Thursday, November 18, 2010

But the Food is Cold

This post is for Lytha, especially. She asked how I make the beet pulp mash so I decided to give instructions on how I do it. "Your horses are so lucky to get such fancy meals! although i really wanted to see nadia's portion. do you drain your beet pulp? how do you do that?"

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...
 and set it aside for several hours. I find that by feeding the mash each morning and then starting the next batch at the same time works best for me. I've left it as long as 48 hours before and it doesn't spoil in the cold weather although high temperatures can make it go rancid. In the summer I make it in the evening and feed it in the morning.

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


Shirley said...

Lots of work, but worth it! The pictures are proof.

fernvalley01 said...

Looks like it is working well

lytha said...

thank you for showing us your feeding routine, i love seeing the pictures of what others feed. your lucky horses get such a variety of things in their buckets! and with three it is complicated so i see why you don't ask your son to do the soaking.

beet pulp here costs 9 euros for 40 kilos. that's about 80 pounds for 14 bucks. i go thru a bag every month or so, so you see i feed a lot!

i do way more water than you, so it makes a big mess, but my horse doesn't drink very much. when he's grazing i think that is all the water he gets, from the look of his trough.

i am worried about the molasses added, but i don't want to have to rinse and drain it.

like you, i prepare the evening's feed in the morning, but usually i wait til breakfast is done, take the bucket away, wash it, and then make up two batches at once - dinner and the next morning.

here's the good part - i keep it in my bathtub while it's soaking. that's cuz i keep my feed in the "hallway" and make all horse food indoors so i don't have to worry about mice or dampness. i wonder what our guests think when they see two buckets of mash sitting in the tub! (i don't take baths, i'm a shower person.)

about soaking: i watched a mare choke and aspirate on beetpulp that wasn't thoroughly soaked, so i will always feed it soaked.

the best thing to me about beet pulp for a retired horse: the value for the amount, and the time spent eating it. it takes a long time to eat a bucket of beet pulp, and it is his favorite part of the day. oh and the fact that it's soluble fiber and so very healthy.

thanks again for the bucket photos! we should all photograph our feed and routines!


Leah Fry said...

We do what we need to do for our ponies, don't we? I'm not yet to the point of having to "cook" for them, but I do have to supervise every feeding so Daltrey gets all his. By the time I have the facilities to separate them, he'll tower over the other two and I'll be having to protect them from him!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Wow, Lytha, I may be importing beet pulp from Germany! That's a great price. I would readily give more to them but it's breaking my bank to feed all my equines.

I don't think there's any molasses in our beet pulp. There's a little bit in the mixed grain but it's not sticky, gooey so there's not very much.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I would be worried that draining the beet pulp would leach away all the nutrients.

Sydney_bitless said...

Beet pulp was what got Naigen back up to her weight. It astounds me how much her and Nadia look alike. Same head and conformation. Cute little sway back and all. Though she had the withers from hell she was very comfy to ride bareback once she got back up to weight though I was a bit too tall for her, not too heavy though. I mean she was 13.3 and I am 5'8

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Thanks for sharing. Both of our pigs/horses don't need to gain any weight (yet) but that day will come.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Nadia looks great!


achieve1dream said...

Poor girl! She did lose weight on that pasture. I'm glad you brought her back up so she could put the weight back on.

I feed Chrome shredded beet pulp dry . . . so far I haven't had a problem with it. I know of a ton of people who feed it like that so I don't worry about it too much (well a little). I have noticed he's eating faster so I might put something in his bucket to slow him down.

In answer to your comment, Chrome has one whorl directly in the middle of his forehead just slightly above the level of his eyes. That's the only whorl I've noticed on him. He doesn't seem to have any on his neck, chest of flank like my old mare used to.

And the buzzards don't normally swarm like that around my property. Someone ran over a rabbit in front of my house on the road so that's what they were after. I guess they were waiting for me to go in so they could fly down there. :)

cdncowgirl said...

I should do a post on Cessa's feed... similar to yours but also different :)