The last three decades witnessed a great explosion in manufacturing pelleted feeds. These feeds are mainly propagated by the manufacturers and also by the participating veterinary science.
Do you know what's in it?
| These feeds do
not represent, as a priority, the interests and well-being of horses but they
mainly represent the interests of feed companies. In other words: “Let’s
make the most profitable pellets without killing the horse”. Ludicrous? Yes, but to some point true.
After all the food companies do it to us, why not the feed companies to
horses, especially when the government interest in horses is almost non existent
since we do not eat them, something to grasp at. I will include
several reasons gained from my travels and experiences why feeding pelleted
feeds is not and will not be my choice of horse feed.
I had the
chance to be part of the feeding industry for about four years, when I
have owned a feed store as side business. This came very handy at that
time, since I had over one hundred horses in my care on three different
farms and on the track. During that time I have learned several
interesting things about the industry. First of all, the profit margin
must be one of the lowest in the business world. On the average there
is only 10% profit margins on the grains in the retail part of it, and in wholesale
even less. Simply said, as
(no names mentioned) told me: "It is a very tough business and we must cut
corners in order to make it". Here is where I’ve found out why the
pelleted feeds are so much propagated. One can hide in the pelleted feeds
poor quality grains, add all sorts of things under “grain byproducts”
and with a little soybean and minerals one will meet the label requirements. According to the manufacturer and in his own words to me:
“Don’t feed the pelleted feeds but use the feeds that have the least
pellets in them. As you will see they are also more expensive, even though
they require less labor in manufacturing.”
In conclusion I will add some more reasons why I would not feed pelleted feeds to horses:
has no idea what he is feeding to his horse, since everything gets crushed into fine powder and pressed through the machine.
byproducts includes everything that comes with the grain, dirt, dust and
all sorts of debris from the mill (feed company cannot afford any waste).
What do you think that happens to the feed that you have returned?
pellets will turn back into fine powder while chewed by the horse, sometimes
choking, often due to insufficient moisture (saliva) in the
food passing into the esophagus and getting stuck in as form of thick
dough-like mass. Hence, pay attention
especially after hard work when the horse’s system was depleted of water.
Preferably feed mash in such cases. During last year I came across about
seven horses that were choking, all from pelleted feeds and some were not
“greedy” eaters as it's often contributed to.
Since one does not know what he is feeding, he cannot take care of his horse properly. Horse feeds are not only about proteins, fiber, carbohydrates, mega cal etc. but they present many other values that are not all known, like in case of oats and others.
pelleted feeds are not good for the digestive system (too fine) and many
of them contribute to
(impaction) there where there is slight dehydration of the
horse, where when normal whole grains would be fed, the horse would more
likely not colic.
feed companies are more concern with the labels rather than with quality
grains in the pelleted form. Meeting the label requirements does not
necessary mean good grains or feed. This can be achieved with various inexpensive
additions to the pellets.
need to feed your horse energy feeds, there is no substituted for good quality
whole grains like oats! Don’t believe otherwise!
cannot see and evaluate what your are feeding to your horse, don’t feed it to
believe everything you read. Learn from your horse and from the millennia of
human experiences with horses.
Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a. Lee Stanek