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Old 12-10-2011, 09:54 AM  
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Older guy not eating hay

I have read to page 60 of all the posts but am still not sure what to do. My 22 yo TB is not eating his hay - this has been going on for a few weeks already. My other horse is eating it fine. Polo is on 1 1/2 scoops SafeChoice twice per day and will eat most of it. Plus two flakes hay am and pm and 1 flake during the day. His hay is all over his stall - he just pecks at it. The vet checked his teeth a few months ago and said they were fine. A month ago he lost his buddy of six years and we got him a new one. They get along ok - still sorting out the pecking order.

Would you switch to a senior feed (triple crown) and hay cubes? Or, add beet pulp (soaked 2x per day) to the SafeChoice? Please help - it is cold outside and I can't bear to lose him...
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:31 AM  
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I would experiment, alfalfa hay cubes, or pellets work good, you may want to soak the cubes slightly if he has trouble chewing them well.....I would free feed them.....beet pulp is good, so is rice bran....you can also wet down the rice bran, or mix with his other feed.....some horses will not eat it well ( same with beet pulp, that's why you may need to experiment to find which he prefers ) you can still give him a little hay too, mainly to satisfy his need to "munch on something" .....I don't usually feed premixed senior feeds as they are pretty much a rip off, as much as you pay for 50#'s.....you can combine different grains/pellets/supplements, and get better weight gain/condition....
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:35 AM  
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If the last time he saw the vet was a few months ago, and his teeth were fine...I would get the vet back out and give him a going over.

That would be my first call.....the vet.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:01 AM  
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Originally Posted by Tessa View Post
If the last time he saw the vet was a few months ago, and his teeth were fine...I would get the vet back out and give him a going over.

That would be my first call.....the vet.
I'm with Tessa.... call the vet now and have him/her check his teeth again (and the rest of him too)
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:02 AM  
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My 35 year old mare quit eating her hay last year, it just got to hard for her to chew it anymore.
When that happened we moved her over to Triple Crown Senior, alfalfa pellets (she would not eat the cubes even soaked they where to hard for her to chew) and hay pellets. She does GREAT on it.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:04 AM  
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One more thing.... I would put a nice warm blanket on him so he is not wasting calories trying to stay warm. Keep us posted.....
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:10 AM  
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When my senior was still around I gave him hay cubes in addition to his hay. At one point not long before I had to put him down he lost a bit of weight and I put him on free choice hay cubes for a week and he visibly gained some weight. The hay cubes we can get where I live are not really hard and don't need to be wet at all, though. I know some people can only get brands that are hard like rocks in their areas. This was a discussion on a board I used to be on.
He also got beet pulp with senior feed and milled flax and it kept him in good weight despite the fact that he had congestive heart failure and could lose weight easily. I considered the hay to be a supplement and the cubes to be his feed.

If I were you I would get his teeth looked at again but by someone different. My senior once had his teeth done- he still had them all at 33 years old- and was still quidding and I had to take him to a different vet to get done and then he was fine. The first guy had missed a few issues.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:56 AM  
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I would go ahead and do a combination of beet pulp, safe choice, and hay cubes. Just make sure you don't give more than 5lbs of grain per meal since that is all the horse's stomach can hold safely. Older horses can drop weight fast.

Another thing you might be able to try is Peanut hay if they have it in your area. Peanut hay has lots of loose leaves. One of the rescues in my area, takes the hay and shakes it on top of a piece of wire fencing. That way you can separate the leaves from the stems. The toothless horses get the leaves, the other horses can be given the stems and any leaves that don't fall off.

I'm not sure what hay you are trying to feed- maybe he would do better if you switched hay? or soaked it before feeding?
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:35 AM  
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Lots of great input but ulcers haven't been mentioned.

I would have the vet out and I would check him for ulcers. My 25+ Arab has dealt with mild gastric ulcers (off and on) for the last seven years.

His first warning sign has always been that he will not go to his hay right away. He will eat his supplements then stand with his head down and in a bit of stretched out stance but not really stretched out. It might resemble a very mild founder stance to someone that doesn't know this horse -- hard to explain

On the first ulcer attack, the vet made the testing really simple:

He sold me a week's supply of Omeprazole. He said if my Arab really was dealing with ulcers, I would see a difference in his willingness to eat hay and grass within 24 hours.

It did the trick; he was eating hay by the end of the day.

He also has weight issues so I have added timothy/alfalfa cubes to his diet. The calcium carbonate (think TUMS) in the alfalfa is controlling his ulcers, so far.

Your horse could have gotten so stressed losing his friend that he's developed an ulcer, so again, I would have the vet check him for that
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:07 AM  
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I totally agree with, and as well, feed my senior horse, soaked hay cubes, and Triple Crown senior.
He lost weight this fall, and I struggled to get the weight back on.
He is now doing quite well, weight wise.

After speaking with my vet, we did back off some of the senior feed,
and added more soaked cubes to the diet,..,
(he had started to develop a bit of runny poops and I was concerned about an ulcer (he is on daily bute for his arthritis).

He is doing very well right now and has gained most, if not all, his weight back.

I ALWAYS soak my hay cubes because they can easily choke on them otherwise.

My vet also suggested the soaked beet pulp, if additional cubes did not help bring his weight back.
So far, the extra cube feeding a day (3x a day) has helped him immensely.

Good luck, its hard to see the old ones start to drop off weight wise,
you feel helpless in how to help them.

** Also,.., I wonder if your hay is old and your horse doesn't like something about it
Does it smell fresh, like freshly cut grass??
Might be why he isn't interested in eating it??
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Last edited by redboy : 12-12-2011 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:17 AM  
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Thanks

I like a lot of the suggestions I received. I definitely will have the vet out. An ulcer would not surprise me...nor having something wrong with his teeth being overlooked. I have to admit our hay is not the best; it is a timothy orchard grass mix. One load is good, the next not so good. It is extremely difficult to find a good hay supplier as a backyard horse owner. I remember tailgaiting hay wagons and begging the drivers to tell me where they came from. People don't want to share their sources...
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:01 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firesmom View Post
I like a lot of the suggestions I received. I definitely will have the vet out. An ulcer would not surprise me...nor having something wrong with his teeth being overlooked. I have to admit our hay is not the best; it is a timothy orchard grass mix. One load is good, the next not so good. It is extremely difficult to find a good hay supplier as a backyard horse owner. I remember tailgaiting hay wagons and begging the drivers to tell me where they came from. People don't want to share their sources...
I've been hearing this a lot on the forums - about the crummy hay.

I know where Medina is (I was born in Geauga County - lol). Depending whichg side of Medina you're on, Burton is around 58 miles from you.

Here's a link to the "Good News" showing some hay for sale. http://www.good-news.com/classifieds.html

I found this haybarn link http://haybarn.com/reports/liststate...H&category=Hay If you cursor down, there's an ad (albeit expired in November) in Garrettsville and and ad in Windham.

These are probably pretty healthy drives for you but maybe you could team up with someone and split the gas.

Also, the top of the page says to beware of hay scammers --- terrific

The outskirts of Chardon and Middlefield might get you something too.

I don't know if you get a weekly "rag" in the mail similar to the Good News or the Penny Saver but, you might get lucky looking in there. Oftentimes the grocery stores and drug stores have them sitting in a rack free for the taking.

And if nothing else turns up, you could always buy bagged hay from Tractor Supply for at least this horse. My TSC carries Standlee hay products; I am giving thought to trying their bagged hay for my Arab with the ulcer issues because I have to pick thru my grass hay for the "drippings" to feed him. He can't eat the stemmy stuff.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:16 PM  
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Your Senior's doesn't necessarily have to be Triple Crown. They are very competitive so look for a pellet that will soak until it's like wet grass. The best thing is to spread it out as much as you can so he can't get a large mouthful (faster in, faster out). It contains beet pulp, extra oils and probiotics. A horse can live solely on senior's feed. I think he is searching for the blossoms and finest strands, that is why you are finding the hay all over his stall. My horses will bunt a flake of hay all over in the snow to knock the blossoms out of it. Once they've nibbled those up (the choice morsels) they go for the courser hay. Have you tried a small mesh hay net hung in his stall? Horses often gain weight beccause they get only nibbles at a time instead of a mouthful.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:45 AM  
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Thanks, maybe I will try a hay net. At least that won't make such a mess!
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:59 PM  
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As an FYI: some senior feeds form big sticky clumps and can be a choking risk for an old horse. Keep that in mind if you are going to switch feeds. In my experience having sweet feed in the grain makes it more likely to form clumps.

Many senior feeds are mostly made of beet pulp- another thing to check for. It may be cheaper to buy the beet pulp than the senior feed, although you may still need some sort of formulated feed to meet vitamin/mineral requirements.

If your horse does have ulcers, feeding extra grain can make them worse- alfalfa hay cubes might be better if that is the case.
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:49 AM  
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I rescued a severely emaciated OTTB this past summer. I started him out on Sothern states premixed feeds- which are full of fillers and don't provide proper nutrients. Half the claims on the bag- are just that- with little or NO research be hind them.


My recommendation from my experience would be to do the following:
-grab a ball of poo and have your vet preform a fecal egg count- worm for any worms he has- and only the ones he has.
-Float his teeth- Your vet can't see the ones all the way in very,very back some times- and have it done so your not worried about it.
-Get some alfalfa hay cubes- Pellets DON'T work- they are too heavily processed and DON'T provide adequate nutrition to an equine- the process practically strips the "pellets" of the proper nutritional value required, thus the horse can't use them like the way they can use the cubes.
-Find a high fat, moderate protein grain, high fiber is okay too, and will help cut back on the amount of hay your horse needs (generally beet pulp based feeds). Try to find a local feed mill- there are some will allow you to mix your OWN grain mix with only the ingredients you want in them. you can look at any feed tags, and modify the grain to suit your needs.

-Have your vet evaluate for lamenesses, pain, ulcers. If he's just depressed, try finding a scent of his old friend (halter, lead, blanket, etc.) and use that on him, or find a scent that "alerts" him. Stimulate him to perk up in some way. Remember- just because you like the smell, does not mean that your horse will! =]
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:49 AM  
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Sorry- double posted!
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Last edited by DakotaMissyBlue : 12-14-2011 at 06:55 AM. Reason: double post
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:01 AM  
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I have also used soy meal as a supplement for my old ones, as well as alfafa pellets and believe it or not, chop. I get chop made for my chickens (wheat, barley and oats) and the old ones do great on it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:48 PM  
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Originally Posted by DakotaMissyBlue View Post
-Get some alfalfa hay cubes- Pellets DON'T work- they are too heavily processed and DON'T provide adequate nutrition to an equine- the process practically strips the "pellets" of the proper nutritional value required, thus the horse can't use them like the way they can use the cubes.
Can you tell me where you found this information? Im aware that hay cubes are a better choice than pellets in the fact they they provide long stem fiber and pellets do not, but I have never heard that pellets provide any less nutritional value than cubes. The guaranteed analysis on the bag is the guaranteed analysis, so it might be different than the cubes, but it is still whats listed on the bag, and still acceptable. I myself feed alfalfa pellets as a warm mash, along with regular hay. This was recommended by my vet, who is also an equine nutritionist (not just a vet who endorses a certain brand, but someone who will help you formulate the correct diet for your horse). In my case with this specific horse, it was actually reccomended that I DIDNT use cubes.



Also, if you want the long stem fiber of cubes, but dont want to soak to prevent choke, there is a hay product called "chops". Its the shredded up soft hay like they make the cubes out of, just not compressed into cubes. I use it during show season as its easier to transport to shows, can be purchased all over the us, and has a guaranteed analysis so i know its the same from batch to batch. My preferred brand is TNT Chops, the timothy alfalfa variety.
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