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    Re: [RC] Commercial feeds vs. traditional grain mix - Susan Garlinghouse

    > I would like Susan Garlinghouse' input.
    Better late than never. <g>
     Prior to this I had been feeding Purina Strategy without a problem.  I
    > like the high fat content (6%) it's alfalfa based and seems very
    > See all the oats in my horses' poop always makes me wonder how much they
    > actually utlizing that grain in the grain mix feeds.
    Okay, first of all, 6% isn't really very high.  Most common feeds inherently
    contain 3-4%, of which only about half is available for energy.  The rest
    are pigments, fat-soluble vitamins, chlorphyll and so on.  So most likely
    there's very little or no actual added fat in Strategy, probably just a bit
    of a higher fat component ingredient, like oil seeds or rice bran or
    whatever.  Doesn't mean that Strategy isn't a very good feed, but don't
    confuse it with being a high fat feed.  I've always been of the opinion that
    if you want fat in your feeds, then add the fat yourself, rather than count
    on the fats in most of the commercial feeds (with a few exceptions).
    As for the 'whole oats' you're seeing in the horse poop---I'm not suggesting
    you go pawing through the poop pile in the Name of Science, <g> but in all
    likelihood, what you're seeing is an empty oat hull, with the nice starchy
    parts inside digested and gone.  Those empty hulls are why a lot of people
    insist on getting their grains rolled, crimped or whatever.  Nah.  Oats are
    really well digested and don't need to be (in fact IMO shouldn't be) fed
    anything other than cleaned and whole.
    > So is it better to feed the tradiational grain mix as some people argue
    > "more natural" or is the digestibility of an extruded or pelleted feed
    > better because the horse utilizes more of the feed instead of it just
    > passing through?
    Well, unless your horse is grazing 24/7 on wild, rough pasture and nothing
    else, he's not getting a "natural" diet, so let's throw that argument out
    entirely.  Is grass hay and a corn-oat-barley mix better than a commercial
    feed?  Depends on exactly what the nutrient content is in the hay and grain.
    Might be deficient or excessive in some vitamins or minerals, might not be
    (though there are a few nutrients I guarentee it's deficient in).  So if
    you've chosen a high quality and appropriate commercial feed and are feeding
    it correctly, then IMO, the odds are less that the diet is grossly deficient
    or excessive.  The downsides are that it might be a bit more expensive,
    though usually not once you factor in costs of any additional
    vitamin-minerals you're adding to the traditional grain mix.
     Also, does beet pulp really enhance the utilization of
    > your horse's grain ration or it is just a good source of fiber?
    Hmmm.  I dearly adore beet pulp, but I'm not sure I could claim that it
    enhances grain digestion directly.  It does in that, for a variety of
    reasons, hindgut health and microbial environment tends to be better with
    soluble fiber in the ration, and that certainly is conducive to good feed
    digestion in general.  It is certainly more than just a good source of
    Susan G
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