Friday, January 29, 2010

Kay well...

No riding today, none yesterday either. Mandy's Mud Fever looks better though. :)

What I HAVE been doing, is some of the less fun part of keeping horses healthy in the tropics.

Researching nutrition and how it applies to equine health here.

One of the things I've been looking into quite a bit is protein content as I have a sneaking suspicion that my horses dietary protein is wayyyyyy low. I had blood tests taken on Dec 31st and all three came back very slightly low on their RBC count. That could be due to a lack of iron but low protein can cause it as well.

I was going to pull blood at the beginning of February, but as I'm just really guessing at what's going into them, making nutritional guesses based on blood test results was feeling a little backwards to me.(especially as only the most basic of tests are available here)

Instead, I called up a farm supply place in Fort Collins, CO and ordered a Push Style Hay Probe(first try I found one willing to take my international CC AND send it through USPS rather than the ridiculously expensive UPS or FedEx  ) so I can send hay samples off for testing.  

It looks like this:

and I ordered it from HERE

Seeing as hay is the MAIN part of my horse's diet the nutritional content of the hay will help me figure out what else I need to feed them. GAWSH I hope this helps. Those probes aren't cheap.

Second level research.

Tropical Grasses. Ususally very low in protein. Between 3-5%.

some tropical grasses also contain high amounts of Oxalates which interfere with absorption of calcium. In my research I've learned that many of the grasses that I was told are good for horses here are high in these Oxalates. Para Grass and Pangola being two of them. Too much of these grasses will cause Big Head or Buffel Head disease.

The main grasses used as hay here are Star Grass and Bluestem(we haven't been able to buy Bluestem hay for about 6 months now) Stargrass is ok, but  have a feeling it's lower in protein than the Bluestem.

I have an Arab. She should be fat as a tick with the amount of hay she eats.(as much as she wants 24/7) All three of my horses are on free choice hay and non are fat plus...

Mandy is getting 2 qts daily of a 14% pelleted feed (a local feed that is the ONLY of TWO feeds available to buy that has no molasses)

I think Molasses is the devil. Even if it's turns my horses into DEMONS!
Biting kicking DEMONS I tell you.

Fred is getting 1 & 1/2 qts daily
Bree is getting 1 qt daily


every night the three get just over a 1/2 c stout each


Mandy and Fred get 1 c coconut oil and Bree gets 1/2 c coconut oil daily.

I just got the results of a Fecal Egg Sample I sent in yesterday.

Fred: 0
Bree: 0
Mandy: 200

We picked up Bimectin yesterday so deworming tomorrow morning. :)

Boy! ^  I wish I could get it for that price down here!

I found out about the wonders of Perennial Peanut about 4 months ago and how nutritionally it's an excellent substitute for Alfalfa which won't grow here.

Buuuuut even though I've been told it is growing in different places around the country we have been unable to procure any as of yet.

I don't get why the two hay farmers in the country aren't utilizing this most excellent resource to boost protein levels in cattle feed or horse feed.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this not so simple subject later. :)


Rising Rainbow said...

Boy, keeping up with protein and all of the other dietary issues can make me crazy. There is just so much stuff and it seems like it's always changing. Good luck figuring it out.

CheekyMare said...

Heh. Thanks. It's definitely mind consuming.

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

Whew! I feel like I just got out of biology, chemistry and ag101! I hope you don't spring any pop quozzes on me. I don't retain as much as I used to. It sounds like a full time job; just procuring the proper feed for your horses! I guess it's the price you pay for green things and sunshine. Me? I have sunshine and dirt, no green :(

Thanks for checking out my blog!

Shirley said...

My girls are getting just the local hay,a grass mix, and are thriving on it. I had to cut out the oats, it was giving Velvet gastric problems- she has a sensitive tummy.