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Discussion on Adding warm water to pelleted feed

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Rachelle E. Morris
Member
Username: rtrotter

Post Number: 151
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 - 9:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I recently moved my horses to a new farm ( not my choice, old farm ceased operations) where there was no electricity to heat my winterized water buckets, so after years of being spoiled ( my horses and myself). I was forced to crack ice several times during the day. I know my horses were drinking, but it didn't seem as if they were drinking as much as they normally would from their heated buckets.

So I started putting warm water in their meals ( all pellets) and making a mash (no bran), which they loved.

Now that they are used to getting the water in their feed can I safely stop and have no ill effects ( impaction colic) or should I just continue even though the weather is warmer and the water is not freezing any longer.

Can too much water in their feed be detrimental?

Some observations since I started this. My piggy mare doesn't gulp her food down in thirty seconds or less, it's like she is savoring her food, she is less gassy and since she stays at the food tub longer, she lets the other mare eat her dinner in peace. The other mare's manure has been much more consistent, well formed and she does not seem to be suffering from her normal bouts of loose stools when she gets harnessed to go out and jog. She also looks better. Although her blood results did not say she was dehydrated, she was getting ribby even though her feed had been increased and she had been wormed.

Thanks
Rachelle
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hollyw

Post Number: 184
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 - 9:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, Rachelle,

I always put warm water on the pellets I feed throughout the winter, and also for the three elderly horses I have. One thing that started me adding water for all the horses was the fact that I had choke with two of them as they gobbled their dry pelleted feed. Since I've used water on ALL the pellets for all the horses, I haven't had any choke.

The old guys get water all the time, but in the past, I have ceased putting warm water on pellets during the warm weather, and I've never had a problem changing from wet to dry. I will say that I don't think it hurts to continue, though, even in the summer with regular tap water on the pellets. When stopping to think about it, horses normally would be grazing grass that has liquid content, and they would be taking all day to eat it. We tend to feed our horses two - three meals of lots of dry matter all at once . . . and it seems to make sense that water would help in their digestion.
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PattyB
Member
Username: pattyb

Post Number: 131
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 - 9:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Rachelle.

I've been feeding pelleted feed for ions and have always put just enough water on it to make a mash. Cold weather/warm water and in the summer, just tap water temp. The water helps prevent choke, gets more moisture into them and, makes it easier to mix in supplements. I also water everyone's hay as I have one mare prone to impaction colic.

I hope that helps.
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3691
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 - 10:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Rachelle, I water my horses pellets down year round, I figure they can never have too much water, and what little bit goes in their pellets can't hurt and probably helps. I've had the same observations as you as far as good results and as an added bonus if you feed supplements they can't eat around them. Mine will even eat bute in their mush. If you want to continue I can't see any harm as long as it doesn't get hot sitting and start fermenting...I keep mine in the basement between feedings so it doesn't freeze in the winter or ferment in the summer.
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Susan M. Herrick
Member
Username: quatro

Post Number: 912
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 - 11:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ditto for me. All three of my horses get their pelleted food watered down. It makes the little bit that Levi gets, look like alot, and he takes his time eating it.
I think it helps to get their water uptake higher, and that can be a good thing any time of year.
I would just keep it up as preventative medicine. I have had 2 horses choke on pellets as well, before wetting it down.
Suz
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22382
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Feb 19, 2009 - 8:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

When you consider the amount of water a horse will normally drink the amount added to make a mash is not a significant amount and will not hurt the horse. As Diane writes the one downside is if allowed to sit around too long after wetting it may spoil.
DrO
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 2381
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Thursday, Feb 19, 2009 - 9:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I was doing that when feeding powdered supplements and I hated the mess left in the feed boxes. One mare especially seemed to always leave some behind & I had to scrap that out or it would get pretty yucky.

I guess most of you feed in removeable buckets? Or do you just leave it sit longer maybe? I like the idea of warm water in the winter, and also slowing down the rate they eat since I had one choke a little a few times.
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PattyB
Member
Username: pattyb

Post Number: 132
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Thursday, Feb 19, 2009 - 10:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Good morning Angie.

What I actually did was go to Walmart and buy 3 large metal bowls. I keep my grain and supplements in a spare room in the house and mix the feed 30-60 minutes prior to feeding. If I suspect someone is not going to eat all of their food, I drop the bowl in the bin (removable for cleaning) just to be sure. One caution though---> You don't want to leave the bowl in there any longer than it takes for them to consume their food otherwise, they may flip it out onto the floor where it becomes a hazard if stepped on.

For anyone wondering why the grain is in the house, I don't have a secure room in the barn that the horses couldn't get into if I accidentally left the door open. And with smart man Ziggy, he could open the door if he wanted to. I've heard numerous stories over the years about horses getting into the feed room and the owner finding a disaster later in the day.

Years ago, I had a friend who was out riding with her husband when he fell and broke his arm. They hurried the horses back home and in the commotion of getting him to the hospital, the feed/tack room door was left open. Fortunately there was only a partial bag of grain in there but it was enough to have to get the vet out there. Since at any given time I have 7 bags (lite, senior, goats, chickens, corn), I'm just more comfortable knowing they can't get into them. As I was reminded just recently with my dog getting into the Naproxen, it only takes a second to make a life threatening mistake.
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Rachelle E. Morris
Member
Username: rtrotter

Post Number: 152
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Thursday, Feb 19, 2009 - 2:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks everyone for all the responses.

I put the water in right before I feed, so no sitting around, it only takes a few minutes to make the pellets into mush. I do like the idea that I can leave the mash in a bucket and feed it later, sometimes I have to go race and someone else feeds my horses. I'll just make sure the temp is not too hot or cold.

Would 4 hours be too long to have it sit on a day like today when its 44 degrees?

My mares do not leave anything in their feed tubs, wet or dry. They are pigs and lick the buckets cleaner then if I washed them, I'd start to worry if one of them did not eat.

Thanks all
Rachelle
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3693
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Thursday, Feb 19, 2009 - 5:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Rachelle mine sits in the basement 65 degrees between feedings aprox 12 hrs. and I have never had any problems with it getting sour...Out in the sun or high humidity would make a difference I think tho.
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 136
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Friday, Feb 20, 2009 - 10:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Rachelle I feed soaked alfalfa and beet pulp pellets in the winter time, kept in an unheated shed with temps in the 40s it stays fine for 24 hours. (I add cold water) Not sure if different kinds of pelleted feed would have different 'shelf lives' when wet though.

Incidentally I read a study recently where horses were offered both warm water and cold/icy water and they always chose the cold when given the choice. (My horses do the same.) But when offered only the warm water they did tend to drink more. Anyway don't feel too bad about not being able to offer them warmed water as they likely prefer it cold anyway ;)
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