Help! Hay/Grass alternative for thin 40+ years Shetland

BlinkGG4

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15 April 2014
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Hi there, I'm looking for feeding advice for a very aged Shetland pony. She is believed to be over 40 years old and as you might expect, her teeth are no longer capable of dealing with hay or haylage.

She is currently extremely thin so getting the weight back on is a priority, although she does seem to manage grass without too many problems this is few and far between after the winter months and she refuses to eat hay as an alternative. We are very concerned about her weight (especially given her age), however, she appears to be healthy in all other respects.

Any advice on what we can feed is much appreciated. Any ideas for brands which do finely chopped forage or pure hay cubes/pellets which could replace 100% of the hay ration? Hard feeds to help add the weight back on??

Thanks in advance!
 

splashgirl45

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may be worth getting a vet check to start with so you can rule out any illness and make sure that you don't feed too much too soon as laminitis is always a worry,,........I use allen and page fast fibre. it can be used as a complete hay replacement. you need to add double the amount of water to it and it only takes about a minute to dissolve so easier than sugar beet...my mare is very fussy and loves ityou can add chaff to it, I currently use baileys light chaff because my mare is a good doer so maybe one of the chaffs with oil added would be good..baileys do a chaff called afalfa plus oil which may suit, when my mare lost weight last winter(she wouldn't eat which was most unusual). I contacted a few of the feed companies for advice and they were all helpful but I found allen and page and baileys the most helpful..also I asked for samples which they all sent,
baileys 01371 851269
allen and page 01362 822900 hope this helps, good luck....
 

hoggedmane

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Simple systems - email them and they will advise you what to feed her. All their feeds can be soaked so she can have a good quantity of forage replacement which will be like a mash. Nearly all the horses at my yard are fed it - they look great and a lot are oldies too.
 

BlinkGG4

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I actually already use Allen and Page for my competition mare and find their feed very effective. Just checked out Fast Fibre and it looks very promising, possibly in combination with their weight gain mix - I'll give them a call tomorrow. Will definitely be getting some alfalfa + adding oil to her feed. Haven't had much experience with Simple Systems but I'll have a look. Thanks for the advice everyone!
 
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janietee_5

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17 January 2010
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We feed my 40 year old pony on Fibrebeet and he has done really well this winter. We add a mug of micronised linseed and a balancer of some sort and just increased or decreased the Fibrebeet according to his weight and the weather. We also fed it to our loan horse who badly damaged his TMJ and could not eat hay or haylage for several weeks. I am sure this helped his recovery as he was sent home from the vets with a poor prognosis. He was fed a scoop or two every hour to start with and this seemed to give him the strength to fight the infection. From the 3 months off and poor prognosis he has just done his first dressage test and had a couple of jumping lessons. I would highly recommend Fibrebeet for any horse.
 

maccachic

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Id start introducing boiled barley slowly fibre feeds are all good but they can't always provide sufficient calories.

Will she eat alfalfa hay mixed with normal? Higher in calories and will add in protein as well.

This is a good article: http://******.com/newsletters/14-feeding-the-oldies.html If the link doesn't work google this: 14-feeding-the-oldies.html
 
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Queenbee

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I actually already use Allen and Page for my competition mare and find their feed very effective. Just checked out Fast Fibre and it looks very promising, possibly in combination with their weight gain mix - I'll give them a call tomorrow. Will definitely be getting some alfalfa + adding oil to her feed. Haven't had much experience with Simple Systems but I'll have a look. Thanks for the advice everyone!

For their oldies, if you want to combine it with anything for weight gain look at veteran vitality
 

BlinkGG4

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Hi everyone, thanks for all the great advice :) We've got her on Fast Fibre now as a hay replacement in addition to her hard feed and it seems to be working out so far!
 

STRIKER

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11 April 2014
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Alfalfa is quite stalky so not good for those with teeth problems, also,could cause colic if not chewed enough or would just pass through the system undigested and also cause colic, so would suggest whilst alfalfa hay is good not for one with bad teeth. Bless her. Unless its chaff
 

BlinkGG4

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Thanks, we decided against the Alfalfa in the end for more or less this reason. She's putting on weight now and looking a lot happier so all is good! Feeding Fast Fibre, pony mix and normal apple chaff with oil and garlic supplements. She's managing to get a bit of the spring grass too so that's helping!
 

thatsmygirl

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I use a lot of grass nuts which can be soaked into a mash, no good if laminitic though but fab for weight gain with linseed added.
 

sem9999

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Also Rowan Barabary Red Mash is very good for older animals which need to put weight on, and easy to eat as in mash form.
 
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