Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Horse management, health, feeding and grooming.
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Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by greybeard » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:34 am

Sigh.....I don't know how I keep getting into these problems with other people's horses...a neighbor.
I am NOT really a 'horse' person..been several decades since I owned one but have taken care of a few in the last 2-3 years.

Gelding, about 20 yrs old. Very thin, hip bones are prominent and ribs are showing. I estimate weight around 750-800 lbs, maybe less. It was in pretty good shape until the grass all died off. (I don't know how many hands tall)

The guy that is 'taking care" I use that term loosely) this horse and 4 others is feeding this gelding Nutrenea Senior, but just one scoop X2 per day which in my opinion isn't nearly enough, then, is filling it up with crimped oats...all the oats it wants to eat at one standing. My guess is it is getting less than 4lbs per day of the Nutrena.
Free choice hay, and I suspect not the best hay.
Has supposedly been de-wormed in the last 30 days.

What I observed when over there 2 days ago. It's losing lots of both the pelleted feed and oats out it's mouth when eating.
Every time it goes to the hay ring, the other horses push it off the hay, even if they aren't interested in eating hay.

The non-resident horse/property owner, stays gone and out of state much of the time, and makes an appearance about once a month.
I really don't want to stand by and watch this horse starve to death.
What I want to do:
I have an empty little pasture, with a 3 sided 'barn' 32x22 and fresh water available and I want to offer to take the horse to my place, and feed it until after the spring grass comes on. Just try to get some weight back on it.
My thoughts are it needs to be brought up to a feeding rate of about 9lbs-10lbs of the Nutrenea per day..fed 1/2 of that in the morning and again in the evening, but from what I've read, I think the feed needs to be soaked, which I've never done before. It will have it's own bale grass hay, but I may put a cow in with it to help eat the bale.
How do I soak the feed? To what consistency..like cooked oatmeal thick?

Do I need to supplement with some kind of alfalfa as well?
That whole "fill it up with oats" thing just seems counter productive to me.
Thoughts?

(and I guess I should add, there are 'extenuating circumstances' , the guy currently doing the feeding is the same guy that showed up at my door last Christmas Eve with a little hole in his belly...he isn't there every day so this one doesn't get fed every day)


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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by ez14. » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:15 am

Well you got people shooting each other over there. I'd just stay out of it! It's not worth the trouble

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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by greybeard » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:25 am

I just want to bring the horse over, not the people.
( I been shot at before...not a big deal)
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by Caustic Burno » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:48 am

GB sounds like he needs his teeth floated. That’s not uncommon on a horse of his age.
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by TexasBred » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:14 pm

GB one good product to feed it is beet pulp shreds. Not high in protein but highly digestible, good energy level and a source of roughage. Give it a good soaking and pour it up. Feed store should have it. Just be sure and get the shreds and not any that has been pelletized.
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by M-5 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:17 pm

wouldn't hurt to worm it also,. a good dose of safeguard
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by Bigfoot » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:34 pm

Almost a certainty that his teeth are a big part of the problem. Sounds like they’ve gone past a hand float, and will require power tools. I’d also venture a guess, he needs a tooth pulled, or maybe 2. Beet pulp (if he will eat it) helps. Calf manna is good as well. I’d probably top dress a quality senior feed with calf manna.
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by wbvs58 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:30 pm

I think you are pushing it to get anything to happen with feed alone. Teeth would be a priority and as Bigfoot suggested someone with the gear and knowledge to do a bit of serious teeth work.

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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by greybeard » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:45 pm

I think you are pushing it to get anything to happen with feed alone.
Yes Ken, you're correct.
I should have mentioned, that I took care of this same horse this same time period last winter, for the same reason, but started in December then. When it left here in March, it looked about 100lbs heavier, with good flesh on it's hips and ribs no longer visible. A lot can happen in a year tho..
what about the oats?....letting the horse fill up on that doesn't seem like a good plan to me. I saw lots of oats (or their hulls) in it's poop today.
Increase the senior feed and back off the oats?

The bay horse.
Last July or Sept
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by hdrockn » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:03 am

I have a 32 year old mare that hauled me all over the mountains safely when we lived in Idaho....she has been the best babysitter horse for kids so is deserving of special care. I have been feeding her successfully soaked feed for at least 4 years due to bad/no teeth. I mix my own "blend" that works well...1/2 lb can of dry beet pulp (shreds or pellets) 1 lb can of alfalfa pellets, and a 3 lb can of 12 % cattle feed (3/8" pellets) soaked in a bucket of water for half a day.....it takes a while for those pellets to soak all the way thru.Image

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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by greybeard » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:01 pm

TexasBred wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:14 pm
GB one good product to feed it is beet pulp shreds. Not high in protein but highly digestible, good energy level and a source of roughage. Give it a good soaking and pour it up. Feed store should have it. Just be sure and get the shreds and not any that has been pelletized.
Ok..why the shreds and not pellets? (i've never fed any beet product at all to anything that I remember so this is new to me)

It's being fed one 'flake' of alfalfa per day in conjunction with having access to a round bale of grass hay.
Would it be better to use alfalfa pellets and soak them too?


I don't think the horse's owner is too open to having it's teeth floated, but I could be wrong about that...I got the impression that he has kinda given up on the animal. (cost isn't the issue) It's not mine and I guess I should just walk away but I hate to see one basically just starve to death.
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by hdrockn » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:13 am

If his teeth are bad it is hard for them to get the nutrition from the flake of alfalfa hay. Lots of folks feed beet shreds without soaking is the reason for shreds over pellets. I use both the beet, alfalfa and cattle cubes for a filler. This is probably no different combination than senior feed, but a lot cheaper. I had another old gelding years ago that I fed soaked 20% cattle cubes. I never realized how long a soaking it took to soften them all the way thru. He choked on them and had to be put down.

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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by Aaron » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:35 am

First time I read this topic title was on my phone and I missed the 'horse' part. Thought things were really going downhill for GB fast. :shock:
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by greybeard » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:38 pm

Welp, I don't have to worry about it now. The owner and 'caretaker' wouldn't make a decision or change and the horse died on their property last weekend. It got down in a low spot for the 2nd time in 3 weeks, and couldn't get up. They called me, so I went over & picked her up with 2 straps and a FEL, but she just never could get her feet under her this time. Too weak and too malnourished. Tried 3 times..no go. I laid her back down on dry ground, called the owner and he wanted me to call a vet to come out and euthanize the animal. I told him if that's what he wanted to do, call the vet himself otherwise, I was going to do it with a bullet. No sooner I said that, the horse looked up at me, rolled them eyes, let out a guttural sound and took it's last breath right then and there. It was almost as if it thought "Oh crap, that ol sob is gonna shoot me...I better just go ahead and die on my own".
I hate it happened and wish they had let me take it over to my place back when it was still mobile..
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Re: Soaking feed for a senior horse with bad teeth?

Post by JMJ Farms » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:20 pm

GB, some people really don’t deserve to own animals. I’m far from being “over compassionate” but I’ve got a pretty big soft spot for things that can’t take care of themselves (domesticated or confined animals, elderly people, kids, etc). They should’ve got the old nags teeth floated and she would have likely been fine. At least you gave it a try.
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