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Old 11-07-2007, 08:22 AM   #1
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Black Oil Sunflower Seeds: too much Omega 6?

I have been talking to lots of people who feed black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS). However, after researching some UPenn vet papers and various other journals on-line, I have found the following:

Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory which help maintain the animalís immune system so are beneficial during infection and sickness (when an injury is sustained, Omega 6's cause inflammation which causes the tissue to heal). However, if too many Omega 6 fatty acids are fed, an imbalance can occur, leading to potentially harmful inflammation (resulting in arthritis). The Omega 3 fatty acids are potent, anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce pain and swelling and help return the horse's system to normal function. The top four oil sources are flaxseed, menhaden, canola, and soybean and are the best to increase the Omega 3ís. The bottom three sources (rice, corn, and sunflower) are the ones NOT recommended because they could provide too many Omega 6ís, without adequate Omega 3ís. Apparently BOSS is about 199:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3! Flax is roughly 1:4, Menhaden is 1:15, canola is 2:1 and soybean is 7:1, while rice is 29:1 and corn is 84:1. Significant research has shown the detrimental affects that these imbalances can cause in horses.

My question: has anyone noticed any problems feeding BOSS (or corn oil for that matter) in terms of inflammation or arthritis? I was feeding Triple Crown Rice Bran Oil Plus and quit because my 27YO gelding was getting stiff and sore. He's better now. I'm going to switch to flaxseed, but need to research the best way to feed that. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:26 AM   #2
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I was feeding my 2yo corn oil when I first bought her to help put some meat on her bones... And to help her skin, too.. I never saw any inflamation problems with her... I was actually thinking of switching to BOSS through the winter and giving them to both of my horses since they insist on sharing buckets...

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:28 AM   #3
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I have fed Lil Bit boss since he first ate "real" food. He has never shown any problems. The breeders I bought him from feed all their horses BOSS and no problems with them either.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:28 AM   #4
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I've been feeding BOSS for almost a year now and have noticed only improvements in muscle tone and coat. While I have only rescue animals and am uncertain as the exact age of my herd, they are all relatively young (under 10 years of age).

Thanks for this info. It certainly bears doing additional research.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:33 AM   #5
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I have just started feeding BOSS but do so in small quanties, due to many facts (a punture wound & farrier making my horse lame) they where stiff and sore before and I have noticed a huge improvement!
In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. Eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs Ė it's something you just can't get from hamster..

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:35 AM   #6
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I haven't fed BOSS but just recently began feeding flaxseed. I know that alot of people recommend grinding it but at the moment I am feeding it whole. I haven't been feeding it long enough to see a difference yet so we'll see.
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:11 AM   #7
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Holy sh*t! Excuse my french! NO WAY! Yes, I was wondering why my stallion came up with a puffy bump on his knee all of a sudden. Let it go for a month or so and then finally called my vet to take xrays. Turns out arthritis! He's six!? I turned him out (had been keeping him in because I thought it was an injury) and he's gotten much better. I had been feeding him and others the seeds for their coat and some extra fat but stopped when they weren't really working for fat (the main reason). I stopped around the same time I turned Howdy out. He hasn't been puffy since! I'm absolutely shocked. He was never lame and passed the flexion with flying colors. The x rays and combo with no issues with flexion even had the vet baffeled. I never mentioned the seeds to the vet. I think I may now mention it. Thank you so much for the insight on my buddy! I feel so stupid and like I poisoned him. From now on bird seeds are for birds. My day is a bunch better. Now to get him to work so I can hug him!
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:19 AM   #8
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I love the stuff but cannot get it here.
Feeding flaxseed will indeed work even without grinding.
I used to give about 2 Tblsp per feeding-topdressed. I stuck my hand in the bag basically and grabbed a handful and let the extra dribble out when I closed my hand..
People fed it with excellant results long before battery powered coffee grinders came into existance. If you do decide to feed ground seed-be sure and only grind a bit at a time as the nutritional benfits begin to fade on exposure to the air.
I think some of the tales of undigested flaxseed in manure came about because the outside of the seed may sometimes be seen. It remains but the inside of the flax does get digested.
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:48 PM   #9
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Where do you get flax seed? Is it at the feed store or at like a health store?

I'd normally think feed store, but as tiny of an amount as you said tmom, I'd think it could be at either... Does it have a name brand?
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Old 11-08-2007, 12:01 AM   #10
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Maybe at a health food store-or health food section of a grocery store.
It is so much cheaper to get it from a feed store.
Yes I only feed a bit to keep their coat in shape.
I have seen folks use a whole lot more.
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:32 AM   #11
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Do a web search for Omega Horseshine. It's a flax seed supplement. You can buy it by the 50# bag for like 60 bucks delivered to your door. A cup a day will put on the weight and give them a balanced Omega 3 & 6 supplement.

My vet discouraged me from using corn oil to plump up my 23 year old TB for the inflamation issue and recommended the Horseshine. I have all 8 of mine on it and it's economical and really does the job. Beautiful coats, hooves and just overall a healthy bunch! The two harder keepers get a cup a day and the rest get a 1/2 a cup.
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Old 11-08-2007, 05:00 AM   #12
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I give my horses "missing link" it has all the missing ingrediants (sp) that a horse helps with dry skin and their winter coat are fluffy soft and shiny. it also has that extra ingrediant for stronger joints. they also sell it for dogs. I have a dog with very dry skin who is always scratching, used that it it helped tremdously.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:33 AM   #13
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HorseShine Price lower in FL

I feed HorseShine too.......following the directions for dosing by horse weight. I give small amounts to my minis too.

Omega 6 & 3's and no Psyllium needed ( we need to prevent Sand Colic in FL)

The Price in Central FL was $ 28. plus change for a 50 lb bag (But I pick it up) at Tractor Supply I75 & Rt 484 -Belleview Exit South of Ocala.

Larson's ( on Rt 40 and on Rt 475) 85lb bale Compressed Alfalfa is 12.00 per bale here too..... actually get it weighed and its even cheaper if the bale is lighter-

We wet it down and it rehydrates and puffs up to look like fresh Alfalfa. Otherwise its too dusty.
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:15 AM   #14
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thanks-I am ordering some of that today.
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:21 AM   #15
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I was training a horse who wasn't skinny at all but could use some extra pounds and he also had cracked hooves. I started feeding him the black oil sunflower seeds and NEVER had a problem.. it helped his weight, coat and hooves beautifully! I also feed my 27 year old flaxseed and corn oil (have been for the past 6 years) and he is in awesome shape, very healthy, looks great and as most know from the pics.. still jumps a lot

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