View Full Version : Replacing Pellets

26-07-06, 04:00 AM

Can anyone offer advice on replacing pellets in a horses diet?

I am currently feeding wheaten chaff, lucerne chaff, barley and Pegasus Coolmax pellets to our TB's but I would like to replace the pellets with natural food.

I thought of giving oats and then herbal and mineral supplements but it all seems a bit confusing. I also don't want to make them hotter as they are already bouncing off the walls with freely grazing on oaten hay all day long (nothing else available at present)

26-07-06, 04:08 AM
If it was my horses this is what I would do.......

If they are bouncing around already they don't need extra energy, so don't add any extra grains. I would add Equilibrium mineral mix to their evening feeds, cut out the lucerne as it is full of carbs (sugar which would also have them feeling good) or feed them only a scoop a day. I would also get rid of the wheaten as they are eating oaten hay which is better "white feed" anyway. Keep the barley and if you want you could add some canola oil or any other decent oil to their evening meal. This will give them some engery as well as condition without any fizz. Start of with half a cup and over a week or two increase to 1 cup.

Simone ~God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses ~

26-07-06, 04:09 AM
Hi Nadia - that's a bummer about not being able to find anything other than oaten hay. What area/state are you in... perhaps there might be somebody floating around in here that could give you a contact for some grass roundbales?

With regard to the pellets, I feed my guys a natural diet and if I were you, I'd just ditch the Coolmax and leave it at that: oaten or wheaten chaff, lucerne and barley. That's a fairly natural diet right there. Keep it simple... why do they need the Coolmax replaced with something else?

26-07-06, 04:20 AM
Thanks Tbug1 and Simigirl, good advice.

I don't know why but I just felt as though the chaffs and barley weren't enough for them. I guess I worry about them missing out on important nutrients. But if that is good and sufficient that is fantastic.

What about quantity though?
Is around 1-2 scoops lucerne and 3 scoops wheaten ok with 2 cups boiled barley? (sorry Simigirl I know you said no wheaten chaff but I wouldn't know what else to give unless I increased the lucerne)

I thought of adding rose hips and equilibrium too.

Tbug1, I am in Perth and at the moment our hay situation is very desperate due to the drought. Our stock feeders are limiting bales to 2-5 per customer per week most places and the prices are going through the roof compared to what we used to pay.

We hope it gets back to normal next season!

26-07-06, 04:33 AM
That sounds fine and just keep a check on your horses' condition and add or decrease if you feel you need to. It depends on the amount of work they are getting but do remember they are eating Oaten Hay and not Meadow Hay so you don't need to have a huge amount of fibre in their mixed meals. Lucerne won't be that bad if they are getting a reasonable amount of work and it is being mixed with another chaff so if you feel comfortable feeding the wheaten then do so :).

Seriously though consider the Equilibrium and the canola oil. You may be suprised with the difference.

Simone ~God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses ~

26-07-06, 04:51 AM
I really feel for you with regard to your hay situation, I sure hope it improves for you soon.

I can understand your concern about feeling like they're not getting enough just from chaff/lucerne/barley. I went through the same thing a year ago when I switched my horses to a herbal diet - the herballist suggested that for my particular situation, I could get away with only feeding oaten chaff, topped up with a herbal vitamin & mineral mix.

It was hard to get my head around - I was always a scoop of this, scoop of that, half dipper of this, half dipper of that kind of girl. We're all trying to do the right thing by making sure our horses have a balanced diet, but sometimes they get everything they need just from the simplest of diets.

I agree with Simigirl, they're getting the majority of their fibre and energy from the oaten hay (and I applaud you on commiting to supplying them with free access, given the challenges with your local hay supply).

I would try cutting out the lucerne, and bringing their diet back to just wheaten chaff & barley. The Equilibrium mix is an excellent and complete supplement that will do them wonders - rosehips are brilliant but can be very expensive if you have many mouths to feed. Personally I would invest in the Equilibrium first, and you still feel you need them, add the rosehips later. Don't get stuck in the trap of making feeding more expensive than it needs to be.

If you really feel they need rosehips for a particular reason, you might like to consider an alternative product called Vitalis which is pricey but also excellent and has the rosehips in it. That's all I feed my guys - oaten chaff and Vitalis. Sounds so boring, but they go bonkers over it!

My advice is start on the rations you suggested, add the Equilibrium or Vitalis, and if your horses are still very well and full of beans, try cutting back on the barley. There's every chance you could get to the point one day where you also don't need the barley at all.

Just take the lead from what your horses' physical condition and general wellbeing is telling you they need.

26-07-06, 05:03 AM
Thankyou Tbug1 that is very kind and helpful advice. It is nice to be encouraged not to feed expensively! Every where else in life seems to be the opposite!

I read about that Vitalis on the herbal horse website and it does sound very good too.

I shall get them some equilibrium tomorrow and feed as you suggested.
One TB is already in really good condition so I think he only needs half that amount of barley, but the other one is desperately in need of fattening up so I will keep his barley at two cups and see how he is at the end of winter.

I have always added linseed and apple cider vinegar so I might keep doing that or try canola instead of the linseed.

Thanks again!

26-07-06, 05:23 AM
I thoroughly agree with you tbug. A lot of horses behaviour comes from over feeding of protein(or just over feeding in general).

At the moment the hay situation in the west is very dire, so a lot of people are having to feed oaten hay as nothing else is available and there is little or no pasture for the horses at all.(I also commend you for letting the horses have free access to hay it really is like gold!!)

It is hard to keep the feed up to the horses without blowing their minds, but I have found that just oaten chaff, mineral mix, rosehips and camomile flowers are all mine need, they are getting more than adequate grain from the oat heads in the hay and enough roughage from eating the stalks.

We often want to feed pellets or grain to make ourselve feel like the horses have had "something"(I am very guilty of this)but have found that unless they are getting consistent work six days a week, we end up with behavioural problems.

To keep in mind that the horses are really used to eating low quality roughage 23 hours a day rather than high protein for thirty minutes twice we can eliminate the feed induced naughtness(most of us have the naturally occuring stuff anyway!!!)

I hope that the season will allow hay to be cut, lets all keep our fingers crossed!

26-07-06, 05:36 AM

We are down to the last roll of hay that we could get our hands on so we will be on bales soon and as they like to chuck it all over the ground and waste a lot, we will be having to leave out a couple of biscuits each morning and night to keep them going I think.

Ours are on sand paddocks and no grass has grown this winter which is why I have been leaving hay for them to graze on, (I really worry about sand in their bellies)

We have got everything crossed also so hopefully we get some good hay soon.

26-07-06, 06:00 AM
Hi Nadia,

We are pretty much the same, very sandy and the horses are actually digging to get grass roots (not much I can do about it)and quite a few horses in the area have had colic for the same reason.

I was told to feed a product which is basically oat husks coated in molasses(cant think of the name at the moment, I think I have early alzheimers!) but your stock feeders will know it and it is supposed to be brilliant to keep sand at bay and doesnt heat them up at all.

If I remember the name I will let you know, it is fairly cheap I think.

It nearly makes me cry when I see my horses using their unfinished hay as a urinal, if only they knew!

26-07-06, 12:09 PM
Hi palcan . what mineral mix do you feed.

Does anyone use Pat Colby's Mix?

Thanks everyone. I have been thinking about mineral supplements all day too, so it's been really helpful. Even bought Pat's book which someone on CH reccomended. The vitalis on Victoria Ferguson's site I read about as well which someone else on CH reccomended. THanks for that.

It is so reassuring to hear all the things. I've been told to keep it basic, and I too like to chuck in a bit of this. Interesting that a lot of you leave out Lucerne chaff, as I felt it wasn't agreeing with the boy, but everyone where I adjists uses 50/50 I think.

26-07-06, 02:50 PM
hi margie,

I use Advanced Feeds vitamin and mineral supplement as it is made in WA(I like to support the locals!) but have followed the pat colby mineral regime with success, however with limited time I go for the "ready made" stuff together with rosehips(great for giving natural vitamin c and other good things) chamomile flowers (very soothing to the stomach) and garlic. I love all the alternate/natural things and find that my horses are happy and healthy.
I dont feed lucerne anymore as a lot of horses wont tolerate it at all and it really affects their behaviour(I guess it is like that some children can eat coloured lollies and others cant!)
I do think that the Victoria Fergusons "vitalis" is an excellent supplement as well, I have heard a lot of positive feed back, but would probably be expensive if feeding a lot of horses.

I also remembered the name of the feed that is apparently good for shifting sand, "sweetbulk".

My dad (who is an old horseman) cant believe what we feed out horses now days. What I have to remind him though, is that there used to be good pastures back then and horses could pretty much sustain themselves on it without too much intervention.
I still think that most horses can live really well on good( which again is getting hard to find) meadow hay, oaten chaff and mineral/vitamin supplement(which again, wouldnt be necessary if our pastures were good). Oh for the good old days!!


28-07-06, 10:46 AM
I like the sound of the vitalis or the equilibrium, so I don't know if you can get small packs or samples anywhere. Has anoone had any luck with samples apart from show? I've taken our horse off lucerne and he seems better for it.

28-07-06, 11:17 AM
Can horses have wheaten chaff? I thought wheat was highly undigestible in any form?