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Re: Beet Pulp

On Thu, 4 Nov 1999 22:53:39 -0800, "casady" <>

> I just read this was one of "those" questions that stirs the pot.  =
> Sorry, but I really need some answers.
>   How much beet pulp do you feed for weight gain?  What is beet pulps =
> exact purpose?  It was recommended to me for weight gain on one of our =
> geldings, I also add rice bran approx 2 cups with it.  My vet said that =
> would be fine for him but never elaborated for how long or other =
> qualitities of beet pulp.  I haven't found any litature re: beet pulp.
>   o.k. ride camp have at it
> Sincerely......LISA
>  .


Hi Lisa,

Not stirring a pot on this end, LOL!  Beet pulp has been used by many as
a source of digestible energy, a way to hide corn oil or other
supplements in a ration when needed, and/or as a handy feed to help send
water into the digestive system when made into a mash or soup.  I've
also seen it used to help reduce the amount of hay needed when hay was
in short supply (there probably will always be a human demand for sugar
beets).  It's not high in soluable carbohydrates like corn, but is also
not "just fiber" with little value in feed energy.  It's just a very
handy feed :-).

If you're familiar with alfalfa hay, beet pulp has about the same amount
of digestible energy as a good quality, leafy alfalfa with just a bit
less structural fiber.  Many endurance and CTR folks really like this
feed because it is moderate in mineral and protein content on a per kg
basis compared to alfalfa --- alfalfa's high calcium content found in
California and some southwestern area bales may cause some troubles for
endurance riders down the road with "thumps", and some horses may have
problems with enterolithiasis (primarily from the higher mineral and
protein content).  Beet pulp is not perfectly balanced itself though, so
your horse's nutritional needs should be taken in consideration if you
plan on feeding a significant quantity of beet pulp each day.  

Beet pulp makes into a great mash when water is added to it.  Feed this
"soup" to a horse at a vet check or camp, and you'll help get more water
into the digestive tract for the horse's use in rehydrating himself. 
There are some concerns out there about "dehydrating" a horse with dry
beet pulp, and the possibility of choke that may be a bit

Any dry feed will require a certain amount of water for "processing" in
the digestive tract, whether it be dry hay, grain, or beet pulp.  Water
should always be made available for the horse whenever possible, and
especially while eating.  A healthy horse will consume as much water as
he needs to digest his meal, so I don't see a real valid concern about
dry beet pulp "stealing" water from the horse.  Now, a dehydrated or ill
horse who has no inclination to drink whatsoever is a different concern,
and a veterinarian will assess that situation depending on the severity
and the horse's condition.

As for choke concerns, the shredded form of beet pulp and pellets are
small.  This can encourage greedy eaters to bolt down their feed even
faster than hay, so choke *may* occur depending on the horse.  However,
any feed in such a form can have a tendancy to cause choke with
fast-eating horses or others with difficulty in properly
chewing/swallowing feed.  If you have a greedy gulper, you can always
soak the pulp or find ways to slow down the rate of feed intake to
prevent choke.

If you are feeding as much quality hay as this horse will eat and he's
dropping weight, than beet pulp may help.  It's a far safer alternative
to large quanities of grain. 

Kim (and 'Lee) in Lubbock, Texas.  Home of really fat prairie dogs.

(okay, back to work)

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