Non-medicated Chicken Starter to improve body condition?

I am aware than medicated chicken starter is dangerous to horses, but I am looking to put some weight on a horse that has a tendency to get hot. A neighbor of mine swears that using non-medicated chicken starter revived some rescue horses of hers in the past and even impressed the vet with the outcome, especially for the price. The horse I need to put weight on gets 24-7 pasture access and multiple hay feelings, I don’t want to up her grain anymore, but she needs 100 or so pounds more on her belly, back, and butt. I am considering Manna Pro Non-medicated Organic Chick Starter, it contains 16-19% protein and 5% of both fat and fiber and is a non-GMO product. I will include a link if more details are necessary, my only concern is that the #1 ingredient is corn although I don’t plan on feeding large quantities by any means.

I am just looking to verify I won’t be feeding anything dangerous, I am open to any help and related tips. Thank you in advance.

For clarification, I am NOT replacing her grain. I have had this mare for 8 years and I have always fed her 3lbs of this grain twice daily, but I have had her leased out for 3 years and got her back a little skinnier than I like her. I don’t want to feed her anymore grain than that because she gets hot, especially with a lot of fats. I am confident also once I put this weight on her, that ration will maintain it, as I have used dumor weight builder in the past when she needed it, and the grain was fine to keep it on her after. A $10 of chick starter is cheaper than weight builder, I can tell you that. I have gotten the recommendation for adding chick starter from a woman who has raised many healthy horses, and has a happy and healthy 30yr old appy who would agree she takes good care of her herd. She said to add a handful to my mares grain, and said it has always been her go to. The product I have selected here is usda certified organic and is a non-GMO and non-medicated product, so “chemicals” are not a threat. A complete list of ingredients provided via that link above. None are chemical additives. I am mostly asking if the grains it contains are safe for horses, and if the nutrition is such that will improve her body condition as I am told. Thanks again for any help.

Try rice bran oil, my endurance horses all did well on it and it didn’t make them any hotter:-)

Is an organic chicken feed really cheaper than a decent horse feed??

I can’t imagine a good chick feed being more economical than a good horse feed :confused:

What grain is she eating now, and how much of it? How long have you been trying to put weight on, and has she been gaining any at all?

If it’s been a while and she’s not gaining (enough), have you addressed teeth, ulcers, and parasites?

Okay, everyone is being so tactful. Let me say it then. This is one of the oddest ideas I’ve heard. Don’t waste your money. There’s no magic sauce to weight gain.

  1. Free choice hay. Great hay. Super green and leafy. Yes it will be 2x the times as much per bale as the stemmy first cutting junk hay

  2. Low NSC formulated feed up to 15 lbs daily or whatever the manufacturer recommends. A typical big feed scoop holds 2.5-3 lbs. Weigh it

  3. Added fat. This can be oil, powdered forms like ultimate finish, natural sources like flax or BOSS or straight veggie oil

#1 is absolutely the very most important. You can through bucket loads of feed at a horse but if they are eating crap hay you will not see results

I honestly cringe at some of the “get fat fast” ideas out there …

One “well known breeder” (who shall remain nameless) feeds all/most of her horses pig feed as it is formulated to get pigs to market as quickly as possible, get maximum weight on them as fast as possible and screw the ramifications of doing that to young stock (horses) that are actually intended for a performance career for - oh - the next 15-20 years - instead of being fast tracked to the slaughter house!

Ive got a new mare in here with me now that I would love to get 100-200 lbs on and I already have her on a high fat/low protein combination of 12/12 protein / fat and another product that is 8/32 protein/fat - both equine feeds and nothing else, and she also gets free choice 2nd and 3rd cut - mostly alfalfa - which she is wolfing down daily, but Ive also noticed that she is starting to leave some of her hay so her body is now regulating how much hay she actually needs. She was eating close to 2 bales a day in the beginning and we’re now down to about a bale and a half. She’s on 7-8 lbs of feed a day and I just simply didn’t want to increase that any more with her

Honestly - forego the chicken feed, the calf feed, the pig feed and stick with actual horse feed. Don’t create problems down the road by deviating to feed that was never formulated and developed for horses …

I hear so many bizarre ideas all the time - a local farmer saves on wormers for his horses by dosing his horses with straight turpentine. Another breeder flushes her mare’s uteruses with kerosene if they are a problem to get in foal. Really?! :eek: Is this how far we have progressed in our knowledge??? :frowning:

Another breeder flushes her mare’s uteruses with kerosene if they are a problem to get in foal. (…)[/QUOTE]

Does that light them up?


To the OP : First I would ask a vet to go over your feeding and training program to make sure everything is in order with your horse.

‘‘Being hot/being anxious’’ could mean your horse is lacking in vitamins, minerals or having other physical issues. It is really difficult to have a horse gain weight if anxious.

What about adding oil to the feed or beet pulp?

I usually give the skinny ones horse feed that contains more fat and fiber, with low starch.
Light training is also important for the muscles to develop and for the fat to not only fill up in the belly area.

I would not muck about with feeds meant for animals that a) aren’t meant to be athletes b) don’t compete c) are going to be eaten pretty soon. Aside from the other very valuable comments about hay, teeth, ulcers etc, I can add that I have usually had very good weight gain results from beet pulp and canola oil. Neither of these are expensive at all. Also, if possible, consider multiple feedings vs a couple of big feedings. The fact that the vet was impressed means absolutely nothing IMO. IME most have very limited knowledge of equine nutrition.

NEVER feed a product designed for another species to your horse or pony unless it says on the packaging says you may. It may contain chemicals that were never intended for use in equines.

I once grabbed a bag of Calf Starter by mistake instead of Calf Manna. I ripped it open before I realized it so I couldn’t return it. Since the farmer that boarded my pony had calves I told him to use it for his calves. Instead of doing that he fed it to my 34 year old Cushing’s pony! :eek:

Pony foundered and died within days… Vet thinks the decoquinate in the Calf Starter got him–it was not approved for use in equines. :frowning:

In the old days (in the 1950’s) horsemen used to feed “cow chop” to horses to put on weight. It was pretty finely ground up corn, cobs and all–but you could never do that now because they put so much other “stuff” (medication) in it.

Sounds like a bad idea to me.

What region of the country are you in? We can recomend some horse feeds sold in your region.

Out here in northern California, we have “King Brand Feeds”. They make a product called “20/20”. Its 20% protein, 20% fat - makes a great top dress to add condition.

When I google horses and chicken feed, all I get is stories about horses getting into chicken feed and dying.

I would not give my horse chicken feed.

NSC of this product is probably in the 40% range. Not the product to feed if you do not want a hot horse. Plus, this product is not tagged for horses. If you have an issue, Manna Pro will laugh its’ butt off at you (rightfully so)! This feed may be milled in a mill where medications are used and cross contamination could be an issue. Most horse feeds are milled on separate lines that never use medication.

What are you currently feeding and how much? What is the quality of your hay? Does that product guarantee amino acids?

I wouldn’t take someone’s word on results just because they are a “rescue”.

As someone who buys food for multiple species, I can assure you that a high quality equine feed is less expensive than organic chicken feed, and in my area, even than conventional chick starter.

Feed horse food.

Maybe muscle is needed if you’re noticing it in his belly, back and butt.

Amino acids may help.

Skip the chicken feed. Have you considered Beet pulp? It has more calories then hay without the complications of grain. Add some alfalfa pellets to balance it out. Soaked it.

[QUOTE=pony baloney;7546844]
Maybe muscle is needed if you’re noticing it in his belly, back and butt.

Amino acids may help.[/QUOTE]

Do you have a brand you recommend? That’s where she is looking thin.

She doesn’t find beet pulp palatable, I have tried feeding it in the past, dry and soaked, because I do like it’s advantages. She just won’t eat enough to be worthwhile.

Maybe I’ve missed it, but you’re feeding 3 pounds twice per day of what grain, exactly?

I feed LMF Senior (to horses of all ages), which is a beet pulp based feed that seems very palatable.

Better quality feeds like Triple Crown are going to guarantee amino acids in at least the first three limiting amino acids. Adding a ration balancer can help as well, but none of this advice is worth a hill of beans unless you let us know what feed you are currently feeding as well as hay quality.