Nadia and Annie need it for weight management whereas Yalla! and Scout get it as a supplement and a treat.
Start with a sack of beet pulp pellets. I've been paying about $12 for a 50 pound bag at my local feed store. Then a couple of weeks ago I was charged $20 for one bag at the same local feed store. I was in shock and asked what happened. She said there was a shortage. The next day I went to the feed store across town and bought three 40 lb bags at $12 each. I basically got a bag for free with the old prices even though I sure didn't want to spend that much. I usually only buy one bag at a time. Jeez, I've never had anything go up that much in price before.
I've heard that you can feed them dry but they swell so much that I am hesitant to try it that way. I do give the horses a pellet or two as a snack sometimes. It's fun to watch them crunch them up.
I use a 2 pound coffee tin or you can use a feed scoop which is about the same measurement. I scoop out 2+ coffee cans of pellets into a bucket.
Then I add water to the pellets. I always add about double the water in proportion to the pellets. I figure it'll help with their hydration if it gets too wet. We do live in a desert, after all. I just scoop the water out of their water buckets because it's easier than using the tap. You could use warm water if you want but it still takes some time to break down the pellets so I just use cold water. Originally, I worried that the mash would freeze. It is really wet and cold, but so far, the horses don't seem to mind eating cold porridge. lol.
Never mind that the water looks so strange in my photo. This picture was taken in the morning with poor light and there is a layer of ice on top giving it a strange look. The white thing is my hand holding the can and dipping in the water.
Then I pour the water over the pellets...
This is not a fast feed. It must always be planned and made well ahead of mealtime. That is why it's taken so long to feed sometimes, if my son feeds for me, or something happens, because I won't ask him to feed it. It's too much work and then having to keep the horses separated is another issue.
Here is "tomorrow's mash" getting ready for tomorrow. I cover the bucket to keep mice out. Those are empty feed sacks that I need to throw away.
This is what it looks like when it's fully reconstituted, kind of like "shredded" bran meal. Sometimes, the last bit is watery but it's not too bad. I don't ever drain it. As I've said, I think it's good for them to get the extra wetness. The mush has an interesting smell, kind of nutty? My horses like it plain but, of course, they prefer it with grain added.
I get all my feed buckets ready and then I scoop:
1 scoop (2 pound can) each to Scout and Yalla!
Because I'm crazy, I use a certain mix of grains for each of my horses. I give Scout and Yalla! each 3 handfuls of cracked corn and 3 handfuls of sweet feed mixed grain. Then I add antihistamines to Scout's mix.
Here's Yalla!s mix. Scout's is the same in the black tub.
For Annie, I'll give 2-3 scoops of beet pulp mash, 4 handfuls of cracked corn, 4 handfuls of Senior mix and a handful of sweet feed. Nadia gets the same proportions of grains and the rest of the mash which comes out to about 4-5 scoops. I like to add vegetable oil too. My vet said it was a great weight producing food and you can't ever give them too much. For Nadia and Annie, I'll add a cup of oil each and for Scout and Yalla! 1/4 to 1/2 cup. I also like to add Calf Manna or some other kind of vitamin supplement.
Here's Nadia's portion. It's hard to see but there is some corn and other grains mixed around in it.
I have been leaving Nadia in the barn by herself with extra hay so she can browse leisurely without the
pigs other horses taking it all from her. She is old and chews slower than the others. I hate keeping her in the barn because although she has a 24 x 48 run she doesn't move around much. After all, she's 27 years young. I had hoped the big pasture would help her fatten up but she didn't seem to get enough to eat there and it was only for a couple of months until Annie hurt herself anyway.
Here's a photo of Nadia a few months ago. Notice the bony points and loss of muscle tone.
This is from this morning.
I know, they're terrible photos, but I'm happy to say that she is looking much better now. Even though the angle is awful, you can see that her backbone isn't as prominent and her rump is rounding up more. Of course, she has a hay belly but she's always had that. I can really notice the difference when I sit on her bareback. She was getting kind of bony, now she's just swaybacked, like your favorite old chair: comfy but droopy.
But the Food is Cold - song: Repetition, artist: David Bowie, album: Lodger