan's Pride which has great deals if you buy multiple bottles (ie, buy three bottles, get two free, that type of deal, they'll also often throw in free shipping if you're ordering that much.)

                                      -Gigha
                                      I actually thought about this, since we order our own vitamins from Puritan's Pride However, I would worry about whether my filly would eat the gelcaps!
                                      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                                      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        So far, knock on wood, I haven't had any horse/foal refuse to eat the gelcaps....

                                        -Gigha
                                        River Oaks Farm - home of the Elite Book Friesian Sporthorse Grand Prix dressage stallion Lexington - sire of four consecutive FSA National Inspection Champions. Endorsing the FSA.

                                        Comment

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