Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feed and weight

As you know Digby can be a little bit of a hard keeper in the winter. He's had many, many feeding programs in all seasons. I'll do a quick outline of them here.

Before DelVal
- Mostly unknown. I do know for winter though he got as much hay as he could eat and lots of beet pulp. Grain tends to make the kid a little nuts from a young age, apparently.

At DelVal
- I don't quite remember but I believe it was a handful of sweet feed for most seasons. I'm not sure about winter.

With his next owner
- Free choice hay, 2 qts beet pulp and 2 qts 10%/10% Pennfield Grand Prix Granola twice a day. He came to me looking great. Probably a BCS of 5 and very fit. I did look at putting him back on Pennfield when I moved to a self care barn but it's very expensive. I figured I'd try other options first. I still wish it was cheaper but it's a high quality grain for sure. He looked fantastic, in good weight and was being worked pretty darn hard, as well as having a full body clip.

With me in NY
- Round bales while outside, 3-4 flakes of hay while inside given 3x a day, more if kept inside all day due to weather, 3 qts local feed mill senior pellets 2x day. 2qts beet pulp in PM as wel. Kept weight on for the rest of the winter at a BCS of 5, maybe 5.5.
- Spring: gradually backed off grain until turned out in May as a live out. Had acres of fresh grass. No grain.

With me in PA (first barn)
- 2-3 flakes hay 2x a day, given no grain at first. As winter approached, started gradually upping grain from handful to 3 qts 10% pellet for a local feed mill. He was in work, though possibly not as hard as last winter due to my fault not his, and had a full body clip. I asked to have his grain switched to senior but that was frowned upon. I was also not allowed to buy beet pulp to feed. He ended up being about a BCS of 3.5. It took till I moved in April to get weight back on.

Second barn in PA
- BCS of about a 4.5 when I moved. Was started on McCauleys WB100, 2lbs 2x a day and 2 flakes of alfalfa 3x day. Had access to fresh grass when outside. Gradually brought down to 1lb WB100 and then when he went lame, was put on McCauleys M30 1/5 lb per day and hay was reduced to 1 flake of alfalfa 3x day.

Current barn in PA
- BCS of 6 when moved. Currently a 5. Started on small amounts of Triple Crown Senior and gradually upped as winter got colder. Currently gets 4-5 flakes (more if it's absolutely freezing, like the past few nights) when in at night, otherwise has free choice round bales in field and limited grass outside. Getting 5 lbs total for the day of TC Senior. He also gets a half dose of electrolytes when the temps are unusually warm, cold, or the temp at night goes below 25. This is a prevention measure since he is not getting beet pulp or soaked feed to help him get more water in. He has, as far as I've known, coliced twice. Both times were in the winter. I use electrolytes to try to get him to drink as much as possible to prevent this.

Here's the good part. I preemptively upped him a little last week since it's so, so cold here with lows going into the teens at night! He actually put weight ON! Holy crap. Now, he's not in work, he's not body clipped and he's still wearing blankets of various weights depending on the temps but holy crap. He's notorious for not being able to keep weight on. I wish I remembered what DelVal had him eating (maybe someone else does??) during the winter cause he was skinny there too. He's pretty calm as well, not hot at all to work around, which makes me happy. Could I get away with this feeding regime if he was being worked? No idea. TC Senior is low NCS (aka low sugar and starch... or jet fuel, as Digby likes to think) and pretty high fat which is supposed to be "cool" energy because horses don't burn it off like they do sugars. So maybe it would work. I'm so pleased that he's keeping weight on and actually PUTTING it on even when it's so cold out! Yay. Happy dance for Digby.

I've started thinking about what I'm going to do come spring, fall and summer when he doesn't need the calories at all. I think I'm going to put him on Triple Crown Lite or TC 30% which foods designed to be full of the good stuff (vitamins, minerals and aminos acids that they need) without a whole lot of calories. It looks to me that the TC 30% is actually lower calorie and you feed less of it so I'll probably lean that way. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm just happy he's not a skinny mini! :) Go Digby! And a big thank you to Triple Crown for keeping him sane and still plump!


  1. Pennfield Fibregized was the grain of choice pre- DalVal in the winter :) Very little though because, as noted, grain is like jet fuel for Digby! Glad to hear he's doing well.

  2. Yay. When I moved to the self care barn, I contacted Pennfield to see what to feed him, they recommended Fibregized or Fibregized Omega actually. :) I really like their grains it's just so flipping expensive! Not that TC is cheap....