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Discussion on Horses Don't like Alfalfa Pellets!

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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 627
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 - 10:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Given a choice between SafeChoice, Sweet Feed, and Alfalfa Pellets, I've decided to go with the Alfalfa Pellets for awhile. The hay I've gotten to in the barn looks too brown for my taste, so I thought the added protein would be a good thing.

My mares both eat it, but one gelding is leaving dropped clumps of it all over, and the other gelding, Tango of course, won't touch his!

Just wondering if anyone else ran into this? Is it possible the pellets are not the best quality? I don't care for the smell of them, should they smell like fresh hay?

I am only feeding a small can full with the Purina 12-12 vitamin/mineral supplement.

I see in old posts some suggest soaking them before feeding to prevent choke?

Fussy butts, try to make sure they are getting good nutrition and this is the thanks I get, lol!
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6052
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 - 10:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie mine LOVE alfalfa pellets but I do soak them between feeding to mush. They should smell good, mine smell quite a bit like alfalfa. What brand did you get?

When I changed mine over I put about 50/50 shafechoice..alfalfa pellets for awhile... don't think it would have made a difference tho..they LOVE them, wet OR dry.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 629
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 - 10:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Got them from Tractor Supply. I was buying really cheap sweat feed, just to mix the vitamins with. I don't want any molasses in my feed, yet I ended up putting molasses on Tangos hoping he'd eat them! I was putting the pellets out in an old tank for them to all eat at once, and noticed he wasn't eating. So yesterday I put them in their stalls, and even without hay to munch on, he refused to eat his! And Cody's ended up on the aisle floor more than in his stomach!

I'll try soaking them today and see how that goes.

What a pain! I think I need to find someone else to buy hay from; my supplier bales all of July only, and it seems the hay is always too mature/brown. Or maybe it's been so dry the last 3 years that every ones' is the same.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 24526
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 - 6:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, color can be the least important factor in evaluating hay for more on this see, Horse Care » Equine Nutrition, Horse Feeds, Feeding » Forages for Horses, an Overview.
DrO
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 630
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 - 7:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks DrO, probably don't need the darn pellets.

Now, I have a few more questions:

Is it normal for alfalfa pellets to list soybean oil as one of the 2 ingredients? The first ingredient is Forage products..shouldn't that say "ALFALFA" if what's in the bag is "Alfalfa Pellets?"

My next question concerns adding water to make a mush. I did that today, and HOLY WAH!! HOW much water, and how much expansion?! Sorry if I sound so naive on this, but is it really a good idea to feed horses something that expands so darn much when it comes in contact with water?!

I added molasses to the warm water I put over the pellets. Ugh, what a mess! Cody eventually ate his, Gem ate hers same as without water, Willow took forever but kept picking at hers, and Tango...NO GO. Scooped his back out of his feed box to keep it from freezing.

And the smell? Sorry, I've never smelled alfalfa that smelled like these things smell like.

Maybe it's a bad batch? Or bad brand? Rancid soy bean oil?

I dunno guys, but this doesn't seem right to me!

This Producer's Pride brand from TSC, protein 14% min, fat 1% min, fiber 32% max, ash 10% max.
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6058
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 - 7:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

UMM Angie that doesn't sound right, take them back!

I went and looked at a bag I had here and the ingredients say Sun cured alfalfa hay...that's it and that's what it smells like.

I get the standlee brand tho. I have gotten rancid Safechoice before and my horses acted like yours..the 2 oldies refused it...Hank picked..
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 633
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 - 7:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think I will take a small bag back to TSC. I know one of the workers there really well, and he will make it right. The more I think about it, the more the smell bugs me.

I recall asking about the cubes a couple of years ago at the local garden/farm store down town. One of the workers brought me a bag and opened it, and I don't remember being put off by the smell!

I did get moldy feed there one time. They were out of SafeChoice and I got something else. Four bags, all moldy. They told me to just dump it out, and never asked to see/smell it, and replaced the bags with SafeChoice.

This is making me mad now! Same price as the Safe Choice, $13.95 a bag. And I avoided the SC because as you may remember, we had a discussion on that and we never really came up with what the heck was in the bag!

To get nice clean oats I have to go 50 miles round trip, but geesh, at least oats is oats... and corn is corn...and all I really want is a NON molasses type feed to give them their vitamins and minerals with, and I was thinking alfalfa would be a nice bonus this time of year!

This is getting waaay to complicated!
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jos
Member
Username: paardex

Post Number: 1579
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, Feb 22, 2010 - 11:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie my horses in France took WEEKS before they really started eating the alfalfa pellets, they were harder then the complete pellets and less sweet[just alfalfa as Diane stated] I needed to start with a handful in each 'normal' feeding. But when they were used to them they really liked them and I think did VERY well on them. And the pellets are ideal when somebody starts coughing so from then on I took care every horse knows and eats them. When hay quality is bad they really are a solution.
Jos
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 455
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Monday, Feb 22, 2010 - 1:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie if the smell is off I wouldn't feed them. Ours smell just like alfalfa and also that's the only ingredient listed on the bag. When the ingredients list is vague like that it makes me wonder .. seems like the manufacturer is leaving themselves an 'out' so they can put whatever they want in them. I'm with you on preferring grains I can identify over some random mix!

I do like feeding alfalfa pellets as a way to easily add a measured amount of protein to the diet (we feed straight grass hay). I usually don't soak them as the ones we buy turn to an almost powdery consistency when soaked. They must be very finely ground before being pelleted.

If I need to soak them I usually add beet pulp pellets too to improve the texture to more of an oatmeal consistency.

It is alarming to see how much they grow when soaked .. I usually cover them twice over with water (e.g. 2" pellets plus 4" water) and they expand to fill that volume after soaking.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 24529
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Feb 22, 2010 - 5:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Forage products? Well I guess but don't know that might be alfalfa... The oil may be used to decrease the amount of dust and help bind the pellets together but I agree if the odor is off I would not feed. Unlike color, odor is an important indicator of quality.
DrO
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 639
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010 - 3:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, interesting what I learned about horse products today!

I called the 888 number on the tag from the bag of pellets.

I don't feel I got an answer as to if there is ONLY alfalfa for the forage part of the ingredient list. She said they always just list the ingredients as "forage" uh hum...to cover any thing that might be in the bag do ya think?!

And then she couldn't find the specific info on the ones I bought, with soybean oil in them. So she read me off ingredients:

Sun cured alfalfa (that's good)
molasses (NOT GOOD)
and

are you sitting down folks?

Porcine FAT...

Porcine?? PORK?? PIG FAT?? Eeewwwww.....

Then it was "Oh wait, yes, here's the one you got, yup soy bean oil.

YUMMY!!!!

So she's sending me a $10 off coupon for Strategy; which is ONLY 26% sugar!! HUH?? At least I think that's the one that was ONLY 26% sugar!!

BUT it is balanced 100% IF you feed the amounts listed.

Ka-ching, ka-ching, and that ain't no slot machine showering me with ca$h!

Apparently she missed the part about wanting to feed the horses as inexpensively as possible while covering their vitamin and minerals needs.

DrO,

You've got it right in your nutrition section: Good HAY, water, mineral block.

KISS Principle.

On a good note TSC will refund my money, I just need to bring in the UPC codes and my receipt, which I hope I have. I don't have to bag it back up at least.

Just have to dump it in the woods, maybe the deer will like it?

Pig fat...really makes ya wonder what else is in our horse feeds?

And "ruminant meat and bone meal free" does NOT mean no on the pig fat.

Apparently Producer's Pride is a branch of Purina JFI.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 24533
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010 - 7:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie,
maybe I am missing something here what is wrong with pig fat? If this and molasses are added in small amounts as binders and energy enhancers I don't see the problem. What percent of the total are they?
DrO
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6068
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010 - 9:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wouldn't pig fat go rancid quickly? I can't help but think I wouldn't feed my horses anything with pig fat in it on purpose...harmful or not.

I looked up the binder for the Standlee hay pellets and the grass pellets (timothy and orchard) use betonite clay. Unlike soybean oil, and pig fat at least it wouldn't go rancid. It has no binders for the alfalfa pellets listed...just sundried alfalfa, you'd think it would have to have some kind of binder tho wouldn't ya?

Angie I don't know where in Mi. you live...but here is a list of places that carry standlee brand...which is VERY good.

scroll down for Mi. results

http://www.standleehay.com/retail-finder.aspx?state=MI#results
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 640
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 12:26 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO,

Sorry, it just don't seem right to me to be feeding those vegetarian horses of ours animal fat of any kind. Can't imagine coming up to a herd of horses in the wild, and finding them gnawing away at some dead pig for the fat.

I don't think those I bought had any pig fat in them, but don't matter, I won't buy them again.

Diane,

Well, whadda kno...Tractor Supply in Escanaba has the brand you are talking about, and that is where I bought the ucky alfalfa pellets! I don't recall seeing any other hay pellets of any kind, but I didn't ask either. I thought alfalfa pellets were alfalfa pellets were alfalfa pellets...

I use bentonite clay myself and don't have any problem with my horses ingesting that!

Thanks for the link!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 24536
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 6:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, in general animal fats are more unsaturated than vegetable fats making them more susceptible to rancidity but there are inexpensive treatments that can be used to stabilize them. This property alone is not a reason to not use them in my opinion as with proper handling and dating of products can be done safely.

Angie, you seem to have missed out on one of the most significant nutritional advances of the last decade at least when it comes to maintaining horses with high energy requirements or carbohydrate metabolic diseases. For more on this see the article Horse Care » Equine Nutrition, Horse Feeds, Feeding » Fats and Oils in the Diet of Horses.
DrO
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6069
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 6:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr.O. that doesn't make sense to me unless the" carb metabolic" horse is thin. I found oil to put on the pounds very quickly. and for horses prone to laminitis wouldn't that be a bad thing?
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 641
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 7:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO,

NOPE, don't think I missed out on the significant nutritional advance of the last decade. Just never even considered that any oil except those from grains/fruits/vegetables would be in horse feed.

Don't know why, but to my mind it's just like grinding up dead cows to feed back to the cows. I know it's not the same, but I just can't get past that.

And I wouldn't be surprised if pig fat is in many of the products horses ingest.

And of course we could find lots of "weird things" in horse feed, and supplements, and meds for horses but I wouldn't use something that don't feel right to me.

Sorry! Maybe I'm just being weird about it all.
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Vicki
Member
Username: kpaint

Post Number: 717
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 7:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, I'm not a student of nutrition yet...still trying to be an elementary student of the hoof. But. A couple of the "old guys" I was around in my youth used to feed regular vegetable/corn oil for a shiny coat. Hydrogenated oil no doubt. Wonder what that did. Suppose I'll have to read the article and a few decades of research.
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6072
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 8:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Vicki, no doubt oil is good for a shiny coat and keeping weight on a horse, I fed gallons at the barn I worked at...those TB's were hard keepers, but boy they did shine!

I don't understand where it would be appropriate for EMS horses considering we are USUALLY trying to get weight off
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Aleta
Member
Username: aletao

Post Number: 23
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 8:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hate to be contrary, but animal lipids are saturated fats, and in general, plant based lipids are unsaturated. The process of hydrogenation is performed on some plant based lipids (also called oils) to make them behave more like a saturated fat. This is what brings us Crisco, margarine, and peanut butter that doesn't separate (read your labels of national brands..."partially hydrogenated soybean oil."

Aleta
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 463
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 11:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie I have to agree with you, it just doesn't feel right to me to feed pigs to horses.

I do feed oil when needed for condition but always use veggie oils.

I did know a horse once who loved ham sandwiches, and worked with an old TB trainer who swore by eggs and Guinness added to the horses' feed ...
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Vicki
Member
Username: kpaint

Post Number: 718
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 1:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ham Sandwiches? Maybe he was craving salt. Hahahaha. Guinness a grain base? hahahha. That's great Shannon.

Wonder how much oil needs to be fed daily to get that shiny coat Diane? I sure don't need weight on anybody!
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 1174
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 2:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I lofff Guinness...YUM.
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6073
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 2:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Vicki the horses at the barn got 2 cups a day. I think you can get a good shine without oil...brushing and good nutrition. Hank has one of the shiniest coats around and believe me he isn't over groomed..they don't even see a brush in the winter unless they get muddy. I wonder if it isn't his hoof supp or Ration Balancer. that helps with the shine.

I gave the old mare oil when I thought maybe she has ESPM. She gained weight quickly on just a half a cup to a cup a day... she hated the stuff so sometimes she didn't eat it all.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 24538
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 - 6:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Guys there is not much I can do to change your prejudices against fats and oils from animal origin. From an energy and nutritional standpoint they are equivalent on a per weight basis in the equine diet and some of the other factors that might enter into the considerations of a human diet not likely to be of concern do to the inherently lower percentage of the total diet and perhaps there shorter life also.

Aleta you are right vegetable fats are, with but few exceptions, more unsaturated (more carbon double bonds). The nutritionist in me knows better but I let the chemist in me do some quick and incorrect rationalizations. I let the notion that animal fat might be more prone to rancidity temporarily cloud my brain. This does mean that animal fats would be less prone to rancidity, at least of the oxidative type. There are other types of rancidity however and perhaps some of these other factors work more on animal fat than vegetable fat. In any case I stand corrected and thank you for keeping me straight.
DrO
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