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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Weanling feeding

Hi Dr. Getty,
I feed my 5 mo. Nutrena Safe Choice. He gets 5 lbs.
a day in 2 feedings.
The tag says for his size 6-8 lbs a day and when he gets to 600lbs 9-12 lbs a day.
I dont want to feed that much.
When i went to the feed store i saw
Platform Mare&Foal.
For his size he would get 2-4 lbs a day.
At 600lbs he would get 3-6 lbs a day.
It is 1350-1400 cal/lb and 16-19% starch.
Should i switch feeds or is there a better foal feed where i can feed lower amounts.
Thanks so much for your time. Becky

Where are you from? Central NY

Re: Weanling feeding

Hi Becky,

I think that the feeding instructions are way too high. At five months of age, it is often recommended that they get 1 lb per month of age, but this is generally way too much for a youngster.

And, the Platform feed is too high in starch, and you run the risk of osteopathic disorders.

So, I would suggest feeding him all the grass hay and/or pasture he wants, add some alfalfa to his diet (1 flake per day that weighs approximately 4 lbs), and reduce his meal size of the Safe Choice to approximately 1.5 lbs per meal. To this, add a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement designed for growing horses such as Mare/Foal IIP.

I would also have your hay analyzed, if possible, because you want to know how much lysine he's getting. Lysine is an essential amino acid (building block of protein) and without enough of it, he will not be able to adequately build body tissue. This is very important for growth. So, have your hay analyzed locally or contact Equi-Analytical and have them send you a free forage-collecting kit (you don't need the probe them recommend). I recommend getting the second forage test -- the "Equi-Tech" test. If you need help evaluating the results, I can assist you with that.

In the meantime, until you know your lysine levels, consider adding additional lysine.

For example, three pounds of Safe Choice contains 11 grams of lysine (.8%) and he may be getting approximately 20 grams (that's an estimate) from his forage, so you'd want to add 12 more grams of lysine. Pure Lysine is a good choice since you get 4 grams in one small scoop.

Thanks for writing!!

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO