Saturday, August 20, 2011

Equine Nutrition - Here we go Again!

I wasn't planning on changing feed, but this morning I made a discovery that made changing feeds a necessity....

At the end of June, before heading to MN for a month, I bought enough Safe N Lite to get him into about mid August.  Today, upon realizing I had only about 3 feedings left I headed up to the Drive-Thru.  For those of you who (like me) don't know what a DT Feed store is, it is a something else!  You drive in, tell them what you want, they load it up and run your card, bring you a receipt to sign and you drive away.  Oh, and they nearly always are Feed and LIQUER.  Yup.  I'll have two bags of that and a six-pack of that, thanks.  It's real. Still can't get over it.

Anyway, So I get there and guess what?!?! They no longer carry it!  And neither does anyone else in the area.  I checked.  Sonnuvah.....  Not much to be done about that but move on!

So with only about enough grain left for 3 feedings, I need to act fast.  Ideally you transition a horse over a week.  I'm gonna have to do it in just 3 days. Certainly not ideal, but I'm left with no choice.  I came home and pulled out the old Nutrition binder and went to work.  For those of you just joining us, you can check out the posts under "Equine Nutrition" on the right-hand side for the epic saga that has been Junior's grain journey.

Rather than get myself into trouble again by finding a feed that is difficult to acquire, I decided to look at our two barn grains.  Currently the barn feeds Tribute's Kalm N EZ and Purina's Strategy Healthy Edge.  KEZ was one of the feeds Jess analyzed for me way back when, but SHE was not on the market yet.

Remember back then we were dealing with a hot, obese horse having very limited turnout?  Now we are dealing with a generally calm horse on the slender side of good weight who is getting ample daily turnout.  He wasn't even hot when he was in his stall for almost a week when the thrush was so bad.  That seems to be gone, now, btw.

So we're looking at a different situation: and a much more "normal" horse with fewer "special needs." Hopefully it wasn't JUST the feed that made the difference.  I suspect turnout has made the biggest difference, along with a brighter stall he can stick his head out and feel like he's in a herd rather than a dark lonely box.

Below is the comparison of the main things I'm interested in with regards to feed analysis.  All 3 are considered "low sugar/low starch" but I couldn't find the starch percentage for KEZ.  There's of course a lot more factors to equine nutrition, but for the most part all the main brands offer complete nutrition so I'm not getting into the Ca:P ratios or anything that would make my brain hurt more than it has to.

I think I'm taking a gamble with either feed since each is above or below on each line.
-KEZ has better fiber content.
-SHE has nearly the same mcals so I can feed about the same size ration.
-SHE has lower protein - we found most feeds contain more protein that a horse needs based on the NRC guidelines, but I don't mind having a slightly higher number there since he could use muscle, too much though and they just pee it out and make the stalls smell worse.
-Fat is higher in the SHE and some research suggests that has a calming effect on some horses.

As of tonight's feeding I'm going to substitute 1/4 of his ration with Strategy Healthy Edge and by Tuesday PM feeding he'll be totally on the SHE.  I have a thing against Strategy but I've heard much better reviews of the SHE so hopefully it'll work out.  Or it'll be back to the drawing board!

Just a parting shot for you:


  1. totally agree with your choice between the two - see, you are indeed an informed and intelligent owner! ;)

  2. I didn't care for the SHE, but hopefully it works out great for Junior. I know quite a few horses that are doing fantastic with it. I've actually been very happy having Lilly off grain completely, but I'm not sure if that works for your situation or not.