Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Feed Woes

I thought I was finally done with nutrition stuff for a while.  Both horses were getting the appropriate amounts of grain, hay, and nutrients and all was well.  I thought all that research, and all that math, and all that trouble I went through to find a good feed for my two horses was paying off.

So what happens when the feeding plan you've worked out to be the best for them isn't the best for them?

AJ is doing wonderfully.  He loves his grain and his supplements and waits very impatiently for his nightly beet pulp ration (according to M).  He doesn't even want his hay until he's had his beet pulp.  He's even been drinking some water in his stall...  not much, but about half a bucket.  I'll take that without complaint!

Lilly is the problem.  What else is new, right? 

Well, I think it's a feed problem...  for as many months as that poor horse has been on stall rest, she has never had an issue with being crazy.  She was stalled next to Baby for just about 3 months straight and I never had an issue with her when Baby went outside.  As long as she had hay she was content.  For about the last week or so, when Baby goes outside Lilly goes crazy!  Her legs shake and she paws constantly...  she paces around the stall and whinnies.  I have to keep her window closed or she'll paw all the bedding away from the back wall.  Even when I take her for a walk she's nervous.  She never settles.  M says she's just as bad when she feeds at night.

She was switched over from Nutrena SafeChoice to Strategy Healthy Edge about a month ago (November 19th to be exact) but it took me a while to switch her completely over to the SHE.  She's been through 1 full bag of the Strategy and I just bought a new one.  The Healthy Edge was supposed to provide all the "goodies" of regular Strategy, but with fewer calories that can make them hot, as Strategy has been known to do.

The only thing I can think of that could have changed her attitude this much is her feed.  I'm thinking about ditching the bag I just bought (except what I need to swap her over) and switch her back to the SafeChoice and see if it helps.  I was shopping around for a calming supplement, but I'm thinking it might be her feed.  I don't like her so hyper...  she was bucking in her stall this morning.  Not a happy camper!

If that's the case, I'll have to figure out a way to make the SafeChoice work for her diet. 


  1. See if you can find the NSC of each of the feeds - it usually isn't on the bags but can sometimes be found on the manufacturer's website, although sometimes not there and you have to call or do research on line - find the lowest NSC feed you can. Also, if she's on stall rest, does she really need any supplemental grain at all - maybe just a vitamin/mineral balancer is all she needs.

  2. I just looked here:

    and as I suspected, Strategy is significantly higher (28%) in NSCs than SafeChoice (22%). Also, if she does have to have supplemental grain, consider adding B1 to her diet - it helps with carbohydrate metabolism.

    NSC is non-structural carbohydrates - essentially the soluble, rapidly-digested carbs.

  3. I agree with Kate, it might be best to give her a vitamin/mineral supp. untill shes done her stall rest. (with a small handfull of feed if it helps her eat it)

    From what you were mentioning the other day, it sounds like she has lost of 'reserves' that you could cut back on her feed for a while and it wouldnt hurt her too much.

  4. You know I always compare Lilly to Paj because they are both delicate tropical flowers who live to make us crazy. Paj is an easy keeper in light work. He gets top quality timothy hay, salts and supplements in bran, and NO grain, no Senior etc, nada. And he looks terrific and thinks he's King of the world.

  5. Thanks everyone!

    I actually think the Healthy Edge Strategy's NSC content is closer 18%. Regular Strategy is higher, closer to the 28% you noted, so it actually has a lower NSC value than the SafeChoice.

    You guys are probably right about her not needing any grain at all really... she's just on and off stall rest so much I was hoping I could find something steady to feed so it wasn't changing all the time. I was really excited about the Healthy Edge because I didn't have to feed her very much but she would get all the vitamins and minerals she needed.

    I just can't figure out what else could be causing her to be so hyper. Grain is the only major change that's happened to her lately.

    So now I'm going to have to go back to the feed drawing board. :(

  6. I totally feel your pain about feed. The boys are doing so well, and then I noticed their feet. Trying to figure out the cause is driving me nuts, and of course the effects of any changes I make won't be obvious for months. It's frustrating!

    I second (or third!) the idea of just a vitamin/mineral supplement for Lily. It's hard not to give grain, but she probably doesn't really need it, especially if she's a plump little pony right now. :)