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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:

    I am hoping you can help me.  I adopted a 5MO old Begian Draft Horse a month ago and am struggling on what to feed him.  He was one of the survivors of the overturned trailer heading to Canada for slaughter on October 28th in Wadworth, Illinois.  I have had him on Buckeye's Grow and Win (which is what I have fed my quarter horses and warmbloods) but found it to cause this poor colt much diarrhea.  I started him on the Buckeye Growth Formula and he did well but is also rapidly putting on weight which I don't think is necessarily good.



    In my experience the draft crosses, especially belgians, are very efficient.  We are feeding ours (all now around 8 months old) about 3 lbs Nutrena Safe Choice twice a day plus free access to really good quality legume mix hay with free choice white salt and water.  The Buckeye PELLETED Growth Formula or Purina Strategy should also work.  The draft/warmbloods do not need the extra carbohydrate calories in the "sweet feed" type products.  How much of the Gro N'Win were you feeding that gave him diarrhea?  He should have gotten 3 lbs or less total per day of that more concentrated formula.

    These horses do grow rapidly. Our weanlings average around 2 lbs of gain PER DAY and can put on an inch in height in a week!  They tend to grow unevenly too-putting on weight but no height one week, then shooting up, usually more in the rump than the withers, the next week.  As long as he does not get too fat (deep crease down his loin, hard to feel his ribs) and does not get severe epiphysitis (mild "lumpiness" above the fetlock is not uncommon) or flexure deformities (very upright pasterns) he should be fine.  Also be aware that the Belgians tend to be base narrow behind and somewhat toed out.  Toeing in or out can be controlled with trimming.  Have you had a vet out to check him?  If he was headed for slaughter he may have had some sort of pre-existing problem....

He is lucky you were there.


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