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Discussion on Unusual horse feed(s)

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Tiani R. Atwood (Tiani)
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 6, 2000 - 5:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am trying to find research material, and anectdotes, on unusual horse feeds, in particular, potatoes. Yes, I typed "potatoes". I hear this just often enough in my area that I would like to write an article on the subject (what actually happens in the gut with all that starch, what the protien content is, what the risks are, etc) to debunk the idea that this is an acceptable feed for horses. I am a member of a nonprofit that publishes a small, but extremely well researched newsletter each month, and this is one topic I feel a need for. Can anyone provide any clues as to where I might find such information? Or, have any stories to relate about this? No need for specific details, just general information, such as: Well, I fed (or knew someone who) _________ for so long, this is what happened.

Thanks in advance, everyone who responds!
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Jordana Meisner (Presario)
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 6, 2000 - 5:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hmmm, I don't have any personal experience, but on another bb I just read that in "the old days", particularly in Europe and Asian countries, where grains were not in abundance (for whatever reason) a staple seemed to be peas. Go figure. Should be an interesting story!
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Tiani R. Atwood (Tiani)
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 6, 2000 - 6:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Jordana

It's not surprising that pea vines were used-peas are a legume, after all, in the same family as alfalfa. It makes sense, even though it was done centuries before these genetic links were "discovered". Thanks for bringing that up, I had never heard about this before.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Thursday, Sep 7, 2000 - 1:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello All,
I have no personal experience but from my research: potatoes can be used for feeding livestock including horses, though pigs and chickens need to have them cooked. It is very similar to corn in their nutritional profile with the exception of being very high moisture content. 20 lbs of raw potatoes is about ezuivalent to 5 lbs corn. There are reports however of not being as palatable and may cause loose stools. Green or rotting potatoes need to be avoided however because they are toxic.
DrO
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A.F.M. Hyde-Clarke (Alexa)
Posted on Thursday, Sep 7, 2000 - 1:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

One of my books “Veterinary Notes for Horse Owners”, by Captain M. Horace Hayes, FRCVS, first published in 1877 and continually revised by various prominent vets and reprinted [I have the Sixteenth [Revised} Edition published in 1968] comments that in Continental Europe roots seem to be more freely used for draught horses than they are in Britain. As part of the ration for heavy work, up to 5 lb. of raw potatoes per head per day have been fed and as much as 15 lb. for lighter work. Fodder beet has found similar employment. Still greater amounts of cooked potatoes have been given.

With far fewer draught horses now, and a little more information on nutrition plus all the coarse rations and cubes that are ready-made, I wonder if that still happens?

I have also heard of turnips being fed to horses, to their apparent enjoyment, but I offered my horses some nice young turnips, and they turned their noses up at them.

I grew up in Jersey, Channel Islands [off the coast of France] and there was a root grown there called mangowurtzels [not sure now about spelling]. These root vegetables actually kept the islanders alive during World War 2 when they were occupied by the Germans and all food was shipped off to Europe. I believe that the animals on the island [like Jersey cows] were fed these roots, and I’m pretty sure that the carthorse at the farm next door to us ate them.

In a couple of dry, dry Transvaal winters, with unimpressive hay, I have in desperation added finely sliced cabbage and brussel sprouts to my horses’ feed to give them some “green feed”.

One of my horses adores lettuce, preferably the mixed baby leaves type, and after he had an eye operation, this was all he would eat for the first week. Mind you, he also adores roses!
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Tiani R. Atwood (Tiani)
Posted on Friday, Sep 8, 2000 - 4:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr O-

My common sense tells me that a horse fed a diet consisting mainly of potatoes would be overloading starch in the gut. You are seeming to state that potatoes are okay? As long as they are not green, or rotten?

And, sort of on the same topic, what about feeding bread? A number of people do this in my area because it is sometimes cheaper than hay, being nearly free. I wonder what long term effects would result with this too.

BTW, I am in Alaska, where temps get quite cold, and I teach others, that the proper way to generate body heat is by providing more roughage, and access to water 24/7.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Saturday, Sep 9, 2000 - 1:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well the key word here is your word "mainly", what do you mean by that? It can be used as a concentrate, with the caveats noted above and in feeding concentrates in general, but would not substitute for the forage since it is low in fiber. Because a raw potato is 80% water it takes quite a few pounds to equal a pound of corn.
DrO
PS I will be moving these posts to the nutrition section soon so if you can't find it here thats where it will be.
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Tiani R. Atwood (Tiani)
Posted on Monday, Sep 11, 2000 - 7:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr O-

There are stories (and I actually know a few people personally) who will feed exclusively potatoes and/or bread, plus occasionally some inexpensive grain mix. So, they are feeding these two items *instead* of roughage, not in addition to it.

Your statement about raw potatoes being quite similar to the nutritional content of corn is quite interesting to me. I know that sometimes, these potatoes are frozen-usually they are dumped by truckload next to the barn, and scooped up by bucketfull. Somehow, these horses survive this diet, but despite the weight they carry, they do not look healthy...no bloom to their coats at all, usually presenting a "wormy" appearance, or at best a "hay belly".
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Tuesday, Sep 12, 2000 - 6:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Assuming they do not have good pasture a diet like this would be deficient in fiber, minerals and vitamins, it is not surprisng they do not look healthy.
DrO
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Susan Elliott (Siouxieq)
Posted on Sunday, Dec 17, 2000 - 6:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, as a child we grew potatoes specifically to feed our ponies. We boiled and chopped them up and the ponies gobbled them down! The pony I learned to ride on lived to be 36 years old so I don't think the potatoes did her any harm!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Sunday, Dec 17, 2000 - 9:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Susan,
Was that all they were fed as detailed in Tiana's post?
DrO
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Susan Elliott (Siouxieq)
Posted on Sunday, Dec 17, 2000 - 1:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

they had a little hay plus rough grazing, but I am not sure if it was good quality as I was not a discriminating nutritionist as a child!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Monday, Dec 18, 2000 - 7:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

A little hay, a little grazing will make all the difference in the world. I just did not want anyone left with the opinion feeding 100% potatoes was a good thing.
DrO
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Cathy Davis
Member
Username: Cathyd

Post Number: 6
Registered: 7-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2002 - 9:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Dr. O, I was wondering if you thought there was anything wrong with feeding horses bread. Someone my husband knows feeds bread and now he thinks we should too. I would still be giving their normal grain ration but also giving them one or two loaves a day. They also get hay. We have a two year old thoughbred that is quite a hard keeper and anything that will put some meat on his bones is worth a try for us. Thank you.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 7367
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Dec 2, 2002 - 7:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Cathy,
I see no reason why pound for pound it could replace the grain portion but it will not take the place of the forage part of the diet.
DrO
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Marie Marshall
Member
Username: Ppaints

Post Number: 3
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 6, 2004 - 9:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The pasture I use to start the winter off with my broodmares is green pea stubble this year - does anyone know if this would cause them any danger. The stupple is no longer green - lots of lost peas as it was hailed on. I have feed green peas and a fella up north swears by them for good growth in young horses
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11311
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Oct 7, 2004 - 9:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Marie as long as the peas are not molding I do not know why this would be cause for danger unless the stubble is long and stiff enough to cause mechanical damage to the horses heels, coronet, and pasterns.
DrO
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