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posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 27, 2012 15:14


Weather conditions this summer have been conducive to the formation of blue-green algae blooms on dugouts and ponds.  Nutrient rich runoff flowing into a body of fresh water combined with warm daytime temperatures in the summer accelerates algal growth, including that of blue-green algae.
Blue - green algae is not an algae, but a bacteria called "cyanobacteria."  This bacteria produces toxins that can cause skin and eye irritations, gastroenteritis, liver and nervous system damage, sickness and, at times, death.
A surface bloom of blue-green algae may look quite differently depending on which species is dominant. Some will have a shimmering blue-green colour.  The bloom may also have a foamy sheen-like appearance that looks like spilled paint floating on top of the water.  Heavy blooms may appear like a solid shimmering blue-green sheen across the water’s surface, may have an appearance and consistency similar to pea soup, or may have a mixture of the colors tan, purple, grey, green or blue-green.
If blue-green algae is identified in a water source, all livestock, pets, and human contact should be prevented.  The water will require treatment. 
The most common treatment of blue-green algae in an open dugout or pond is with a registered product containing copper sulphate. A treatment rate of one pound (0.45 kilogram) of copper sulphate (by weight) will treat 100,000 gallons (1 kg/1,000,000 litres).  There are two common application methods: the copper sulphate can be dissolved in warm water, which is then sprayed over the water’s surface; or, the copper sulphate can be weighted into a cloth bag with a rope spread from side to side, and with the assistance of another individual, the bag can then be dragged back and forth across the water’s surface.  When treating dugouts, the objective of the treatment is to target the top meter (1.0 m) to kill the algae.

Copper sulphate works by killing the blue-green algae.  Doing so releases the blue-green algae toxins into the water.  Therefore, it is recommended that 12 to 14 days should pass prior to any livestock, pet and/or human contact with the contaminated water.  If treating a dugout containing fish, it is recommended that only one-third of the dugout should be treated, using one-third of the recommended copper sulphate weight applied in treatments over a three day period. 

The treatment process described above applies to non-draining waterbodies, such as dugouts, which are wholly contained on private land.  In the case of waterbodies that drain to adjacent properties or waterways, a permit for the chemical control of aquatic nuisances is required from Saskatchewan Environment. 

For more information, call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

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Lead Toxicity in Cattle

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   June 1, 2012 09:00

Dr. LeeAnn Forsythe DVM, MVetSc, Disease Surveillance Veterinarian

Lead poisoning continues to be the most predominant toxicity encountered in cattle and a cause of significant economic loss for beef and dairy producers. Currently, the primary source of lead on the prairies is discarded vehicle batteries.

Symptoms of lead poisoning in cattle include neurological signs such as depression, stumbling or difficulty walking, blindness, and seizures. The most severely affected animals die within 24 hours of initial onset of clinical signs, but some animals may die up to 2 weeks after exposure.  Not all animals exposed to the lead will develop clinical signs; some may appear to be perfectly normal even though the level of lead in their blood is high. The only way to be certain of which animals were exposed to lead is to test blood for lead.

Because lead is heavy, pieces of lead can become stuck in the cow’s stomach. These pieces slowly release lead into the cow’s body over a long period of time.  Lead is deposited in the kidneys, liver, and bone and excreted in the milk, urine and feces. The time to elimination from the body is highly variable. In some cases animals have found to have lead levels above the acceptable limit for years after the exposure.

Livestock producers need to ensure that cattle do not have access to lead by removing discarded batteries, old oil, paint, shingles and other sources of lead. Meat and milk from lead-poisoned cattle is a food safety concern; therefore, these animals should never be used for food production

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EcoFriendly Action Grants

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   April 23, 2012 12:25

EcoFriendly Sask is offering monthly grants of up to $500 to support local projects that will benefit the environment. We're interested in concrete, tangible actions from across the spectrum: from habitat restoration and recycling to planet-friendly urban design, gardening, wildlife and energy conservation. Additional information is available online at http://www.ecofriendlysask.ca/2012/04/ecofriendly-action-grants.html. Email questions or proposals to ecofriendlysask@gmail.com

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energy | Feed | General | green | horse

Common Grazing Management Mistakes

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   March 23, 2012 10:35

Nadia Mori, MSc, PAg, Regional Forage Specialist
Watrous Regional Services Office
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Managing pastures for maximum productivity sounds easy in theory but once weather fluctuations, insect or wildlife damage, and other unforeseen circumstances enter the equation, pasture management quickly turns into a complex balancing act. Grazing management mistakes are bound to happen when dealing with the complexity of a pasture ecosystem. Learning from these mistakes is a good preparation for future unforeseen circumstances and better risk management in your grazing system.

1.    Looking only to the past to determine stocking rates.
Using the same stocking rates year after year often results in pasture degradation. What may have worked in the past may not be appropriate in the present. Most grazing animals have increased in frame size, thereby increasing forage demand for a single animal. Each year will also present a different moisture situation and therefore different amounts of available forage. Properly balancing your forage supply and animal demand based on weather patterns and herd requirements is recommended.
2.    Thinking that more animals grazed means higher profits.
As stocking rates go above what a pasture can carry sustainably, animal performance and animal health will start to decline. As forage supply becomes inadequate, animals are also more likely to graze harmful and toxic plants. In addition to compromised animal performance, the grazing pressure on your desirable forage plants can lead to reduced pasture health. Long periods of rest may be necessary to restore pasture productivity. Reduced pasture productivity can be costly if additional feed needs to be purchased to meet animal nutritional requirements. All these factors reduce your profit.
3.    Thinking that leaving forage behind is a waste of feed.
Drought is always a matter of when, not if it occurs in Saskatchewan. Keeping stocking rates conservative is the best drought insurance policy. Well rested, vigorous forage plants with a well developed root system will stand a much better chance of survival than an overgrazed, stressed plant with a compromised root system. Forage not used in above-average rainfall years can provide carry-over feed for periods of moisture shortfalls. Left-over forage material also turns into litter which helps protect the soil surface from soil erosion and keeps soils cooler and moister during the heat of the summer.
4.    Following the same pasture rotation year after year.
Grazing during rapid spring growth can be stressful to forage plants. Using the same pasture for spring turnout or during rapid spring growth, is taxing on forage plants. Desired plants are often selectively and repeatedly grazed during this rapid growth stage, which may give weedy or undesirable plants an opportunity to take over. Deferring grazing during critical plant growth periods, using pastures at different seasons of the year, and rotating through pastures in different sequences from year to year will help in maintaining good pasture health.
For more information, please contact:
 Watrous Regional Services Office (306-946-3220);

 Agriculture Knowledge Centre (1-866-457-2377); or
Visit our website at www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca.

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Feed | General | green | horse | nutrition

Radionics Course Offering in Saskatoon

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 28, 2012 10:14

This training course will be personally delivered by Ed Kelly, President of KRT and son of founder Pe-ter J. Kelly. Workshop will include a balance of radionic theory, practical application and hands-on activities that will equip participants with the ability to apply radionics to the energetic world that flows through us all.
Ed Kelly is a uniquely qualified instructor, with years of experience building and developing radionic instrumentation, working with senior instructors, and writing about this amazing field, as well as countless hours spent in the company of some of the greatest names in radionics: Dr. T. Galen Hier-onymus, Col. Tom Bearden and many others - not the least of which, his father, Peter J. Kelly.

Fundamentals of Radionics-April 10, 11 and 12, 2012
A course designed to meet the needs of brand new beginners and seasoned veterans alike. Participants should bring samples of the water they drink and fur/hair from an animal they own. Topics covered will include:
History of Radionics
Radionic Instruments: Theory of Operation
The Operator and Focused Intent
Safe Use of Radionic Instruments
Capturing Effective Witnesses
Operation of the Kelly Instrument

Each individual and family/friend enrollee will be provided with following materials and information:
Radionics - Book 2: Applied Radionics Two 300 ml Griffin beakers
Set of 10 KRT radionic worksheets One year: Kelly Research Report
Set of 20 test tubes w/ stand Basic Nutrient Reagent Set
Retake includes completion of courses taught by any authorized dealer of KRT instruments

Individual Enrollment $599.00
Family and Friend Enrollment – Bring a buddy and save $100 each! $499.00
Retake* or with Purchase of a New Instrument $299.00
Instrument Rental (Supplies are limited!) $25.00

Energetic Analysis and Balancing
Water Analysis Worksheet
Animal Analysis Worksheet
Plant and Soil Analysis Worksheet
Use of Reagents: Physical and Electronic
Basic Rate Scanning/Electronic Dowsing

Saskatoon, SK-April 10- 13th, 2012 at the Cosmo Civic Centre

Advanced Topics in Radionics –April 13, 2012
A one-day course designed to explore advanced dimensions of knowledge. Participants must have previ-ously completed a Fundamentals course. 2012 topics to be covered will be:
Advanced Rate Scanning for Accuracy Reagent Selection
Electronic Potentizing and The Replicator Radionic Harmonic Matching
Individual Enrollment $149.00

Contact Back to Your Roots Soil Solutions today 306.747.4744
or deb@back-to-your-roots.com to enroll in these course!

Note: The universal concepts of radionics covered in these workshops will equip participants to conduct radionic research in any area desired. However, human health issues cannot be covered at any time. Re-grettably, any questions concerning human health will have to be declined

Analyzer Price List– Please Contact Kelly Research Technology to Order
706-782-2524 or sales@kellyresearchtech.com
The Workstation : Ag Analyzer - 32 Phase Array 40# $4,350.00
The Workstation - 40 Phase Array 40# add $75
The Workstation - 48 Phase Array 40# add $150
The Workstation Pyrex Well Upgrade 40# add $150
Mk II Ag Analyzer: Seporah & BNC Upgrade 32# $650.00
Mk I Ag Analyzer: Seporah & BNC Upgrade 32# $300.00
The Beacon Agricultural Analyzer - 32 Phase Array 32# $3,200.00
The Beacon - 40 Phase Array 32# add $75
The Beacon - 48 Phase Array 32# add $150
The Seeker Agricultural Analyzer - 32 Phase Array 32# $2,500.00
The Seeker - 40 Phase Array 32# add $75
The Seeker - 48 Phase Array 32# add $150
Beacon or Seeker Pyrex Well Upgrade 32# add $75
Kelly Personal Instrument 9# $1,350.00
Kelly Personal Instrument Pyrex Well Upgrade 9# add $50
Personal Analyzer: Seporah & BNC Upgrade 9# $300.00

Welcome to Hop Hill Stable, A New Barn from Old Wood, A Recycling Story

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 19, 2012 10:20


A New Barn from Old Wood, a Recycling Story

Written by Nadine Abrams


In 2010, we showcased Hop Hill Stable, owned and operated by Michael Jewett and his family, for its unique approach to using recycled materials for the construction of a 20 stall barn, adjoining tack room and riding arena.  Through the use of salvaged materials from building demolitions around the province to the re-use of the original homesteads’ masonry stove, Hop Hill Stable is an excellent example of how a horse facility can use sustainable construction techniques to reduce its environmental ‘hoof’ print.


“Having [a] vision first and not arbitrarily collecting junk because it’s cheap” says Jewett, is the first step when wanting to pursue the ‘recycling’ approach.  By having a good plan and a rough design in place prior to sourcing materials, you will save time and money in the long run.


For Mr. Jewett, it all started when his son gave him a book on straw bale construction. The booked sparked his interest and he enrolled in a course to learn more about this sustainable construction technique.  At the end of the course, he had an idea to construct a facility that not only reflected his environmental philosophies but also demonstrated that it could be accomplished through sustainable construction techniques and using recycled and refurbished materials.


In 2000, Mr. Jewett noticed an article in the local paper about a demolition company that was dismantling steel buildings.  Mr. Jewett telephoned the company to inquire about the availability of steel beams and was directed to an “agent” who specialized in buying and selling materials from demolition sites.  Mr. Jewett retained the agent who informed him that the buildings mentioned in the article were already resold but there was another building that may interest him located in Oshawa.


Arriving on-site prepared to bid; Mr. Jewett found himself looking at 3 old General Motors buildings. He promptly bought all 3 buildings and with the assistance of skilled labour, the buildings were disassembled piece by piece, loaded onto 8 semi-trucks and shipped to the farm.  As the farm plans evolved, Mr. Jewett determined that the 24’ high I-beams of the biggest building were perfect for an arena.  After being stored in a field for over 2 years, the beams were refurbished and reassembled on new concrete footings to create the 200’ x 100’ arena.  In hindsight, Mr. Jewett laughs and says “there was this pile of steel in my field, I had no idea which beams went were”.  With the assistance of a contractor who had experience in erecting refurbished buildings, they were able to determine the order of the beams and sort through the materials from the remaining buildings to determine which were suitable for re-use.  The remainder of the building material was re-sold.


Mr. Jewett also mentioned to the agent that he was in the market for good timber.  The agent found the remaining materials from the Joseph Seagram Distillery in Waterloo which was demolished in 1993.  After another successful bid, Mr. Jewett had the timber from the distillery building trucked from a storage yard to the farm. The dark wood rafters and the stall post and beams are all Douglas fir salvaged from the distillery. The structural posts in the barn and in the link building which leads to the tack room are made from the 4”x4” barrel racking rails. These were once used to hold the whiskey barrels during the aging process.  Even the wainscoting along the walkway from the stable to the arena was re-sawn from this material.


Mr. Jewett continued to collect materials that fit the design of the facility.  In 2002, he read an article about a company named Priestly who were planning to demolish Terminal 1 at Pearson International Airport.  He was able to acquire the window glass, a receiving door and an old Customs bench. The glass and receiving door were incorporated into the arena and the customs bench now provides seating in the viewing lounge.


The Douglas fir stall planks are made from the floor joists salvaged from an old warehouse on Toronto’s King Street since demolished for a condominium.  One morning, with flashlight in hand, Mr. Jewett browsed through the building at 7 am and spot bid on items.  He says, “You may spend less on materials but [you] spend more on time than anything else”.  With a demolition schedule looming, Mr. Jewett had to move quickly to remove the timber he had just purchased.  He noticed that his local building supply store regularly shipped materials into the city for construction but the trucks would return empty.  He contacted the store and asked if they could stop by the site, load the wood and ship it north again. For a nominal fee, the supply store agreed.  In time, the Douglas fir planks were de-nailed and planed and then reassembled as the stall fronts and exterior surfaces.


In 2004, Mr. Jewett happened upon the 24’ diameter hexagonal skylight by chance. On his way home from work he noticed construction equipment outside the Thorncrest Mall on John Street in Thornhill.  He took a chance and approached the site foreman to inquire about purchasing the skylight.  The foreman agreed and arrangements were made to disassemble the structure. The skylight was taken down, pane by pane, loaded on a truck, and stored in the same field as the arena beams for over 12 months.  It was reassembled when the time was right and hoisted onto the roof by crane.


Mr. Jewett credits his successful construction to a flexible design.  He had an original concept in mind and collected the materials he felt suited his vision.  Many changes were made during the 5 years it took to assemble the material and construct the facility.  The barn’s skylight is a good example; because the skylight was not included in the original design, the building roof aperture was too small to accommodate its size.  The aperture was adjusted and reinforced to hold the weight of the glass.  Looking at the roof today, you would not notice that the skylight over-reaches the roof aperture by about 2 feet.  Jewett says that “it is these subtleties that give the building its unique character”.


Mr. Jewett recognizes that this type of material sourcing isn’t for everybody. It is a time consuming process and most times, the shipping and labour components associated with salvaging materials far surpass the value of the material itself. For Jewett however, reducing his environmental footprint by using recycled and refurbished materials was more important to him. “If you are willing to do the leg work and put in the time to view materials and ‘sleuth’ around then you can definitely get a deal”, he says.


If he were to do it all again, Mr. Jewett recommends that people start by visiting stores such as The Habitat for Humanity Re-Store or National Building Supply.  He also suggests that you start talking to people as one thing leads to another.  If your budget permits, you could also contact a demolition company directly or retain an agent that specializes in finding these types of materials to assist you.

This article has been prepared by the Healthy Lands for Healthy Horses Steering Committee, which is comprised of representatives from Equine Guelph, University of Guelph, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Equestrian Federation, Horse Facilities Council, Uxbridge Horseman’s Association, Ontario Trail Riders Association, and various Conservation Authorities.  Funding for events organized by this committee has been provided by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association from the Nutrient Management BMP Demonstration Grant funding project.

For more information please visit: www.equineguelph.ca/healthylands.php


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General | green | horse | recycle

Back To Your Roots Western Canadian Annual Producers Conference 2012

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 3, 2012 08:34



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Feed | General | nutrition

War on Weeds

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   November 8, 2011 07:25

With four canisters loaded onto his pack mule, Forest Service ranger Hal Pearce looks like he’s packing Pepsi into the backcountry.  But actually, he’s hauling herbicide to spray noxious weeds in areas of the backcountry where ATV-mounted sprayers aren’t allowed.  Pearce and fellow ranger Tom McClure co-invented the Saddle-Light, a secret weapon int he war on weeds.

“Fighting weeds in the backcountry is time- and labor-intensive,” Pearce says.  “The Saddle-Light is a horse-mounted weed sprayer that enables you to pack n more herbicide and treat larger areas.”

Previously, hikers carried backpack sprayers that treated a mere .06 acres of weeds before requiring a refill.  It was exhausting work, and the only weeds that were sprayed were those within reach of a half-day hike.  Backcountry mountains that had turned golden from the spread of yellow toadflax, a rampant noxious weed in Colorado, were beyond reach.  But Pearce and McClure, rangers in the White River National Forest, knew there had to be a better way. 

For the entire story: http://ryantbell.com/2009/12/01/bi-war-on-weeds/#more-604

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Fall Management of Perennial Forage Stands

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   September 1, 2011 17:51

Charlotte Ward, MSc, PAg – Regional Forage Specialist - Yorkton


The typical production schedule for a perennial forage crop usually consists of 3 to 5 years of high yield (honeymoon period) followed by a rapid decline in productivity. Once this 3 to 5 year honeymoon period is over, factors such as declining soil fertility and decreasing plant numbers typically result in lower production. Another key factor that will affect long-term stand productivity is timing and frequency of harvest – whether or not producers take a 2nd cut of hay or grazing and the timing of that harvest.

Proper management of these stands from now until freeze up can help to mitigate the natural decline in productivity.

How can soil fertility affect stand productivity and why should be thinking about it this fall?

As we harvest perennial forages and remove the plant material from the field, we are also removing a tremendous amount of nutrients from the soil as well. High yielding forages will remove more nutrients than low yielding forages, which will in turn likely remove more nutrients than if the stand were grazed. Over time we need to replenish these nutrients. Manure, commercial fertilizer and even feeding livestock on the field can all be used as tools to import nutrients.

If alfalfa makes up 50% or more of the production in the stand and was properly inoculated at seeding, nitrogen is generally not a concern in the forage stand as the alfalfa will fix all the nitrogen that the stand needs. Phosphorus, potassium and sulphur are the three nutrients that we tend to focus more on in stands that contain a significant portion of legumes as legumes are high users of these nutrients. Phosphorus and potassium are of particular importance as they contribute to root and nodule health and the over-wintering capability of the plants. Both of these nutrients can be fall applied as they are relatively immobile in the soil and they will not leach or volatilize to the atmosphere like nitrogen will. Fall application of these nutrients can also help to decrease the work-load next spring. The most cost-effective way to know where your stand is at in terms of soil fertility is to do a fall soil test.

How does the timing of harvest and frequency of harvest affect forage yield?

Improper cutting of alfalfa stands can lead to winter kill. Understanding alfalfa physiology can help to avoid this problem. In the plant, energy is produced in the leaves through the process of photosynthesis and is used to fuel plant growth. As the plant produces excess energy, it is stored in various plant parts such as the roots and crown. The stored energy is used for regrowth following cutting, plant maintenance over winter and growth during early spring.

When an alfalfa plant is cut, few leaves remain and the plant may draw on stored energy reserves for regrowth. Generally the plant will need 6 weeks to replace leaves and replenish stored reserves to pre-cutting levels. Thus there is a 6-week critical period after cutting that the plant needs to ensure that it has good energy reserves going into winter. This is of particular importance to producers looking to take a second harvest off their fields, either through mechanical harvest or grazing livestock.

Plants harvested after August 15th may not obtain six weeks of good weather of replenish reserves before a hard frost and can go into winter with low energy levels. Plants with low energy levels are more susceptible to winter kill. If it is necessary to take a second harvest, producers should wait until after a killing frost as the plants will shut down and will not try to mobilize energy reserves.

Fall harvests should be approached with caution as harvesting plants after August 15th reduces the stubble height of the field which is important for trapping snow and spring moisture next year. Standing alfalfa will not only trap snow this winter, but will also cover the soil next spring and summer to minimize moisture lost through evaporation.

What can producers do this fall to optimize forage yield next year?

·        Avoid cutting between August 15th and the first killing frost

·        Ensure there is adequate soil fertility, including phosphorus and potassium which is        particularly important for root health and development as well as nodule health

·        Manage stubble for maximum snow cover

Forage Alternatives

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 26, 2011 16:25

Hay is hard to find in some areas. Because of a scarcity of hay in many regions, can you just skip feeding hay this winter and make up the deficit by doubling your horse’s grain ration? The answer is an emphatic NO.

Consider availability, cost, and practicality when choosing ways to provide adequate fiber.


Hay, or some other source of fiber, is absolutely necessary to the health and function of the horse’s digestive tract. Overconsumption of grain is characteristically followed by colic, gastric ulcers, or laminitis, so this is not an option to consider. Aim for an average of 1.5% of the horse’s weigh in hay or equivalent forage each day (approximately 15 pounds of hay for a 1000-pound horse, or 7 kg for a 450-kg horse), adjusting up or down depending on the horse’s age, use, and metabolism.


Why is fiber so important in the equine diet?

Consumption of grass, hay, and other forage fulfills both physical and psychological needs. Horses have a strong desire to chew, and also to have the full-gut feeling that comes from eating a lot of fiber. Deprived of adequate forage, horses tend to chew on trees, fences, stalls, and anything else that is available. A steady supply of forage helps to maintain the optimum types and numbers of microorganisms in the hindgut. These bacteria and other organisms transform fiber into energy the horse can use for growth or performance. The proper balance of beneficial bacteria prevents an overgrowth of harmful organisms that may upset digestion. As well as aiding the passage of food through the digestive tract, adequate fiber provides bulk and weight in the intestines. This helps to keep them from twisting and looping around each other, possibly leading to tissue damage and colic.


Is there a particular need for forage during cold weather?

A near-constant supply of forage is an important factor in keeping horses warm in the winter. The vast fermentation vat of the horse’s hindgut steadily produces heat that can’t be supplied by an all-grain diet.


My local hay dealer doesn’t have hay for sale this year. Should I buy hay from outside my region?

Obviously, not all hay is the same, but with some precautions, you should be able to use hay that is shipped in from other regions. Things to look for include:

Blister beetles. Alfalfa hay may contain these small insects that are highly toxic to horses. Signs of ingestion may include colic, depression, loss of appetite, and straining to urinate.

Unfamiliar weeds or plants. Hoary alyssum, a pasture weed, has been found in alfalfa hay baled in Michigan. Horses consuming the plant showed diarrhea, swollen legs, fever, and signs of laminitis.

Selenium levels. The amount of selenium in hay is influenced by the level of the mineral in the soil where the hay was grown. Horses need a certain amount of selenium, but high levels are toxic. Hay from some western states may have this problem. Signs of selenium toxicity include laminitis and a loss of mane and tail hair.

• Vitamin content. Levels of vitamin A and E drop slowly as hay ages. Hay baled last year, or even very early in the current year, may not contain enough vitamin E to keep horses in good health through the winter; signs of deficiency include muscle weakness, tremors, and weight loss. Vitamin E level depends less on the hay’s place of origin than on how long it has been in storage.

• Quality. Ask hay brokers for a nutrient analysis before making a purchase, and examine the hay before accepting delivery. Good hay will smell fresh and clean without a moldy odor. Check the center of a few bales; hay that appears dry and yellow on the outside of the bales may still be green and fresh inside.


I still don’t have enough fresh hay to supply my horse all winter. What can I do?

If at all possible, some hay should continue to be fed. Owners can use alternative fiber sources to round out the diet if the amount of traditional hay must be reduced. Ideas for stretching your hay supply include:

Feeding chopped hay, available at some feed stores in 50-pound (23-kg) bags. Palatability is an asset; expense and storage may be problems.

Adding some hay cubes to the horse’s diet, soaking the cubes if necessary before feeding. Alfalfa, timothy, and mixed cubes may be available, and in some parts of the country a hay cube fortified with vitamins and minerals is available. Many horses can get along well on mixed cubes, and selection should match the horse’s needs. Because there is less waste with cubes than with loose hay, you often do not need to feed an equivalent weight. Don’t put all the cubes out at one feeding, as the horse will probably gobble them up quickly and then have nothing to eat for hours.

Adding beet pulp to the ration. This “super-fiber” can make up a maximum of 20% to 30% of the diet, is easily digested, and can be bought in bulk at feed stores. Many people advocate soaking beet pulp before feeding, so use of this fiber takes a little more time and management than some other choices. Beet pulp is low in phosphorus and some other minerals and vitamins.

Feeding a “complete” or “fiber-included” feed that incorporates both the forage and grain portions of the diet. Be sure that the feed actually includes forage; some companies use the “complete” designation to indicate a fortified grain mix, not a product that offers forage. This type of feed should be offered in several small feedings throughout the day rather than as one large meal.

Using clean older hay. Even if last year’s hay doesn’t have optimum levels of some vitamins, it gives the horse something to chew on. Older hay that is clean but very dry can be moistened before feeding to make it more palatable, and the nutritional shortfall can be made up by adding a vitamin-mineral supplement.

Feeding straw, either baled or chopped. Clean, non-moldy straw is palatable to many horses and contains nearly as many calories as some grass hays, although it is lower in protein and phosphorus.

Allowing horses more access to pasture. If non-grazed fields are available, horses will continue to eat grass all winter even though it is not actively growing. In fields that have been grazed all summer and fall, horses may be forced to eat brushy or toxic plants as the only choice. Before counting on this source of forage, owners should walk the fields to make sure there is something to eat.

 To view  the complete article go to:  http://www.equinews.com/article/forage-alternatives

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General | Feed