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Re: Beet pulp

superpat wrote:
> Hold on there pardner....

(Oh boy, hope that wasn't a hit on my newly-acquired Texas residency
status :-D  )

> The way I read this post, it appears that the writer is saying that to feed
> beet pulp dry should be of no great concern. It has been my understanding
> that one of the greatest concerns is the danger of a horse getting into the
> feed bin and consuming dry pulp, with devastating consequences. Not having
> the veterinary background to substantiate this, I am asking that someone who
> knows please clarify this for me. (are you out there, Heidi?)


Okay, I am not a veterinarian, but would like the opportunity to defend
my post.

As with most any feed, a risk will always be present if a horse breaks
out and raids the feed bin. Feeds with a greater percentage of
structural carbohydrates (cellulose, hemicellulose, etc.) do tend to
pose a smaller risk compared to feeds with a greater quantity of soluble
carbs such as grains.  If a horse is not accustomed to a particular feed
(including some types of hay), you can also expect problems in the
hindgut as the microbial population has not been given an opportunity to
gradually adjust their population.

I appologize if I implied that there should be *no* concerns with
feeding beet pulp --- perhaps I made an incorrect assumption that a
horse owner will slowly introduce ANY new feed into the ration and take
caution in storing and handling feeds properly.  However, I thought my
post was getting a bit lengthy already without adding Feeding 101
trailered on to it, LOL!

Regarding dry beet pulp:  While attending UC Davis, no one I spoke with
had seen any verifiable cases of dry beet pulp problems other than choke
tendancies with the greedy gulpers (which I addressed in my earlier
post) and horses who were fed a whollop of beet pulp at one time without
ever seeing it before in their lives. 

On a more scientific note: A study by D.M. Harris and A.V. Rodiek over
at CSU Fresno found that dry beet pulp could be fed safely at 45% of the
total ration weight.  The remaining portion of the ration was composed
of alfalfa pellets, and the horses had free access to water.  The
researchers summarized their study by stating that these horses did not
demonstrate any digestive upset (there was an acclimation period to the
beet pulp), the dry pulp did not cause choke, and the horses did gain
weight during the trial.  I haven't seen a more recent paper that
contradicts this research, but would be happy to receive a reference if
such work exists. Obviously, research does not account for *every* horse
out there, and I would have personally liked to see far more horses in
this study, but we work with what we can :-).

Just for clarification, I did state in my earlier post that dry beet
pulp, as with any dry feed, will require a quantity of fluid for
digestion.  This can either come from a source of drinking water or from
the body itself.  Soaked beet pulp helps bring this water in "from the
outside" rather than depending on the body's stores; a nice plus for
exercising horses :-). 

I hope this helps.  

Kim (and 'Lee)

Lubbock, Texas


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