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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of you may remember that I took on a rescue horse last fall. He was thin when I got him, but I was able to condition him a LITTLE over the last year. Winter is coming, and he's just not where I want him to be. I am not really a horse person, I just have fond memories of working on a ranch as a teenager, so I'm really just fumbling around in the dark here.

He currently has access to 2 acres of grass that he shares with 4 mini goats. Everyone has free access to hay (Bermuda/Orchard Grass) and Charlie gets about a pound of Dumor Senior horse feed and a pound of oats twice a day. This hasn't put any weight on him since we stopped the alfalfa cubes in the Spring. He isn't ridden or exercised, but he does live outdoors all the time, with a roofed (but not walled) structure to stay out of the rain. This is where the animals' hay is put out for them. He is wormed regularly and gets his mani-pedi every 6 weeks, but I cannot afford to have his teeth floated right now.

For all my animals I have about $90 a month feed budget (I teach music to pay for my animals) so that I can put a little aside for emergency vet visits, medications, shots, etc. The Dumor Senior feed is about $15 a month, the bagged forage Peggy Sue gets is about $15 a month, and I spend about $30 a month on hay.

So, any suggestions for goat-friendly feed supplements that won't break my budget, but will put some weight on my hard keepers? Peg won't keep weight either, and it's time to supplement my does that I'm breeding this winter.
 

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I know a lot of people that use soaked beet pulp to keep weight on horses or help them gain weight. My goats will eat it dry but I haven't offered it to them soaked.. My problem with beet pulp is though it doesn't have much fat to it, so I think of it kind of as a filler. In my experience, it's probably better than nothing, but not my first choice. You could also look into some rice bran, but I feel like that's a filler too.

For weight gain I now like to buy a bottle of Fat Cat. I've used it before on one of my TB's and it worked wonders! I've recommended it to friends too, they've tried and had great results too. It's not super duper cheap.. a 5 pound bottle is 25 bucks and I have no idea if it can be fed to a goat. I don't think there are any ingredients in it a goat couldn't have but, you would have to research the ingredients. But, with this supplement you basically just feed it till you feel happy with their weight gain and run out. It's given orally in their feed and my picky horse always ate it right up.

Hope you find something that fits your needs :)
 

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We have two horses, one older boy who is harder to keep in condition. He gets 4 cups of grain, morning and night, and as much hay as we feel he needs. Alfalfa hay can help them to gain some weight in my experience. Best of luck with your boy! Have you tested him for parasites? Older animals can be more prone to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nope, haven't had the money to get him tested. I do worm him regularly, but no telling if it works.

The farrier says he's fine and that people are just used to seeing fat horses, and that he has plenty to eat, but I'd like to see him thicker for winter.
 

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He is wormed regularly...
What are you worming him with, how often, and are you rotating wormers? Soaked beet pulp is a good idea. It brings about 11% of protein to the table, has fiber, and increases his water intake. It also helps him convert feed to weight more efficiently. I wouldn't bother with oats, though. Oats only bring 11% protein into the equation and are mostly fiber. They are ineffective for putting weight on a horse. You would be farther ahead to replace the oats with an equal amount of senior feed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ivermectin paste; not rotating wormers; and the farrier gives it for me, so every six-eight weeks.

The oats are free, we get the leftover seed from my husband's family's seed cleaning business. Last season we got oats, the one before was rye. This season we got wheat (which I know we can't feed) so I'm setting up a fodder system. I'm hoping the fodder goes well and helps fatten up my skinny boy.
 

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You're overdoing the worming and you really need to rotate wormers with horses. Performance horses are usually wormed 4 times a year, ranch horses twice a year. Use ivermectin in the spring and safeguard in the fall. Your farrier should have known that - mine does.
 

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Alfalfa hay can help them to gain some weight in my experience.
Alfalfa hay is hard on a horses kidneys due to the high calcium content. It can also lead to a lot of unwanted behavior due to the high protein content. Horses only need around 10% protein.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I've only had my farrier since Spring, maybe he thought I'd be changing wormers this month and didn't mention it. I will scale back the worming. Other people in the area I asked said they worm about every two months, which is why I am worming so often, but they may also be over-worming.

I'll pick up some Safegard before his appointment this month. :)
 

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Where are you located and what are your winters usually like? If you get a lot of rain/snow and wind, you probably want to consider blanketing him with at least a waterproof turnout sheet to keep him dry until you can get him back in condition. Getting wet with a cold wind will put a lot of stress on him.
 

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How bout feeding back the goat milk to your skinny ones as a boost (you can make a mash for your horse) its a live food and full of good stuff.... If you can spare it... and it is free.... Also with your set up it wouldnt be too hard to keep chickens in with them (the eggs are so useful... and they like goat milk too)..
 

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Horses won't eat/drink goats milk. Or any other kind of milk once they have been weaned for that matter.
 

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Rice bran works really well :)

All 5 of our horses are on whats left with the pasture, and alfalfa hay. Have been for years. Never heard it's bad for the kidneys. My mom has been with horses since the 3rd grade, she's 46 now. So I trust her opinion. We have a 30+ year old TB gelding, who is also skinny. He gets 2 lbs a day of a horse feed that has about 30% protein, but we haven't seen a huge difference so we may add rice bran to his diet like we did when we first got him.
 

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You know, it's truly amazing the things people feed their animals without knowing/finding out what that feed can do to them. My Dad is 82 and has been around horses the vast majority of his life. Our horses would never be fed straight alfalfa simply because of the problems it can/does cause.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've only got one doe in milk, and she's well beyond the age her babies should have been weaned, but she still lets them nurse. I think that may be part of why she's skinny.

Charlie's pavilion has shrubbery along one side to block wind, and I'm trying to get two walls up soon. I'll look into getting him a cover, though I doubt he'll keep it on since he loves to roll in mud. We're in south central GA, so we have mild, but wet, winters.
 

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Horses can roll in mud without losing/displacing their blankets/turn out sheets. Most of the horses boarded here are blanketed on a very regular basis, and they routinely roll in blankets without a problem. It's just something to consider. I've spent enough time in Georgia to know that the wind can get a little rough when coupled with the amount of rain you get.
 

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I'll try to give u the best advice I can
1. Keep him on the senior feed and oats.
2. Try cool calories which can be purchased at tractor supply.
3. And give him free choice hay and soaked beet pulp or alfalfa pellets.
Hope this helps you
 
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