Testing of feeds - was Carb Guard vs TC Lite (NSC)
Eleanor Kellon, VMD <drkellon@...>
We already have a database of commercial feed results. Managing the
funds is a major issue - time, IRS hoops to jump through.
Personally, I think the easiest way to do it might be an "Adopt a
Feed" program. Anyone willing to contribute to the effort could let
us know and when someone identifies a feed that looks promising we
can notify one or more people on the list of sponsors and you can
send the money directly to the testing lab.
Testing of feeds by sampling a single bag has its pros and cons
though. As someone already mentioned, it's going to vary from batch
to batch unless the company is committed to only including
ingredients that fall below a given S/S value. To meet that goal,
they have to test their raw ingredients before they formulate and
mix each batch.
The validity of a sample's results depend on how representative it
is. For hays, coring and mixing as many cores as possible will give
you the most accurate overall picture of what your horse is eating.
The same holds true for feeds. If all the individual ingredients are
below X% S/S, it's a given that the final product will be too, but
testing each and every ingredient is expensive. Next best is the
equivalent of sampling multiple bales - batch testing. In batch
testing, multiple samples are pulled from the finished product,
pooled and a sample taken from that. When you consider that there
are 7+ million horses in this country, if their average feed intake
was even as low as 1 pound per day (way too low I'm sure), that's
2.555 BILLON pounds of feed being produced every year. Even if the
amount of feeds we might be interested in is only 1 million pounds,
you can see how difficult it would be to get a truely representative
analysis by sampling a single bag, or 20, or 100.....
As understanding and research evolves, we may see a complete
overhaul/refinement of how testing is done, to include such things
as available (digestible) starch and analysis of specific sugars -
glucose, fructose, sucrose. For now, we can only focus on general
guidelines we have already found to work (recognizing there are
individual differences) and try to put pressure on the feed
companies to meet our needs by including the information we need in
their GUARANTEED analysis. Every state's Ag Dept has a feed testing
program which checks for accuracy of guaranteed ingredient levels.
If we can push for sugar/starch as a guaranteed maximum, the states
will take over testing and enforcement. For now, focusing our
energies on demanding this information, both sugar and starch, from
companies that are claiming to have low, safe, etc. carb feeds is
likely to be the most productive. Keep the pressure on!
Eleanor Kellon, VMD <drkellon@...>
P.S. I just want to emphasize that for those of you struggling to
get an IR/laminitic horse or pony under control, the LEAST of your
worries should be "feed".
The focus on feeding stuff from a bag has been skillfully driven
into your heads by feed companies. Fortified grains fed in their
recommended amounts have actually done a lot of good in alleviating
mineral deficiencies, much less so in correcting mineral imbalances.
Every horse owner has been conditioned to think they *must* "feed"
the horse from some bagged product. It just ain't so.
Yes, there's a good chance any horse needs supplementation of one or
more minerals above what they are getting in their hay, but you
don't have to tie that supplementation to a high carb grain. Another
consideration most people don't think about is that the amount of
additional minerals your horse gets from the supplemented grain
depends directly on how much of it you feed. If you are feeding
amounts significantly below the manufacturer's recommended daily
feeding, it's not doing much. It's like taking your own One A Day
supplement pill, shaving a corner off it and only taking that.
For a horse that's in trouble, the only function of the "feed" is to
carry the needed vitamins and minerals into the horse. Nothing is
safer for doing that than rinsed/soaked/rinsed beet pulp - which has
other benefits as well such as lowering triglycerides. If you have
your mineral supplement customized to your hay and mixed in a base
of generous flax (2 to 6 oz/day), it won't take more than a small
amount of beet pulp or other feed to get the horse to eat it. Your
goal should be to maximize hay intake, even free choice, and
minimize "feed" when dealing with a horse in trouble.
Posted by: "Eleanor Kellon, VMD" <mailto:drkellon@...?Subject=I understand this, and I use Carb-Guard to carry Penny's supplements.
My idea was to use a low-S/S feed rather than the sweet feed the barn
ordinarily gives horses so that Penny wasn't getting any extra S/S,
not even a little. I thought this might be better, especially since
Penny's diet isn't as tight as it should be. She is out in a pasture,
and she does eat what little grass there is. There's not much, so
it's probably stressed, but since there's not much, I figure maybe
she's burning calories just trying to nibble the little ends that she
gets. Because she's getting that bit of grass, I didn't want to
overload her with S/S from feed, too, even if it's only about a pound
She gets hay in the pasture, which is tossed in for her and
her pasture mates, and when there's hay, the horses eat that, but
when the hay is gone, they nibble at the grass.
A grazing muzzle isn't practical in my boarding situation.
Penny seems to be doing fine on this plan, but it'd be nice
to know Carb-Guard is really lower S/S than, say, sweet feed, which
would be free (the barn provides that, but I have to pay for any
special feed, and I have to go get it and take it to the barn), and
Penny would probably like it better, even with her supplements in it.
I swear, she's just like a child. She'd rather have a candy bar than
So, am I really making a difference by going to the extra
trouble and expense of using Carb-Guard? In such a small amount,
would the sweet feed work just as well? I didn't think so, but if the
answer is yes, then my life would be a lot easier.