Horse Feed and Horse Behaviour

At Australian Natural Health and Healing, we believe in natural feeding. This means that if possible, provide your horse with feed as natural as they can be, that is less processed and as close as possible to what a horse would eat naturally.

Of course grass is the most natural feed available. However, our lands are not as prosperous as they used to be and the variety of grass on a small acreage property would be limited. The soil is also likely to be poor in nutrients, meaning that the grass will not be very nutritious, hence the need to provide extra feed.

The closest feed to grass is hay and chaff. It is important to provide plenty of those. There are different types of hay like lucerne, barley, grassy etc.

The important thing here is that you must provide a balanced diet between roughage (hay, chaff, pasture, bran) and concentrate (grains, meals, fats etc). Although chaff is chopped hay, hay as such is a primary ingredient of the diet because it provides longer stems which help in the horse’s digestion. When horses do not have access to valuable pasture, or are fed grains, they should be provided with hay or chaff with a minimum of 1% of their body weight to enable efficient digestion (Dr John Kohnke).

Feed should be weighted and not measured in volume because it is the only way you will be able to calculate your horse’s intake. If you are using a 2 litre ice-cream container to measure your feed, take 1 measure of each feed, weigh it and record it. On average, a 2 litre container will be about 300g of lucerne chaff, 250g of white chaff etc.

Feed must be free of mould and “unwanted visitors” alive or dead! So it is important to store your feed correctly to avoid any spoilage and contamination. Mould and horses do not agree!!

Whatever ration you establish, you must monitor its effects on your horse and adjust accordingly. For example, if your horse seems to actively seek food after he has been fed, this means he is still hungry and you might need to increase the quantity. If, on the other hand, he has leftovers, then you will need to reduce the quantity. It takes around 3 weeks to see the effect of a particular feed, so if your horse is losing weight without any apparent reason (you know he is not sick or worm infested), then you will need to re-assess his ration. The same applies if your horse starts behaving strangely.

So lets see how food can affect a horse’s behaviour.

A natural diet for a wild horse contains large amount of cellulose fibre from plants that are digested in the large intestine. This natural diet contains very little amount of starch and sugars found in grains and protein in legume plants like lucerne. Starch, sugars and protein overload in the small intestine are a cause of digestive upsets and will “heat up” a horse or cause colics as the feed ferments in this region.

Some horses are so intolerant to starch they cannot eat oaten chaff (yes, there is a little bit of oats in quality oaten chaff). A common feed stuff that is very high in starch is wheat bran with between 30 to 50% starch. If you must feed grains, it is important that you provide plenty of roughage to help with digestion and the amount of grains be minimal.

Synthetic or poor quality vitamins and minerals may also create some unusual reactions, depending how sensitive your horse is. Horses are like people, some react to red cordial, others to lactose, some to red meat etc. Unfortunately there is no black and white answer. It is a matter of trialling something and observe how your pony reacts.

The good news is that once the culprit ingredient is identified and removed from the diet, your horse should return to its normal-self within days.

A good idea is to introduce new feed one by one (if possible) and see how it goes after few days.

Of course there are other factors that might affect your horse’s behaviour and they should be eliminated from the equation before blaming its feed. Horses by nature are not mean animals. They do have a hierarchy in their herd and there is always few fights among them. The alpha horse will ensure to maintain its status and will “boss” other around if needs be. This is normal. There are few books written on the subject that might help understand their behaviour within a herd.

An aggressive horse, on the other hand, is not normal. We should ask ourselves questions such as:

  • When does this behaviour happen? (feed time? During riding? Etc)
  • Has he always been aggressive?
  • If he became aggressive suddenly, what happened? We might need to investigate a little
  • Was he abused, starved or neglected in the past? Horses have a phenomenal memory and it might take a lot of re-education to change behaviour caused by bad memories!
  • Is he in any sort of pain? Like us, some horses are more sensitive to pain than others so a little thing might seem the end of the world for the sensitive ones! This is where we (or a vet) need to check his feet, back, neck, muscular tightness etc. If a horse is unbalanced, even slightly, it may cause some pain in his body and could be the cause for misbehaving. it is true that some horses will endure horrible pain without blinking an eye until they simply fall apart (or down)! This is then a shock to the owner who did not know their horse was hurting. One should take the time to really know their horse and be attuned to them to depict any abnormality. It takes time and patience.
  • Does his tack fit properly? Wrong saddles can cause some musculoskeletal issues and make our pony very unhappy!
  • If it’s a mare, is she in season? Some mares can get extreme during these times!
  • Is he badly educated? Have we got a spoiled brat?
  • Does he have an ulcer? This is difficult to determine and you will need your vet to run some check-ups. According to scientists, it is very common in horses, especially those who raced or competed as they get highly stressed and their diets might not be the best in terms of digestion. Some symptoms might be sensitivity to some feed stuff, especially starch and proteins, behavioural issues and weight loss. These symptoms alone are not sufficient to provide an accurate diagnostic, so if you suspect your horse has an ulcer, contact your veterinarian who will be able to confirm it and prescribe medication.
  • Now, a very simple question which gets overlooked quite often: does he get too much food for his activity level? Food is energy, so if our horse does not use his energy in his activity, he will have some left to spare!!
  • Does the horse buck when ridden (regularly)? Bucking takes a lot of effort for horses so there has to be a good reason. Assuming that it is not a horse in breaking, causes for bucking may be a painful saddle, sore back/body/feet, bad memories as explained above, too playful (too much food)?

I guess the first thing to eliminate is any physical health issues whether they are illnesses or injuries. Your veterinarian is the person to contact first and they will be able to refer you to other professionals if needs be, like farriers, chiropractors etc.

Elimination of any ill-fitted tack is the second one. If there is an issue with the saddle then you might need to get a saddle fitter in. It is not expensive and is worth the spending. Better have a good saddle than having a horse that bucks, is sore, unhappy and dangerous.

Any mental issues due to the horse’s past are better dealt with the help of professional trainers. Same applies to a badly educated horse. These professionals can help us in re-educating our horse and teach us what to do or not do.

If your horse gets supplements like minerals and vitamins, do a bit of research to see how other horses react to what you are giving yours. It is not uncommon to see a change in behaviour according to supplements given to a horse. Sometimes, it is wise to stop all supplements to see if the horse goes back to a gentler state. It is possible that these supplements might be too concentrate, or of an average quality, or that the horse has some allergic reaction to them, especially if they are synthetic. And sometimes, it might be necessary to only give natural supplements like herbs, dolomite etc.

Minerals and vitamins (supplements) should be given based on what the horse’s nutrients requirements. A good start if to check the NRC web site and John Kohnke’s book “Feeding Horses in Australia” to understand nutrients and calculate what your horse needs.

Animal Care – Choosing The Right Vitamins

If you have some animals in your home or in your farm caring for there health is one of the major concerns that should not be neglected. When your animals are in good shape, you can be sure that they will give you high quality products such as meat, egg and milk. To ensure your animal’s optimum health inside and outside, you need to find the right vitamins and food supplements for them. It is not enough that you just give them healthy foods everyday, it is essential that you give them something which will enrich their body for them to fight diseases and other ailments which might give hinder your animal’s growth and production.

As there are too many animal vitamins which you can find in the market, you need to choose the right one. You can choose from natural food supplements or commercial food supplements each offers different nutritional value for your animals. When you want to have commercial vitamins for you animals, you might find these ingredients on the label: alfalfa, alpha amylase, amino acids. In natural vitamins you might find are made from pure organic substances which are very good for your pets. This organic vitamins and supplements might be a little expensive than the commercial one but you can be sure that it is one hundred percent natural and there are no preservatives added, making it one of the best vitamins and minerals for your farm animals.

To ensure that you get the right kind of vitamins for your animals, ask your veterinarian, in this way he can evaluate what kind of supplements your animals need. You can also read product reviews and testimonials online. Satisfied buyers always give comments on the product they have used. You can also try some vitamins and see for yourself and observe which one will give your animal the best nutrients and can give you positive result.

Taking care of your animal is definitely a full time job which you need to take seriously. Their good health will depend on how well you take care of them. One of the many things which you need to pay attention to when you want your animals to be on the pink is the vitamins and food supplements that you give them. If you choose the right food supplements and vitamins for your animals, they will thank you by giving you fresh and high quality products which can help you and your family especially with your finances.

Is A SoyChlor Plant Killing Animals, People, And Children In Jefferson Iowa?

On October 28, 2005, over 250 residents of Jefferson, Iowa, represented by attorneys from LaMarca & Landry, P.C., filed suit against West Central Cooperative in the Iowa District Court for Greene County. The parties to this lawsuit include homeowners, business owners and persons who work at nearby places of employment, such as MicroSoy, Electrolux and American Concrete.

The causes of action include nuisance, negligence, trespass, res ipsa loquitur, and strict liability for carrying on an abnormally dangerous activity. The claims stem from numerous environmental and health changes which have occurred since West Central Cooperative’s Jefferson, Iowa Soy Chlor plant began its operations on February 14, 2005. These problems stem essentially from the Soy Chlor’s plant emission of hydrogen chloride, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter containing one or both of these chemicals. Soy Chlor is a patented dairy cattle feed supplement which combines hydrochloric acid with soy product.
The lawsuit also alleges violation of West Central Cooperative’s IDNR operating permit for this plant, as well as violations of the hazardous chemical risk law and other environmental laws and applicable standards of care.

West Central opened the business – SoyChlor – in February. Since then, emissions from the plant have corroded metal buildings and other property within a mile of the plant, the lawsuit alleges. Emissions also have killed grass and other vegetation, eliminated wildlife, ruined windows and discolored surrounding structures and roadway rock, plaintiffs contend.

The plaintiffs claim that the plant has exceeded legal limits for emissions of both hydrogen chloride and “particulate matter,” or dust. When combined with moisture, the chemical turns into hydrochloric acid, a highly corrosive substance known to be toxic to humans and animals.

“It’s plain as day, right from my front window,” said Jeb Ball , owner of a used car business west of the SoyChlor plant on Jefferson’s north side. “I have to look at it every day.”

“We think we’re in compliance now,” Nile Ramsbottom , vice president for soy and nutrition operations at Ralston-based West Central said, but he added that the company plans to increase the height of SoyChlor’s emissions tower to 94 feet to more widely disperse emissions and to dilute their presence on the ground. West Central also plans to install an additional scrubbing system, Ramsbottom said, adding that those combined steps would be more than enough to ensure that plant emissions meet legal limits .

The company has asked the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which oversees manufacturing plant emissions, to allow the changes.

Dave Phelps , who supervises the DNR section that oversees such permits, said the department was prepared to grant the company’s request, but he also expects there to be a public comment period and public hearing about the matter this month . He also said recent testing showed the plant’s dust emission rate exceeded the limit allowed by state law.

George LaMarca, a Des Moines lawyer representing plaintiffs in the case, said a public hearing and the opportunity for public input are good steps, but ones that should have been taken before the plant was opened.

Ball, the owner of the used car business, said Monday that his son, Colton Conroy , 15, has been sickened by SoyChlor emissions. A month ago, the high school sophomore collapsed at a football game, and a treating physician blamed SoyChlor emissions for health problems that first emerged after the plant opened.

Since his collapse, the teenager has lived with his maternal grandparents, south of town, and his symptoms have subsided, said Ball and his wife, Diane Conroy.

“He could run track and play football and everything a year ago, and had no problems whatsoever,” Ball said.

SoyChlor uses hazardous materials, including hydrogen chloride, to make a patented product added to feed for dairy cows. Hydrogen chloride is a noxious gas that can be toxic to humans and animals.

When mixed with moisture, it becomes hydrochloric acid, a highly corrosive substance capable of eating through motor vehicle finish, pitting glass, and killing wildlife and vegetation — all of which have occurred, residents say, in the “fallout zone,” an area extending a mile or more in every direction from the plant. The gas, the acid and particulate matter tainted by the gas or acid are emitted through a stack that sits atop a concrete tower at the north end of the plant.

“In Iowa, when you live in a community this size, you accept it because it’s agriculture,” said Jeff Ostendorf, a Jefferson livestock producer who works at MicroSoy Corp., a soy-based food ingredient manufacturer located across the street from SoyChlor. “This is different.”

Bonnie Burkhardt lives south of SoyChlor, across the street. One day last week, she paged through notebooks and three-ring binders in which she has kept meticulous track of communication about the dispute with public officials, company officials and others in the community.

One notebook detailed the potentially harmful effects of the toxic substances used by SoyChlor, along with reports from medical doctors treating Burkhardt and others who say they have suffered health setbacks this year.

Formerly vibrant children now sleep way too much and run low on energy quickly, families say. Colton Conroy, a 15-year-old pushing past 6 feet tall, got winded easily and began to lose weight, his mother said. Adults with respiratory ailments, including Norma Gross and Ron Lawton, said they had been improving with the help of medical treatments, but now say they have gotten worse.

Last year, Gross was doing well, despite her chronic lung disease. But after SoyChlor opened, she lost ground quickly, struggling to breathe. Her physicians at University Hospitals in Iowa City, where she has been participating in a research project, urged her to move away, she said. But she is a lifelong resident, and she and her husband raised 10 children here. Gross doesn’t want to live anywhere else.

Also alarming to Gross and Burkhardt is the loss of wildlife. Gone are the pigeons that used to sit atop tall grain storage structures north of the SoyChlor plant, they said. Gone are the bluejays, cardinals, goldfinches and other birds that used to perch on the numerous feeders in Gross’ backyard. She has not seen a bird for weeks.

“It was like all of a sudden there weren’t any birds anymore, not even sparrows,” said Gross, who lives in a tidy trailer park within a mile of the plant.

In addition, spots have surfaced on the finish of vehicles and on the siding of homes and other buildings, even on mailboxes.

Jefferson residents said West Central’s insurer had hired a Florida firm to clean vehicles affected by the emissions. They also said the insurer had offered checks of up to several hundred dollars to residents claiming property damage, although recipients were required to sign a form releasing the co-op and its affiliates from further claims.

Burkhardt said she first noticed that something was wrong when her skin would burn while she worked in the flower garden. Eventually, it drove her indoors, where she would shower to make the burning stop. That was last spring, after she spent several months in Florida with her husband, Chuck.

At the same time, Arletta Tasler and her husband returned from a winter in Texas. They both developed coughs that have lasted for months, they said. At times, Tasler said, she has coughed so hard that she has vomited.

Like Burkhardt, the Taslers had no clue about the cause.

Burkhardt and her friend Diane Conroy talked to neighbors and people working at nearby businesses. Within a mile of Burkhardt’s home, they found dozens of people reporting similar symptoms. They had noticed a strange odor first, like the scent from a bag of empty beer cans left in the hot sun for a day, Conroy said.

Then came health problems. Then the spots on vehicles and on buildings. Then filminess on windows and windshields that scrubbing could not remove. And some noticed that their eyeglasses had become pitted.

The women searched the Internet for information about SoyChlor and the chemicals it used.

The more they learned, the more they became convinced that the culprit was SoyChlor.

“If you get this on your siding, if it’s pitted, think what it’s doing to your lungs,” said Tasler, who lives with her husband of 49 years, Shorty, on a farmstead directly east of the plant where they raised eight children.

Burkhardt, Conroy and others contacted the head of city sanitation, the public health nurse and the local newspaper editor. They began contacting the government — environmental and safety regulators, Iowa’s U.S. senators, even the White House.

Conroy and her husband, Jeb Ball, contacted their lawyer in Des Moines. He referred them to George LaMarca, another Des Moines lawyer. LaMarca knew just how deadly hydrogen chloride could be. The gas had incapacitated some of the victims in Des Moines’ deadliest fire ever, which swept the Younkers store at Merle Hay Mall on Nov. 5, 1978. LaMarca represented victims’ survivors in litigation that lasted for years and, ultimately, resulted in an undisclosed settlement for the plaintiffs.

He has just five words for the co-op: “We want the plant closed.”

What Type of Cattle Feed Should You Supply to the Customers?

Right type of cattle feed help the farmers to achieve the best results for the reasons they raise these animals. Apart from pasture grazing and livestock-crop grazing, the livestock farmers are highly relying on the industrially produced cattle feeding ingredients. This helps them fulfill the overall dietary needs of their animals.

If you are abutting to start this business, you must know what the farmers expect from the feed you supply to them. This will help you to purchase feeds from the cattle feed suppliers. So, here are some factors that help you decide the types of cattle feeds that you must offer to the livestock farmers.

Reason for Cattle Rearing
Many farmers rear them for dairy farming. And there are others who rear them for beef. As obvious, the cattle feed for different purposes should be different. While choosing their diet feed from the suppliers, you must consider the main reason for which the cattle are reared in your area. This should help you provide right food to the livestock farmers.

Another important factor that farmers consider while choosing their food is their age. It must be understood that cattle at different stages of life require different types of dietary ingredients. So, you must offer different types of animal food to provide right type of nutrition to cattle of different age groups.

There are many different types of cattle feeds available with the suppliers. Here are some of the most popular ones.
• Forages or roughages. You must offer the forage that is prepared form right type of plants and that have right moisture content. Hay is one of the popular forages available. Alfalfa is another popular feed in the category of forages.
• Concentrates with high percentage of easy to digest carbohydrates are other important things you must offer to your customers. Corn, barley, oats, wheat and oilseed meals are the most popular concentrates that make a part of the quality food.
• Supplements are given as feed to cattle if the forages available are low in nutrients. Protein rich supplements and those with bran feeds are among the most popular supplements available for feeding cattle.

By offering all these types of feeds, you can actually entertain the needs of different livestock farmers.

Special Considerations
Pregnant cattle and those who have just given birth to a calf need special types of cattle feeds. So, you must take into consideration the cattle feed that entertains the needs of cattle in such situations.

Besides, you must consider the government regulations implemented in your region while providing different types of cattle feeds. This is to ensure that you follow the health requirements of the cattle. You must also consider the reputation of the cattle feed suppliers while choosing the feeds you need to sell further. It is good to search for the cattle feed manufacturers and suppliers in online business directories and global b2b marketplaces.