Weight a Minute!

I received a call from a customer that had just recently transitioned her farm from a mill mix to Safe Choice.  We had delivered 4 tons of bulk feed to her farm.  She was very upset that after 3 weeks on the feed the bin was almost empty.  She was convinced that the delivery truck had mistakenly only delivered 3 ton of feed.

I  contacted the freight company and our plant, both weight tickets confirmed a little over 4 tons of feed were delivered.  I then went out to visit the farm.

I talked with the farm owner and manager and reviewed the dietary program we had established for the horses.  All of them looked good, and some had put on additional weight in the three weeks on the feed.

A hanging scale, such as this (dirty) one is helpful to hang a bucket from and weigh feed. Note that the scale has been tared for a bucket.

The manager had her notes with the dietary recommendations for each horse, as we had weight taped and body scored all of them.  I then asked the manager to show me the feed cart and measures they were using.

She showed me what she believed to be a 3 pound coffee can.  She said that she would fill it to the top for the horses needing 3 pounds per feeding.  Those only needing two pounds would get the can filled to the second ring.  She said it was always accurate with their old mill mix.

I took the coffee can and filled it with feed.  When I poured it into my scale it weighed 4 pounds.  So in essence the horses were getting about 33% more feed, by weight not volume.   This spread over a few weeks accounted for the missing ton of feed!

A small weight scale is a great investment.  It can help take the guess work out of feeding  and also help you keep your horse healthy!

3 Replies to “Weight a Minute!”

  1. In my experience, an inexpensive hanging luggage scale works great for weighing horse feed and hay bales! Mine cost less than $10. It has a hook for hanging a suitcase that works just as well to hang a bucket or slip through the wire on a bale of hay. It will tare to subtract the weight of a bucket, converts from lbs to kg, and it weighs up to 88 lbs in 0.1 lb increments.

  2. Horses are getting fat with spring grass and Safe Choice Maintainence, too fat! Have cut back on grain; they get 1 1/2 quarts twice a day. Would like recommendation for Nutrena feed that would supply all needed nutrients yet not so much bulk that they would be getting too fat.

    1. Hi Greg

      Thanks for your question! This is a great one and very timely for this season. The option you’re looking for is a diet balancer, otherwise known as a ration balancer.

      Diet balancers, such as Empower Balance, are a concentrated form of all the goodies in a regular feed, with a significantly reduced amount of calories from fiber, fat or starch/sugar. Since the nutrients are concentrated, the nutrient levels may seem alarmingly high. Don’t panic! The feeding rates are significantly lower than a regular feed so what the horse eats is actually very similar.

      Here are some blog posts which may help with additional information:
      When to Feed Ration Balancers: http://www.horsefeedblog.com/2011/01/when-to-feed-ration-balancers/
      Ration Balancer vs. Regular Feeds: http://www.horsefeedblog.com/2012/06/ration-balancers-vs-regular-horse-feeds/
      Feeding the Maintenance Horse: http://www.horsefeedblog.com/2014/03/feeding-the-maintenance-horse/

      I hope this helps; please let us know if you have additional questions!

      All the best
      Megan C.

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