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Re: soaking beetpulp

Annette Gordon wrote:
> Hi everyone
> Over here in the UK. I have always been told to soak sugar beet in cold
> water. You can buy the pulp here in two varieties - pellet form (on the bag
> it says in large red letters that you should soak for 24 hours) or shredded
> which is a matter of a couple of hours. I've been told not to soak in hot
> water because it accelerates the fermentation process that will occur
> ultimately with any feed that is left wet for long enough. I suppose if you
> use it quickly enough it may not matter.

Right---use it before it starts to ferment, which if you're soaking in
hot water, you're probably going to do fairly quickly, anyway.  I would
be alot more concerned about soaking for 24 hours, as in warm weather,
it's sure to have started fermenting by then.  Your beet pulp is
essentially the same as ours, pellets or shredded, and the pellets will
soak up alot faster than 24 hours.
> Personally I would always soak sugar beet in whatever form because to not do
> so would probably cause colic as the stuff swells up inside the horses
> stomach.

No, that's a fallacy.  Food empties from the stomach more quickly if
it's fuller, so there's no chance of swelling beet pulp over-filling the
stomach---"stretch receptors" in the stomach walls will dump food from
the stomach into the small intestine long before that would happen.  And
because food is emptied in small, continuous boluses, it won't swell up
enough to cause problems further down the line, either.

The most likely circumstances that beet pulp would cause colic would be
if a horse was not drinking enough water, and/or gobbled down a lot of
it dry, and it caused an impaction, which can also happen with feeds
other than beet pulp.  Much more likely with dry than soaked beet pulp. 
Two, if a horse wasn't used to it and got into a bag of it, it *might*
cause some tummy pains, as the gut flora aren't accustomed to having to
deal with an unfamiliar food, digestive efficiency slows down and
possibly some gas builds up.  However, beet pulp is not as fermentable
as grain products, and so the likelihood and therefore risk of that sort
of colic from beet pulp is much, much lower than it is in colic due to
grain overload.  Beet pulp also doesn't contain high levels of soluble
carbohydrates and therefore won't cause endotoxicity and laminitis like
grain overload will.

So, all in all, beet pulp is a pretty safe feed, wet or dry.  But, as I
said yesterday, I do still prefer soaking it one way or another, though
I wouldn't lose sleep over it if my horses got some dry.

Susan G

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