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To Sweet Feed Or Not To Sweet Feed

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A Yankee In NC

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WOW!

I get so much information from other horse people..I never know exactly what to do!

I have had my mini for about 4 months now. He is 12 months as of June 20, 2008.

When I first got him I had him on Complete Feed as the hay situation here was very bad.

I am currently feeding and have been for the past 2 months...sweet feed.

Now, my farrier came last night and arrived before I did...thus disturbing our nightly feeding routine.

He suggested that I feed him at different times at night rather than on a schedule and that sweet feed was NOT the best chioce.

I hope that you all will help me to make the best decisions about how to feed and what to feed my Stuart.

thanks for your input!
 

ChrystalPaths

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Ok, your home, your barn, your horse, your routine and thus your schedule. I feed mine at about 6-7am and then about 8-9pm usually this time of year. They get hay at nite cuz they come in but none in the mornings. They are out all day on a nice mowed paddock. I stopped sweet feed because of the sugar. But that's me, I use Triple Crown Low Starch now after experiencing founder. Mind, the first time I offered it they thought I was nuts. "Where's my sweets", but I mixed it together about 2 weeks til the sweet was gone, and all there was was the TC and now they whinney for it each time. Yea they're chubby but not fat. You do your way, your schedule. There's a 100 ways or more of doing things, but no way would I allow someone to tell me when to feed. Farriers come at 6-10 week intervals, how does this matter! BYW they do make a nice complete feed that is not sweet feed in almost all brands.
 

targetsmom

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Yep, I agree that there are lots of ways to feed your horses, and it is ultimately up to you to decide what is best and works for you. Many horses will do fine on sweet feed, but I happen to be one that agrees it is not the best feed, especially for minis. The word "sweet" should be a clue - sweet feed is high in sugar and starch, which can cause problems in some horses. But again, many will do fine on it! I have switched all our minis onto feeds that are lower in starch, and they do very well on them without me worrying as much about them getting too fat or foundering (the BIG worry). There are many, many choices out there and what you choose will depend on what your feed dealer sells. Some examples I would look into are Platform mini feed (not one of the ones we use), complete senior feeds (they are easily digestible and usually lower in starch and sugar than sweet feeds), or anything with low starch, Carb-guard, or Carb-safe in the name.

I am one that feeds on a set schedule (4 times a day) that varies by time of year. But I also know people that DON'T feed on a set schedule, figuring that the horses don't get stressed if they don't know exactly when to expect their food. I admit, I like the routine of a set schedule myself, and would be afraid I might forget a meal if I didn't feed them at about the same times each day!

Good luck!
 

Jill

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I do not like sweet feed for horses, and feel a good complete pellet is a better and much safer choice. BUT, there are some with horses who look beyond amazing who do feed sweet feed. So, it does work well for some. For my horses, foals - adults, I choose to give them a complete senior pellet, grass hay and free choice minerals but NO sweet feed.
 

Genie

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I was considering a horse purchase and the seller advised that the horse had been started on Omolene 200.

If you go to the web you can see the reasons why a horse would require Omolene 200 and I think in most cases it would not be required on any minis that I know of.

We feed a timothy/alfalfa hay mix and some crimped grain (a small cup) with a few cubes of horse krunch(a Masterfeed product to supply added minerals and aids in digestion).

For horses who are in the pasture we feed a bit of hay when stalled at night, along with the crimped grain and krunch.

A number of years ago I caused sore feet on a mini because I was being "too good" to her.

Unless the horse is a performance horse working hard and pulling the cart every day for long periods I don't get into much more than hay and a bit of grain and krunch.

No sweet feed for our horses.
 

Marsha Cassada

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If you rent the documentary movie "King Corn" you will see why horses should not be eating corn. It may have been fine 100 years ago, but not the modern corn. The molasses on the sweet feed is not the whole problem. But, as you've noticed, every single horse owner/fancier you ask will have a different opinion! And when we all look back over a couple of years of feeding, most of us will see we've made many changes and tweaks as our experience and knowledge grows.

If you cannot find hay, how about the timothy pellets or alfalfa cubes?

Put me down as a "no" vote on the sweet feed.
 

chandab

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Depends a little on the sweet feed and what your horses do...

Are you talking just COB (corn,oats,barley) with molasses added or something like Omalene (Purina) or Vitality (Nutrena), etc (a fortified grain product)?

I do not feed sweet COB, mostly because I do not like to feed corn, and they do not need the high sugar and starch. [i have one that is sensitive to corn, and they really don't digest it well, so why feed it.] But, I do have a couple "sweet" feeds in my feed room; both are growth formulas that happen to be in sweet form (One is from Triple Crown, textured growth and it has a 14% NSC level; and the other Progressive Growth, I can only get the sweet form, I don't know the NSC level, but it is corn free).

My diet staples for my horses are Progressive Nutrition ProAdvantage grass formula (ration balancer), Triple Crown Lite, and Senior feed (I have a senior half-Arab gelding) plus grass hay.
 

Alex

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No Absolutly not. No sweet feed here. My 2 major things about sweet feed are:

* High amounts of sugar and usually starch

* There is a good amount of corn in it, and it is highly undigestable.

To me, when I look in the bag, it doesnt look healthy does it. :DOH!
 

Nathan Luszcz

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Routine depends on who's doing it. Some people prefer to vary it so the horses aren't demanding it at a certain time every day. I prefer fixed routine, within reason. Feed within a half hour window or so, that's my opinion.

As far as sweet feeds, depends who you ask (obviously, look at the wide range of opinions here!) I like sweet feed. My horses have been on and off it their whole lives and they look, feel, and act great. I'm currently off of it on both grain-eating ponies because they have limited turnout (if any) and are on a weight building diet. Pellet does a better job adding weight without adding energy. The same ingredients are in both feeds, sweet and pellet. Its the same thing! The ONLY difference is the molasses holding things together is different (less, but NOT none, in the pellets) and the corn is whole in the sweet, ground in the pellets. Corn is and always has been a staple of horse feed. It is hard to digest whole, but not impossible. It is more readily accessable and takes less energy with pellets.

Sweet feed looks VERY appealing, looks very tasty to me, smells great. It definately tastes better to me. I generally sample all the grains I feed. Pellets are DRY!!! And do not taste good at all. Sweet feed tastes wonderful. Horses definately like it better, but will sometimes bolt it if it tastes too good. Neither of mine bolt feed, they both take their time (my pony, eating 1.5qts, takes about 20 minutes).
 
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New2Minis

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I am a fan of both. I feed a sweet feed (that has ROLLED corn) and a senior pellet. The sweet I feed also has beet pulp in it which I love. My horses are not fat and look great! Most people think there way is the best but it is whatever works for your horses. I know alot of big and mini horse owners that feed only sweet and some that feed only pellet, I have found a happy, healthy combo of both!!!!


Good luck with your choice!
 
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RobinRTrueJoy

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no sweet feed here.

I use Manna Senior pellets on everyone, foals, adults and seniors. Came highly recommended by New Bolton Center. They all look good. The foals start eating it, or trying to, the first week, it dissolves easily in their mouths.

I feed grass hay.

I feed am usually 5-6am and 8pm at night.

Sounds like your blacksmith didn't want you to upset HIS routine, because you were about to feed when he arrived. Hey, as Debs said, your horses, your barn, YOUR routine! Howver on the days that you have an appointment, it would be best to move feeding times so that your horses are cooperative.

Robin
 

Erica

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Yep Nathan,

Lots of different opinions but I'm like you and I have feed sweet feed for years......on everything, stallions, mares, foals, show horses.....it's my "routine" and it works for me.

Mares get in foal easy, carry foals to term, foal easy, and bred back.

Stallions stay in good weight.

Foals are plenty fat.

Show horses have energy, bloom, and many national championships.

Omolene 200 is what I feed here, and it's just one of those things that if it ain't broke I'm not going to fix it.

Honestly to me it looks, smells good enough to eat it myself.........and I've had no complaints from the horses either.
 

Leeana

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I was also very much agianst sweet feeds, i use to feed Buckeye Gro N Win which i called "health food for horses", then my buckeye dealer got dropped over the winter and i had to experiment with some feeds over the spring, i settled on Omlene 200. Sweet feed, but its energy controlled and yes, it looks and smells yummy and its actually full of nutrition. My horses look GREAT on omlene, they look and feel like they are healthy.

Now, my buckeye dealer just recently got a few buckeye products back in and im staying with the Omlene
. I did pick up some Ultimate Finish though to topdress.
 

minimomNC

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I'm with Erica, Omelene 200 is what we feed here and everyone gets it. Show horses, broodmares, non show horses, its just a good easy feed and I have had no problems with it. My problems ALWAYS come when I try something different. So as Erica said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

We also do not have a set feeding time, our horses don't worry about when food is coming, they know it will get there. During a show, you can't always depend on being able to feed at certain times, and I sure don't want a horse in the ring more worried about where their dinner is instead of showing. They know as soon as they are done and cleaned off, they will get dinner. We won't feed to close to a class because they lose their edge if they have a full belly. They won't bait as well. So what we practice at a show we do the same at home, if I make it out to feed at 6 am, fine. If I don't get out there until 8 am, they are usually standing there dozing until they hear me come out.
 

novachick

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When we got Goldi, she was about 6 months old and on only 10% sweet feed and hay. I just didn't like how she looked, she had a bit of a potbelly and just looked dumpy. Then after a couple weeks of continuing that routine, she started losing weight as the cold weather set in. So I switched her over to the Platform complete feed, but kept her on sweet feed (50% of her total meal) and added beet pulp during the winter. My plan was to cut the sweet feed out entirely over time, but she really likes it and I think she looks good now, so I've stuck with it. It does seem to add a little moisture and taste to the food.

I also don't feed at exact times, only because my schedule doesn't always allow it. During the week we are pretty routine, breakfast at 6am and dinner at 5pm, but the weekends we tend to be a bit lax and if we sleep in, she just has to wait. Also, if we are away for the weekend, I know my brother isn't going to be exactly on time with feedings, so I like that she doesn't get into a definitive schedule. I have not seen any demanding behavior from her when she isn't fed right away and I like that.

I have a question for everyone...what is the difference between Purinas Country Acres 10% sweet and Omolene 100 or 200? I feed the Country Acres right now, but I see Omolene on here more often. Should I switch?
 

wpsellwood

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Omelene 200, rolled oats, alfalfa and grass hay.

I agree if it aint broke dont fix it
Matter of fact I feed the exact same as I did when I trained racehorses been feeding this way for 25 years yep tellin my age.
 

Kathy2m

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I feed a complete pellet, sweet feed here in the heat can go bad quick and it can draw ants. I have a schedule, always have. I was told its better for them, if you are used to eating at a certain time your body dumps fluid in your stomach to process the food if the food is not there it works on the lining of the stomach. Just passing on what I was told. Kathy
 

Marty

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No sweet feed here either for reasons listed but also because Purina was messing around with the Omelene 200. At our plant out of Nashville, during the winter months they were overloading the mollasses.....the stuff was just saturated and dripping in it. I complained a few times to them about it. I wonder if they were doing that just to make the bags heavier, I don't know. But then when winter hit, it was gooped together and stuck and so hard to get out of the containers. Even though I feed a complete pellet now, I still feed hay and grass and we are on a daily routine.
 

Gena

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Growing up we fed sweet feed to our quarter horses. For our miniatures we used Buckeye Gro N Win which also included free choice minerals and free choice salt, both with added selenium (we lack selenium in our area). We also fed a quality grass hay/grass. We were very happy with the Gro N Win, our horses all acted happy and looked healthy and never once did we have a horse colic. Our mares settled easily, our foals were healthy, born with nice straight legs. I know there are a lot of other feeding programs people use successfully, this is the one that worked for us. We also had a daily routine.
 

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