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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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Re: Bran mashes

Hello Danielle,

I'm glad you wrote about this, not only for your horse's sake, but for all my readers'. A weekly diet of something new is asking for colic. I am reminded of a client a few months ago whose horse was fed a weekly bran mash like you described and I warned her about it, but unfortunately her horse colicked that night before she could make changes and it was a fatal episode. She was devastated, as was I.

Whenever something new is fed, whether it be bran or anything else, it needs to be very slowly introduced in order for the hindgut bacteria to adjust. If you feed a bran mash once a week, the bacteria will not have adjusted and will ferment it, producing acid and gas.

So, the answer is to feed consistently -- if your horse needs bran (which most do not) then feed it every day, not just once a week.

But while we're on the subject, wheat bran is very irritating to the horse's digestive lining, which is why some people think it's a laxative. It's not -- the manure gets softer because water is rushing into the intestines in order to counteract the inflammation.

Second, bran (wheat or rice) is very, very high in phosphorus with 10 times more than calcium. So, if it is fed, it needs to be balanced with the calcium in the diet to prevent a variety of problems (typically bones and joints) when too much phosphorus is in the diet.

You can add warm water to your horses current feed, to make it more palatable during the cold weather, but don't add anything new on a once-in-a-while basis.

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

I apologize for posting again right away, but I was reading thru your tips of the month and saw that a bran mash, not consistently fed, is actually dangerous?

I ask because when the temperature changes rapidly day to day, as it sometimes does here in New England (i.e. 30 degrees at night and 45 during the day then a snap to 65 degrees the next day), my barn owner will feed a bran mash in hopes to prevent colic.

So, it's not a good idea??


Where are you from? Bayfield, CO