I have always used Barley instead of oats- you just have to be careful that you get clean Barley- if it has not been threshed properly you can get awns in it- think of the whole head of grain- it has little hairs ?? And those are NOT good in horse feed.
Barley is acceptable feed for horses, but it must be crimped or rolled, as it is a very hard grain. When I can get a good clean supply, I like rolled oats and barley combined with or without molasses (about 50/50 mix). Barley is a bit "hotter" than oats. Barley is about the same protein as oats, but has more digestible energy. The Arabian ranch I worked for in college swore by good, clean rolled oats and barley, it's the only grain they fed to foals and adults alike.
If I could get clean rolled oats and barley that is what I would feed, but the local elevator does not clean the grains well enough for me to want to feed it, so I stick with the commercially available feeds that are very clean.
Barley is a great feed BUT, there are so many good commercially mixed feeds available with the addition of minerals mixed in why would you use them. Many years I grow barley but would not consider using them even after cleaning and crimping as a feed for my own horses. When used in a properly formulated feed barley is much better. If a person wanted to use a homegrown grain as opposed to commercial mixed grains they might also consider feeding, Oats, corn, wheat, beans, peas, wheat bran, brewers grains, rice meal and then add some root crops for variety and added nutrients such as carrots, turnips or potatoes as well as adding in pumpkins apples and pears. All of these and many others have been fed to horses in various combinations and many times added to oat and barley straw for fodder over years of learning about nutrition. . The science involved in feeding horses has moved forward by leaps and bounds. Yet a person choosing to tailor a diet to his or her own animals can do so with foodstuffs as above and maintain healthy animals and take a great deal of pride in the undertaking.
Thank you for the replies. I knew it wouldn't kill them, as I have been feeding my horses this stuff for years...ever since I bought my first riding horses back in '92, but truthfully, I didn't even know what grains were in it! The stable that I borded my first mare at, fed this, and she swore by it, so that is what I always fed, just taking her word on it.
I tried emailing the company to learn the ingredients, but never got a response, so I asked at the feed store. She called me back today, and informed me that the grains it contains is is barley, with 20% crushed corn. I am sure the barley must also be rolled or crimped as it is flattened. As for the brown pellets in there, that must be the mollasses and other minerals etc. that are added to it???
What I am feeding, is called "Dairy Ration". I think it is made more for cattle(thus, the name) but I have never had any trouble with it working well for my horses, when I mix it in with other stuff I like to feed. I take a 40kg bag, and mix it with 50kg of rolled oats(for horses), making it almost half and half dairy ration and oats. Then I add a 20kg bag of BOSS to the mix, and that is all I feed. They also have mineral salt blocks set out all the time, and of course, hay in winter or as needed.
I think my horses are healthy, and yes a little(or in the case of some, maybe a lot) overweight, but I prefer them that way going into winter each year anyway, as they are outside 24/7, with only run-in shelters.
So yes, it is plain, and simple, but if it works, why "fix" it.
Here is the label with the ingredients(except for the barley and corn) that are in dairy ration:
Here is a pic of a handful of the dairy ration:
And this is a pic of a handful of the dairy ration with the oats and BOSS added, so is the final grain product that I feed to the horses:
I sometimes feed a nice Organicly grown rolled barley to the horses, and other animals for that matter. Granted they only get a handfull with their Vitamins.
Am a little different, I found they do not hot up my horses like oats can.
I prefer feed non GMO, Certified organic grains over any processed feeds and willing to pay the extra money.
I found over the years, that Beans, Peas even in the smallest amounts can cause problems ie. like Founder. They are really heating to the horses. So unless your horse is getting 4 to 5 hours of intense excerise a day, I would not use it.
Also do not like using corn, in fact none of my animals are allowed to eat corn that has been stored or processes. Mycotoxins in corn, can't always be seen in mixed feeds,, most people have no idea what to look for. Have seen enough horses in my past that have died from this (their owners good knowledgable people).... I will not feed it to my horses.
Mona, this probably won't be much help, The people I bought my mare from were believers in Purnia COB.....which is corn/oats/barley. It seemed to work as she looked wonderful. I couldn't find it in my area so did away with it and switched to plain oats.
The thing about COB that bothered me is the corn....I just don't feel mini's need corn in my climate as we don't experience long periods of extreme cold weather. But like I said these peoples horses all looked great...maybe a tad fat but very fit and healthy...and they have used it for many years.