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More feeding questions- ration balancer?
#1
Since the weather has been nasty and I have been recuperating from surgery I have been reading like crazy. ( If I can't work on the horses I'll at least read about them!! )

Everything I have read so far seems to be very much against grain for the 'average' saddle horse.

Currently Bunny ( who is a very average pleasure use horse)is on grass hay free choice and 3lbs of oats per day with Red Cell and an glucosamine suppliment.

I just read Hooks post on ration balancers and I am thinking of droping the oats and just doing the ration balancer.

Can I just go into the feed store and look for/ask for 'ration balancer'? Will the label tell me which one she needs?

Do I still use the suppliments with the ration balancer?

Thanks!
Annie

btw- Bunny is a good weight, never too fat or too thin. I've only noticed her getting 'hot' when we added corn. She gets a mild workout - mostly walking around on little fun rides- 3-4 times a week.
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#2
Most feed companies make a ration balance - although they don't call it as such.

Just ask for a feed that you only feed 1 to 3 lbs a day. I know Buckeye, and Progressive Nutrition, Purina, Tiz Whiz and TDI all have ration balancers.

I don't think you need the Red Cell (unless you have some problems you are trying to correct) but continue with your glucosamine as that is a joint supplement.

We feed all our Horse TDI feeds and they look great - even the old ones. If you feel your horse needs more weight then add a bit of oats or a fat supplement. Just don't mix the ration balancers with other types of feed other than oats. As soon as you do that you end up unblancing the formula so the horse is getting more calories but it isn't getting the proper mix for vitamins and minerals.
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#3
Thanks- off to check the Purina store. : )

I add Red Cell because my husband does it for everyone and I like that she's getting the biotin. But she really doesn't have any underlying problems that require the extra stuff.

She probably doesn't need a protien block either, does she?
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#4
Annie, we switched from a sweet feed to Purina's Born To Win, which I think would be considered a ration balancer. We were concerned about not getting enough vit & minerals with the sweet feed, since they are all easy keepers. We are only feeding, in addition to mixed hay, less than 2 cups of Born To Win a day per horse, plus a little cosequin to one, a little Horseshoers Secret to another, and aspirin to the 3rd. The 4th horse, the Belgian, gets about 8-10# of sweet feed per day in addition because she is huge and growing. So far I am very happy with Purina's Born To Win.
"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A man’s soul can’t be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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#5
I checked at the purnina store and they were out of the Natural Essentials Mare& Maintenance. Born to Win has 32% protein which sounded like a lot for Bunny's lifestyle.

They did have the Buckeye Grow and Win (?) they had a 32% and an 11% ration with added biotin. I opted for the 11%.

The horse guy I talked to at the store said that even on grass hay ( not alfalfa) the 11% would be a better choice for a non pregnant, low activity mare.

Do I need the higher protein or should I try this for a bag and see how she does? or do this and a free choice protien block? ( in the past she has just devoured the protien blocks ).
Annie
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#6
Hi Annie, Regarding the protein, I had the same reservations. I switched to Buckeye Grow & Win last fall. It has 32% protein which seemed like a lot to me. Last week my vet sponsered a nutrition seminar with Nutrena and I asked the nutrition specialist about it. Since I am only feeding 1-1/2 lb per day I actually need a higher protein feed in order to give them the correct amount. If I were feeding 5 -10 lb I would need the lower protein feed. The Nutrena rep said what I was doing was correct even tho' I was using a competitor's feed. The ration balancers are designed to give optimal nutrition in small quantities.
Nancy (and Tag & Rocky)
Free & easy down the trail I go......
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#7
Yep that high protien level looks like it's way to much but if you do the math it really doesn't come out to that much. Protein is an easy one to deal with if you know what the hay % is.

If you are feeding 18.5 lbs of a 10% hay and 1.5% of the 32% the total diet Protein is only 11.6% With the 11% it would be 10.075% Not much of a difference over all. Of course the hay could be a lot higher and that would make it higher just 10% is easier on the math! lol
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#8
We use both a 30% protein and a 10% protein ration balancer from TDI.

The 10% is sufficient,(with about a cup of oats) for all of the mature horses.

We use the 30% for the growing babies ( actually the three are close to their third birthday) and Cruiser, along with a couple of cups of oats for the three year olds. We will soon be switching the 3 year olds to the 10%.

The quantity of ration balancer you feed is so low the higher protein level would be okay , as Stormy says, but the higher protein is more expensive and mature horses just don't need it.
Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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#9
That was part of our rationale for switching to the Born To Win also. Our horses would get WAY too fat if we fed them the recommended amounts of a regular feed. By only feeding about 2 cups per day of the B to W they get the protein and vitamins they need without all the calories.
"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A man’s soul can’t be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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#10
"The quantity of ration balancer you feed is so low the higher protein level would be okay , as Stormy says, but the higher protein is more expensive and mature horses just don't need it." Mrs.Hook

OK so I take this to meant that I should leave her on the lower protein-even with just grass hay. : )

That makes sense if everything I'm reading about equine nutrition is saying that horses don't need anything BUT hay.

I started her out with one pound of the RB per day-free choice grass hay and mineral and salt blocks.
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