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RU Pardner, RU Sebastian, RU Shivna, & RU Prodigal Son with a friend on the western plains
Photos by Victoria Hanke.

Question / Problem:

    Bonnie Wallace from NAERIC suggested that I contact you about feeding a weanling. I recently purchased a foal. He is out of a Belgian Mare by a Hanoverian Thoroughbred X Stallion. I'm giving him free choice first cutting hay (next week it will be switched to second cutting hay). He and another horse share a flake of alfalfa. As far as the grain side of it goes I'm not sure what to feed. I don't like commercial mixed feeds. I don't want to feed soy because of the estrogen in it,commercial feed are cooked and that destroys the vitamins and enzymes and I don't trust what goes in it.

    Right now I'm feeding steam rolled oats, stabilized rice meal and flax seed meal for grain. I'm giving probios (a digestive aide) and a supplement from Uckele (their base mix). When I had my last babies 15 years ago I was told to feed them that same amount of grain that you would feed an adult horse. Now I was told just to feed a couple of pounds. How much should he get? Also with this cross of horse (Belgian) do I have to worry about OCD?



    I'd strongly suggest feeding him more alfalfa and starting him on a commercial feed formulated for growth (extra protein and minerals).

Trust me, the estrogenic substances in the soybeans are destroyed by processing but the minerals (which are far more important for growth than the vitamins or enzymes) are not affected. Oats will not give him the "building blocks" he needs to develop properly. Reputable companies like Nutrena, Purina, Blue Seal, Pennfield, etc are very careful about what they put into their feeds, you should not be concerned. The pelleted formulas are best because the horses can not sift out the ingredients.

    We are feeding our weanlings a very good quality alfalfa/grass mix hay free choice with 2 to 2.5 lbs (Depending on their body condition and size) of Nutrena Safe Choice twice a day and free access to salt and water. Purina Strategy, Pure Pride 300, Blue Seal Hunter or Contender, PennField AllPhase, Progressive Nutrition Premium Growth pelleted formula are other feeds that would be appropriate. Increase his concentrate intake by about 1 pound per month until he is 7 to 8 months old, then hold it at the level. If he gets too fat or upright in his pasterns or epiphysitis back off the concentrate a bit but do NOT eliminate it totally-perhaps switch to Progressive feeds ProAdvantage Grass Formula Ration Ration Balancer that can be fed in smaller amounts without cheating him out of the minerals he needs. He does not need digestive aids or extra supplements if he is on a well balanced, good quality commercial feed with good quality hay!

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