cnsdubie asked in PetsHorses · 1 decade ago

Is pelleted horse feed is easier to digest for a hard keeper?

My poor little Georgie horse is dropping weight on lush pasture, he's grained/beet pulp and supplemented daily, and was wormed on schedule.

I'm doing the double dose panacur, we're doing a fecal, the vet is coming back out, but I'm wondering about changing feeds. George was a septic foal and during his treatment, he developed gastric ulcers. We suspect scar tissue from the ulcers is possibly causing malabsorption issues.

So, I'm wondering if maybe a pelleted rather than textured feed would be easier for him to digest, and maybe he would get more nutrition from it.


This is possibly a complication of DSLD-ESPA, so any sources of nutritional info for DSLD-ESPA horses is appreciated, too.

13 Answers

  • lisa m
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Equine Senior is designed for horses that have problems chewing food and digesting it. It's high fiber, low sugar and it's easily digested without making them hot. You can feed it in quite large amounts and can even use it in place of hay for those that can't eat hay. You could give up to 6 scoops per day - 2 scoops 3 X per day but I'd start off with just 1 scoop 3 X per day and work yoour way up. I've got 2 old polo ponies that did badly this winter and I have them on it, picked up pretty quickly and I fed them a mix of grass hay with alfalfa, go easy though with the alfalfa as it can give them diarrhea. You could also add a little corn oil to the food.

    Here's specific info re Purina recalls. I use bags of the stuff and none of mine is affected;

  • I'm sorry to hear about your's always distressing when they are having health problems!

    I have a Morgan in his 30's. I too feed him Purina Equine Senior brand. It made a HUGE difference in him body condition.

    If you decide to go with a senior brand of horse pellets, PLEASE, read the lable that's actually on the bag (not the internet). Nutrena's senior brand puts ground up animal parts in as their protien/fat source. It only states it on the bag, not on their internet advertising site.

    You might concider (see what your Vet states too) adding some vegtable oil to Georgie's ration. It's a fast boost of really concentrated calories/fats. I use Canola oil I buy in 5 gallon jugs at Costco or Sam's Club.

    If you decide to add the oil, start with only 1/4 a cup or so over the horses ration at first, and go up slowly. Sometimes horses object to the taste, and it takes them a bit to get use to it.

    Also this is an F.Y.I., if the Vet sugests adding molasses to the Georgie's ration, you can buy five gallon buckets of molasses at the feed store for under $20. DRAMATICALLY cheaper than the molasses from the grocery store. I am not personally sugesting the molasses. I figure too much sugar might make the problem worse, even though molasses has some really excelent vitamins in it.

    I wish I could help more, but I just don't know very much about such gastric problems in horses.

    One thing though...have Georgie's teeth been checked/floated? Sometimes even young horses can have a problem.


    Homesteading/Farming over 20 years

    Horse owner over 30 years

  • Terry
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I have been feeding pelleted feed for about two years now. I switched to it because every where they pooped there was oats or whatever growing that hadn't been digested. That kinda gave me the clue they weren't getting a lot of nourishment out of it. The draw back is choking on it. I do believe when you first start them on it you need to be careful. The choking is caused I think buy them gathering to much at one time. If you could imagine sticking a hole bag of potato chips in your mouth at once instead of a few at a time. I would suggest a small feed container where it will pick his head up because he feels confined with his nose in the bucket or put something like a couple of bricks in the bottom of his feed container that he will have to eat around so that he can't get such a mouth full at once. After a while you can take out the bricks or go to a larger container when they are use to the feed. Hope this helps.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have always had good luck with pelleted feeds.

    I had a sickly horse last year that I nursed though and put weight on with a diet of pelleted brome w barley, 1 c oil, and multivitamins 2-3 times a day. The oil helps add some extra calories without adding sugar to the diet. In my horse, too much sugar, and he gets a little hot. The oil keeps him a little more consistent. If his stools are loose, back off on the oil a little. Make sure he gets a multivitamin as needed. (Example: my area is low in vitamin e and selenium, so I make sure to supplement for that)

    I find that with a hard-keeper, if I can feed him more often, then they do a little better. If I need to add weight, I like beetpulp, like you. I make sure everything is soaked and is a nice warm mash.

    I have never had issue with choke with this feeding regimen, and the hay pellets can safely replace hay, since it is still considered forage.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Supposedly a pelleted feed is easier for them to digest. I've copied and pasted this question and the email from the group to my Equine Nutritionist whom I work closely with at Co-Op she may have some suggestions. The only thing I can think of to try is feed the pelleted feed, beet pulp (shredded) and rice bran meal or pellets. Maybe some alfalfa cubes and wet it all down making a mash thus making it easier to digest. We had to do this with that rescue pony until she started building weight back up.

  • Marsha
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I used to feed mine a scoop of a mix of sweet feed and oats. 2x a day. Sweet feed is too heavy by itself. Unless he is a very active and athletic. It will cause a horse to founder or colic. Pellets are ok. A big coffee can. once or twice a day. I would not feed a bunch of alfalfa. check for blister beetles really well it will kill a horse if they eat them. Grass hay is best. If any other questions I would check with what he was getting before or contact your vet.

  • 1 decade ago

    Sometimes yes, but be careful. My old horse got a pelleted feed and then had a choking incident. The vet said it felt like he could have some tumors on his esophagus and the pellets swell a bit when they get wet, making it harder to swallow.

    So you may want to soak them first, this way they are already swollen and not swelling after he swallows them.

    EDIT: If he is having these problems, a pelletted feed might be better since it will be easier to chew once it is swollen. Pellets and beet pulp, maybe.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Definately! Pelleted feed turns to mush when wet. So even if the horse has trouble chewing feed or digesting feed, the pellet will break down in the digestive tract whereas grains will often pass through undigested.

  • PRS
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I agree that Equine Senior would probably be the best feed for your guy. Also, keep plenty of hay in front of him at all times. I know horses get ulcers for lots of reasons but I think that one of the main reasons is that it is un-natural for a horse to be stabled and fed hay twice a day. Horses in their natural environment are foragers and eat on and off all day, thus keeping food moving through the gut 24/7. Their gut is designed to work this way, I don't argue with God's design and allow my horses free access to pasture and hay for at least all the daylight hours. (I do stall them at night though otherwise they would be round as pumpkins.)

  • 1 decade ago

    we used gastrogaurd on our colt & after one months use he gained weight beautifully. you may need to treat the ulcers again. I can't say I've heard of "scar tissue" in the stomach but who knows. I have always believed in textured feed & increasing the hay to help w/weight. I don't know what the other part of your question is so I can't offer anything on that. Hang in there & if you don't like what the vet says...get a second opinion.

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