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    Re: [RC] Horse feed - Lisa Redmond

    Third musketeer chiming in here:
    Dr. Redmond's 12th commandment:  FORAGE FIRST.
    I think monoculture isn't the right word--in practice, at any rate.   I want
    a selection of grasses and legumes in my pasture that  provides grazing for
    as many months out of the year as possible, either as fresh growth or
    through the practice of stockpiling.  We typically refer to a pasture as a
    pure stand of this or that---what it boils down to is we want a pure stand
    of grass and/or legumes--what we don't want is contamination from weeds.
    Is it possible to feed horses with minimal supplementation?  You betcha, but
    it depends on what the horse is doing that determines what level of
    nutrients it needs.  Like Susan points out, we use a variety of feedstuffs
    because they balance each other's deficiencies.
    While I adore the convenience of computer ration-balancing, I think there
    far too many people out there that forget it isn't capable of evaluating
    what ingredients you choose.   They just throw everything in and assume that
    the answer they get is the correct one. Susan made the point a few minutes
    ago that just because the numbers come out right doesn't mean the animal
    can, or will, eat the ration.  If you could see some of the rations my
    students used to create on computer....*shudders delicately*
    There are also a lot of people out there that assume that learning how to
    use ration software makes them instant feed experts.  Not so.  I still
    balance with a computer just as if I was balancing by hand, in the following
    order:  forage, energy sources, protein sources, calcium and phosphorus,
    trace minerals and vitamins.  I just let the computer do the number
    crunching and let it look up nutrient content, etc.
    Bottom line is, if your feed room has a better selection of supplements than
    your local feed store, you probably use too many.  There was a children's
    book I remember reading, where some lady went through all manner of
    additives and treatments for her cup of coffee one morning because she
    accidentally put salt in it instead of sugar.  Someone finally came along
    and convinced her it was simpler to start with a fresh cup of coffee and
    just add sugar.
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