Feeding guidelines help (Canadian)

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by heartland, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. heartland

    heartland Senior Member

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    I feel extremely dumb, but am having a hard time figuring out what my horses should be getting. I’ve never really had “easy” keeper breeds before (I’m used having a horse in some sort of work, and giving it grain) and I want to make sure they are getting what they need without over/unnecessary feeding.

    I have a weanling/coming 1 year old Haflinger filly obviously in no work, and a 4 coming 5 year old Shetland pony mare who is currently in no work. They are turned out on a field of (mostly) dead grass, I do see them graze though. They get four feedings (two feedings in slow feed hat nets) a day, of low sugar orchard grass hay. They are currently stalled at night but I’m hoping to get a shelter built for them ASAP so that I can kick them out 24/7.

    Sorry for the background novel! I asked the woman at the feed store what mineral supplement she recommended and I ended up buying the Step 7 pellet. Here is the info Step 7 Equine Supplement Pellets

    So I’m just unsure how much to feed them, I see that there is a max amount of 1kg/day. But do they need the max amount? Again I realize neither of their weight reaches the max but do I feed the maximum for their weight? I thought I was getting a mineral to supplement their hay.. this seems more like a grain (ration balancer?)? I just don’t want to “grain” them as they don’t really need it, but I want to make sure they are getting the nutrients that they need!
     
  2. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    I’m not super great with nutrition, but am in Canada.

    My only comment is I don’t feel a long yearling and a 4/5 y/o should be on the same diet. A long yearling is still growing and will need a different diet to promote proper growth.

    I’m sure someone more educated will chime in.
     
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  3. heartland

    heartland Senior Member

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    I was told by her breeder that because Haffies are such easy keepers, I would just need to find a vitamin/mineral supplement.. I have no problem feeding her something else but am a bit afraid of doing the "wrong" thing as I'm not used to easy keeper horses.
     
  4. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    Despite being an easy keeping breed, she is still a growing baby, so should be fed differently than perhaps an adult fat kid. Lol

    The best option would be to consult a nutritionist in your area. Most work for a feed company, but if you pick a high quality feed that’s available in your area, that would be a good place to start. Usually they do their consults for free.

    I believe most nutritionists will want you to test your hay. The idea is then you’re supplementing as needed to ensure a completely balanced diet for both equines involved. But there are some that will assist without testing hay :)
     
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  5. heartland

    heartland Senior Member

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    Thanks! I will see if I can get ahold of a nutritionist in my area :) I do know that the hay is tested, and could probably find a picture of the results.. I'm not the best at reading those either (clearly I need to take some time and learn a bit more about nutrition!), but I do know my hay guy tests everything and actually has a few different types available.

    I definitely see your point about the growing baby vs easy keeper pony. I just also didn't want to load her up with grain if that makes sense, especially since she wasn't getting any before I got her.
     
  6. doublelranch

    doublelranch Senior Member

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    It sounds like a ration balancer to me, and ponies are not listed on the feeding rate guidelines. I would contact the breeder of your Haffie and your vet to see what they would recommend. Feeding growing horses can be a little nerve wracking, and the breed you have makes it more difficult. Ponies are also too easy to overdo.
     
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  7. Global-Equestrian

    Global-Equestrian Registered

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    Please look at Requilife.com this is a very good way to keep our horses healthy over a long time period. We don’t give any receipts on the website but if you are looking for solutions please just contact me or my wife.

    Best regards

    Christian Baier
     
  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    It's kind of low protein for a ration balancer. It's 12% but you're supposed to feed up to 2lbs a day to adults, potentially even more to youngsters. My 'youngster weighs 1000 lbs, so according to the directions I'd be feeding him 5 lbs a day, so it's actually more like a 'feed' than a ration balancer, it's intermediate in amount but a 'feed' based on its protein %.

    The thing is, it's not meant to be fed by itself(as the only thing except for forage, I mean). It's meant to be fed with another bagged feed, such as a 'nonfortified' grain. I believe that's why it's formulated the way it is. Because it is intended to be fed with something else - another bagged feed, I mean. Another concentrate feed.

    I would have to look at Step 7 in much more detail to figure out if it was a balanced feed if fed only with forage.

    You see, if they really formulated it to be fed with a 'non-fortified bagged feed or grain(and obviously, some pasture/hay), it wouldn't have the right balance of nutrients in it to be fed with pasture/hay alone.

    Though I would say that didn't much matter because it was overfeeding the horses anyway, and is more about what they're getting TOO MUCH of, than too little of.

    On the other hand Buckey Grow n Win(ration balancer, formulated to be fed with forage) is 32% protein and I'm supposed to feed an idle adult of 900 lbs, 1.25 lbs. And an 18 months old of 800 lbs, 2 lbs.

    But in fact, these both are not just easy keeper breeds, they're EXTREME easy keeper breeds.

    And even growing ones, rarely need much of any supplement - to supplement anything - protein, minerals, anything.

    My guess is that you really should do what was mentioned, which was to feed both of them only a vitamin-mineral supplement, and that even that would be more of a 'just in case' type of thing than actually being necessary.

    I seriously doubt a Shetland and a Haflinger need any supplemental feeding other than a decent forage. Both would be very ill served, at any age, by being overfed.

    'Easy keeper' - especially with this degree of easy keeper, means the animal doesn't require supplemental feeding - they're quite efficient.

    But in fact, many adult horses need much less than what they're getting. Here's a good article on that:
    Health Concerns Related to Equine Obesity – The Horse

    It says 51% of horses are obese. Not just chubby, but obese.

    In many cases, all their nutritional needs such as protein, vitamins, minerals etc, are met by decent forage, and in many cases, limited amounts of forage. Yes. 24/7 grazing is very often too much for extreme easy keepers, and even other adult horses.

    The idea that that most adult horses need so many things added on in addition to decent forage, is something the supplement industry has touted but just does not make any sense.

    All the Haflinger breeders I have gone to - as well as all the Shetland breeders I've ever talked to - were incredibly proud to say they don't feed weanlings, yearlings or two year olds anything but pasture and a salt block(a few fed a handful of whatever, just to get them to come into the barn at night, the concern being that they would eat so much grass they'd become obese, if left out 24/7).

    A few breeders gave them a small amount of a true ration balancer, but honestly, there was no difference except the ones on ration balancer were too heavy. The ones getting pasture or hay (or some of both) and only a vitamin-mineral supplement looked the best. A few breeders gave them some bagged feed, an old style 'sweet feed', but honestly, they were just plain fat on that. And that's no good for them.

    I would only supplement them at all if I had to buy really bad quality hay and they had no pasture.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
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  9. mymarespet

    mymarespet Senior Member+

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    I use Step 7 vitamin and mineral, use it mainly for the vitamin....the bag I get is the granulated kind, not pellets. It is strictly vitamin/mineral.
     
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  10. heartland

    heartland Senior Member

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    Thanks SLC you are able to describe better than I was how I feel about over feeding my two.

    Ah I see, I didn’t know there were two kinds and I assumed I was getting the vitamin/mineral. Good to know!
     

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