Read these 40 Feeds, Supplements & Feeding Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Horse tips and hundreds of other topics.
Flax (linseed) has many wonderful benefits for horses and humans alike.
Flaxseed is unique among feeds because of its high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid. Horses need a minimum level of key fats to maintain good health. These essential fatty acids are Omega 3 and Omega 6. A horse cannot produce these fats in their body, thus they are an essential part of his diet.
Characteristics of a lack of essential fatty acids may include, dull coat with dry itchy skin and cracking hooves.
Flax also is a rich source of fibre, especially soluble fibre which gels when exposed to water (similar to psyllium). It is helpful in preventing impaction and sand colic as the fibre swells and the gel like consistency traps and suspends sand, bringing it out of the system. The fibre is rich in lignans, substances believed to be linked to the cancer fighting effects of a high fibre diet. It also has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Flaxseed is 26% protein and rich in amino acids like methionine and lysine. It has good levels of antioxidants, including vitamin E and is a good source of magnesium and phosphorous.
To prepare flaxseed for your horse it must be ground, cooked or soaked. The seed hulls are small and tough and they won't be chewed enough to benefit the horse. Flaxseed, either whole or coarsely ground, appears stable to long-term storage at room temperature. Ground flax in an airtight opaque container can keep for up to 90 days in the fridge. Whole seeds last about a year.
Fresh flax has a pleasant nutty smell, while rancid flax smells fishy.
When adding flax to your horse's diet (as with any feed change), always make gradual changes. For most horses 1/2 to 1 cup of linseed per day is sufficient. It's pleasant tasting and most horses gobble it up! Expect to see a shinier, more healthy looking horse in about a month's time!
The supplementing of flax seed oil will help with many conditions including:
* clear up skin conditions
* relieve arthritic and inflammatory pain
* increase bone strength
* improved skin and coat condition (decreased dandruff and a beautiful shine on their coats! Even some dappling)
* When a pregnant mare was fed flax, her offspring were larger, and grew faster than when previous to being fed flax within 9 months cracked hooves were completely healed
* Valuable source of energy (great to feed during the cold months or during times of stress to prevent weight loss)
* keeps less desirable saturated fats mobile in the blood stream
* increases oxygen uptake to the cell
* decreases recovery time from strenuous exercise
* Numerous studies conducted on animals and humans show that flax has powerful anti-tumour properties and may reduce tumour size by 50%.
Beet pulp can be used as a digestive aid.
Be sure to always add 2X the amount of water to dry beet pulp before feeding (allowing the beet pulp to absorb the water before feeding~!)~!!
Recommended to add COLD WATER to mix Beet Pulp, and allow it to soak overnight; due to using hot water can start a fermentation process within the container of beet pulp, and depending upon degree of fermentation, can cause a horse to colic, if the horse is predisposed to colic.
Does your horse not consume sufficient salt or mineral blocks that are either hanging on the stall or T/O wall or on the ground?
Purchase a small block of salt or mineral block, then using a hack-saw, cut it into some semblance of quarters, and place one of the quarters in pieces into his grain bucket. While eating the grain, and in cleaning out the bucket, he will get sufficient mineral nutrients from this moving of the block pieces away from his grain, and from licking up the grain.
Each quarter should last the average horse approximately one to two months in the grain bucket.
Probiotics are supplements that help the gut of a horse to digest fibre or microflora. Yeast culture bacterias thrive in the horse's gut and only provide nutrients beneficial for the horse's digestion. Probiotics are beneficial for horses under stress or prone to colic. They offer a wide range of safety in their administration.
Orchard, Brome, Kentucky Bluegrass hay is finer in texture than Timothy or Alfalfa Hay. The protein content is somewhere between Alfalfa Hay & Timothy Hay.
Orchard, Brome & Bluegrass hays are all comparible in texture to local hay, but much, much higher in protein content.
Whenever turning any horse(s) out onto pasture that have not been grazing 24/7, always start off slowly, gradually increasing the time on pasture.
An example of this is:
Day 1 out on grass for NO MORE than 2 hrs.
Day 2 out on grass for NO MORE than 2 hrs.
Day 3 out on grass for NO MORE than 3 hrs.
Day 4 out on grass for NO MORE than 4 hrs.
Day 5 out on grass for NO MORE than 4 hrs.
Day 6 out on grass for NO MORE than 5 hrs.
Day 7 out on grass for NO MORE than 6 hrs.
Day 8 out on grass for NO MORE than 6 hrs.
From here on, they can be left out for 24/7.
During the entire process, watch them, and monitor for ANY signs that indicate they are out too long....Resting the rear against objects to relieve the rear end from weight. Too quickly thickening of neck crest. Frequent shifting of weight off of a foot (usually the rear shifting frequently). Heat in any one of the horse's feet. No interest in hay or grass for over an hour at a time while out, or after brought in and stabled. All these signs let you know that the time frames on grass need to be reduced for that particular horse.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is composed of the fractured shells of microscopic, fossilized sea creatures. Basically, it is equivalent to tiny pieces of broken glass. Harmless to all mammals, it is lethal to insects, parasites and may even provide some control for bacteria and viruses.
Adding food grade DE to your horse's feed can provide a number of health benefits. One major benefit is in the control of internal parasites. DE is a highly effective organic wormer, and can be used alone or as part of your regular deworming routine. As it passes unabsorbed through the digestive tract, the sharp edges kill internal parasites.
You simply mix a small amount with the horse's daily feed. It can also be dusted lightly over hay or mineral blocks and supplements. The recommended amount depends on how much you are feeding, but it is generally a small percentage of the overall daily feed. By adding DE for horses that have a parasite problem, you can clear up worms and other internal parasites in about a month. However, once the parasites are gone there is no reason to stop adding DE. Not only will it help control re-infestation, the same daily amount is also recommended as a regular dietary supplement. In addition to controlling parasites, diatomaceous earth helps improve joint health by reducing arthritic inflammation, promotes overall digestive health and may help your horse have a fuller, shinier coat.
One very important note: Be sure to use food grade DE. The DE sold as pool filtering material, for example, has been heat processed and is toxic.
The general rule of thumb is a little often. A horse's stomach is only about 1 to 3 gallons in size and therefore, they should be fed, a little, very frequently.
The rough rule of thumb is 3% of the horse's total body weight. Feed according to the rule of thumb but monitor the condition....making sure that the hip area is well covered with flesh and the ribs and shoulders as well.
Though you must beware (especially with some breeds) of overfeeding, there are just as many breeds that require alot more than the normal rule of thumb!!
The horse MUST HAVE CLEAN WATER AVAILABLE TO IT AT ALL TIMES!
The factors that effect that ratio are:
easy keeper vs poor keeper of weight;
amount of exercise daily;
placid temperment vs nervous (hot);
type of hays given: (alfalfa or timothy or local hay);
type of grains fed: complete, natural grain or extruded grains;
gestating or lactating mare;
whether or not pasture is available;
stabled, blanketed or out in weather.
If you need any further assistance, don't hesitate to ask.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|