Won't gain weight

This topic contains 26 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  tarese_bradbury 1 year, 11 months ago.

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  • Dillon&Jake Original Poster
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 9

    I have a 11 year old Thoroughbred. He is pastured 24/7 with plenty hay in the winter. Since I got him he hasn’t gained any weight. He is probably about a 4 on the body scale. He has not lost any weight either. His teeth are fine and he has been dewormed. He gets a small amount of grain once a day.Should I put him on a weight gain supplement or would something like beet pulp work? I want to make sure I am not giving him too much energy and make him crazy. He doesn’t get worked all that often. Any suggestions?

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I use timothy hay cubes as a supplement, as well as Weight Builder for my new mare (she came from a slaughter sale at 712 lbs. in January, and has gained 100 lbs. so far). I am sure that SmartPak also has something comparable. I do not think beet pulp has much nutritional value, compared to the other things that are available, but I’m not going to swear to that. What sort of grain is he getting? He might do better with a complete feed, and possibly more of it than you currently give, at least until he gains weight. Also I give a mineral supplement, because minerals are important and there is no way to figure how much of what he is getting from hay/grass/grain.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 26

    Hi – Yes – I went through weight-gain issues with my quarter horse. The short story from my vet (teeth floated, de-wormed all that done) Feed maximum quantity of Purina Strategy GX, feed one pound of Grow-N-Win pellets twice a day. Grow N Win is by Pro Manna, feed the one pound in addition to Purina Strategy. That put weight on my 15 yr old. Plus the pasture, plus hay.

    This year I am trying Cool Calories supplement. Missouri had a mild winter and since the gelding was maintaining weight well, I wanted to give Cool Calories a try.

    There are so many variables that cause weight loss, so start by ruling out medical problems Good Luck!

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    Dillan&Jake said, I have a 11 year old Thoroughbred. He is pastured 24/7 with plenty hay in the winter. Since I got him he hasn’t gained any weight. He is probably about a 4 on the body scale. He has not lost any weight either. His teeth are fine and he has been dewormed. He gets a small amount of grain once a day.Should I put him on a weight gain supplement or would something like beet pulp work? I want to make sure I am not giving him too much energy and make him crazy. He doesn’t get worked all that often. Any suggestions?

    Hello! I just want to ask some questions about your horse. How much grain do you feed him? What kind of grain? How many hands tall is he?

    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 26

    To Riding For Christ : refer to my comments above. Purina Strategy and Manna Pro Grow N Win were recommended by my veterinary for weight gain.
    Strategy GX is a safe feed, so feed maximum allowable amount per horses weight. Add one pound of Grow n Win on top of Strategy two times a day. Strategy will not make a horse hot or excitable.

    If you can have good quality brome hay, or grass hay for your horse all day long this is beneficial in many ways.

    You can also try Cool Calories supplement. It does not make a horse hot either. It is a sweet powdery substance used once a day.

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 4

    TBs generally have that problem, unfortunately. When my Morgan, who was normally a chubby boy, lost a lot of weight after a bad tooth float, I started him on beet pulp with rice bran pellets in it, and that did the trick without making him hotter, though it took a good 9 months to put a significant amount of weight back on him. HOwever, he was 28 yrs old, insulin resistant, and Cushings, so I couldn’t pump calories into him indiscriminantly.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I’ll just interject here – I have had SUPERB results with Cool Calories. My two geezers, 31yo each, both appendix, highly TB influenced QHs, are down right FAT coming off winter.

    That said, however, I give them ~6 lbs of grain/2x per day, plus two scoops of CC in each feeding.. a little grain once a day, in my opinion, esp for a TB, is too little. I added the CC to bring down the amount of grain they were getting. They are not hot, course they’re geezers, but have vitality and oomph.

    Good luck

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Edit- they get a generic 12% feed as base, plus CC. Fly mineral block and free choice hay all the time

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I have had many ottb’s and I always fed (wet) beet pulp.1scoop dry and then I soak it. I also feed either purina ultiumn or tribute calm ultra. Both are pellets, high fat content.they need grain 2x’s a day unless they are a reallly easy keeper.I don’t know how nuch grain you are feeding but its obviously not enough. Also you should get his teeth checked by a really good horse dentist.

    Bob&Herd Bob&Herd
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 8

    It might be as simple as just giving your horse a couple of scoops of soaked beet pulp and/or a couple of pounds of oats. Is your horse’s appetite hearty? Is he stressed? Sometimes picky eaters or horses who have trouble chewing hay can benefit from beet pulp — they seem to love it. Beet pulp contains about the same calories per pound dry weight as legume hay, and is 10% protein.
    Be sure your horse does not have a medical or dental problem. For example, you wouldn’t want to start feeding lots of concentrated feeds to a horse with ulcers. If the winters are severe, the horse’s need for calories increases, and the best way to meet the need is with more hay if he will eat it. You didn’t say how long you’ve owned your horse, to compare to previous seasons. Your TB is too young to be experiencing geriatric issues with feed digestibility, so the next thing is to evaluate your horse’s current ration. Forage is the most important part of your horse’s diet, so look at that first. If you can, while your horse is still on hay and not grazing pasture, weigh his hay if you are serving hay daily. Weigh your horse too, so you have a way to establish fed rations as a percentage of bodyweight. If you find that your horse is eating a good amount of hay, say 2.5% of bodyweight per day and is still thin, be aware that some hay has more calories. Hay cut before it matures has more calories than mature hay. Immature legume (alfalfa, clover) forage hay has about a third more calories than mature cool-season grass hay. The big difference between grass and legume hay is protein and calcium levels. By having your hay tested (check with your vet, feed co-op or university extension office for sources of hay testing) you will not only learn the energy content, but the protein content as well, which can help you decide if you should add just fats and carbohydrates for more calories or if you need to add protein too. Where I live, it costs less than $20.00 for a hay test.
    Your horse would benefit from being on free-choice hay if possible. If your horse is getting as much good quality hay as he will eat, it is not necessarily a bad thing to see a healthy horse come through a hard winter without gaining weight. Now that spring is here, if you still need to get more calories in him, you could give him a calorie-dense packaged feed usually labeled as a competition or performance feed. These feeds will have higher fat content than the basic feeds as well as complete proteins, vitamins and minerals. Here are some product names — Purina Ultium Competition formula (12.4% fat), Nutrena Pro Force Fuel (13%), Triple Crown Training Formula (13%), Progressive ProElite HF (12%), Buckeye Cadence Ultra (14%) or Buckeye Trifecta (12%).

    If you decide to mix your own feed from scratch, you might combine oats, soybeans or soybean meal, and beet pulp, and add a fat supplement such as Purina Amplify pellets, Buckeye Ultimate Finish, or vegetable oil. Fat has about twice the calories per unit weight as carbohydrates or protein. If you go with the oil instead of a pelleted fat supplement, add a pelleted ration balancer Such as Buckeye Grow ’N Win so you are sure your horse is getting the vitamins and minerals that may be lacking otherwise. Look at the SmartPak line of products too, like SmartGain, as they include ingredients for digestive health.

    Before making any changes, get your vet’s opinion, and then introduce the changes gradually. You want slow, steady gains. Good Luck!

    Peg Briden
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    I have had terrific success with hay-stretcher and with safe starch forage. Hay-stretcher is soaked in warm water and fed wet like beet pulp but I think it is more nutritious. I use a regular size water bucket, fill it about 2/3s with hay-stretcher and top it with warm water and let it sit until the water is soaked up and the hay-stretcher expands. I am not a fan of hay cubes because of the risk of choke.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Peg – by the time my horses get their hay cubes, they (the cubes) are the consistency of soup. Because I have three horses, all boarded 22 miles away, I start fixing their supplements and hay cubes at 6, to be given at about 8. They soak in a lot of water for a long time. I also worry about choking, so they could sip it through a straw (if they were provided with straws).

    It is never the horse's fault

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Like you, I am rehab-ing an OTTB who left the track with “track feet”: thin walls and soles, a back injury and very underweight. I found that he needed certain nutritional building blocks as well as additional energy in order to build healthy tissues. I suggest you start with a good hoof supplement that provides trace minerals (zinc and copper) and biotin. My guy’s ribs began to disappear about three weeks after I started him on a hoof supplement. He tested low for blood levels of selenium and vitamin E, so I supplemented those as well. But do have him tested for selenium before supplementing. Flax seed (source of omega fatty acids) also helped his skin, hair and hooves and seemed to help with weight gain. I also found he needed extra protein in order to lay down muscle. I gave him one pound of alfalfa pellets (about 80 grams of protein) and an essential amino acid supplement (lysine, methionine, threonine) to boost the quality of the crude protein. In a matter of weeks, he laid down enough muscle in his back to stabilize the old injury and became much stronger, allowing for additional exercise. Also improved the soles of his feet (probably due to increased protein and calcium in the alfalfa) and the inflammation in his feet finally went away.

    Every rehab is different, so you have to resort to a bit of trial and error. If any of one the above doesn’t work, stop using it, he may not be lacking that particular nutrient and you don’t want to waste your money on something he does not need. But also remember, if any one nutrient is lacking, he can’t build healthy tissue, so you might need to look for other deficiencies.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I am having the same problem with my Belgian Filly, I called my vet and she said that right now the grass is mostly water this time of year so there isnt really a lot nourishment there. I was also weary about upping her hay and grain due to colic. My vet suggested I add beet pulp to her grain and see if any progress is made!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    All the excellent food/supplements/hay in the world won’t make one bit of difference if the horse is not feeling secure, that is, is he in a pasture with anyone else? Where is he on the pecking order? Is he alone? All of these factors can make a huge difference.You say your horse is on 24/7 turnout. If he has to be hyper-vigilant (constantly on watch) he will only use up his calories trying to protect himself. Someone once asked me about a very similar situation to yours and when I went to visit the property I noticed that the horse was alone. There was no other horse to keep watch when the person’s horse wanted to rest. Think how herds function with a lead mare or stud always around to keep watch for predators. Domestic horses kept outside have not lost this need. I suggested they put him with a “friend” who would not push him around. 2 months later they contacted me to tell me that he had put on weight and was much less stressed.This is just one example of why behavioral reasons are often the reason horses fail to put on weight.

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