Don’t Let Feed Creep Get You!

Published by Jim Fiorini on

Today’s article is about what I refer to as “feed creep”.  Not to be confused with “creep feed” which is a method of introducing foals to feed without mom gobbling up all the goodies.

“Feed creep” is when your well thought out and simple feed program is modified over time eventually getting out of hand again.

Feed creep is inevitable because there are so many variables with horses, horse feed and supplements.  Age, workload, prices, availability, new research, new feeds are all factors that result in changes to a feeding program.

A couple of times a month I get a call from a local barn owner who had me build a feed program for them a year ago asking me to come back because everything has gotten out of control.  When I was working for the stores I would always check feed orders to see who had old feeds and supplements creeping back in.

I’m going to use myself as a perfect example since I am myself a victim of feed creep.

I have four mares ranging in age from 20 to 31.  Three are easy keeping Quarter Horses and one is your average geriatric thoroughbred.  Two of the QHs are metabolic but well controlled.

Up until about a year ago the three Quarter Horses were on Purina Enrich Plus ration balancer and the thoroughbred was on Purina Senior Active.  One of the Quarter Horses was on Outlast gut supplement for her chronic fecal water syndrome.

Within the past year I began adding Outlast to one of the other Quarter Horses and I began adding 1,000 IU of vitamin E daily to all the horses.  I also added Purina Omega Match oil to the thoroughbred’s feed.

About six months ago I started to give my 31 year old Quarter Horse Omega Match oil as well.

As all horse owners are aware, the cost of feed has been steadily increasing lately and my last credit card statement was almost enough to send me to the emergency room with chest pains!

To summarize, in the past eighteen months or so my daily feed program went from 3 pounds of Enrich, 4 pounds of Senior Active and 1 pound of Outlast to 3 pounds of Enrich, 4 pounds of Senior Active, 2 pounds of Outlast, 8 Ounces of Omega Match oil, natural vitamin E supplement.

After reviewing this feed program it looks like I will be able to replace Enrich, Outlast, Vitamin E and Omega Match oil by using Omega Match Balancer pellets.

Like everything else a big part of the decision is cost so I added everything up:

Current Plan:

Enrich Plus 100 pounds per month, 2 bags = $66

Outlast Gastric Supplement, 60 pounds per month = $58

Vitamin E Supplement = $62 

Omega Match Oil = $140.00

Purina Senior Active 120 pounds per month = $72

Monthly Total Current Feed Plan = $298

New Plan:

Omega Match Ration Balancer Pellets 240 pounds per month, 6 bags = $240

Purina Senior Active 60 pounds per month = $36

Monthly Total New Feed Plan = $276

$22 a month isn’t a heck of a lot of savings but it is something.  The other benefit is a less cluttered feed room because I’m going from three cans of feed down to two and I don’t have to worry about scooping and squirting.

This comes in handy when I have people covering feeds for me when I’m away.

It always pays to review your feed program annually with an independent expert.  If you’ve never had an independent review done you could be saving money and aggravation by switching feeds and losing unnecessary supplements.