By Clair Thunes
Q.In the winter months I feed my senior gelding some soaked beet pulp to help maintain his weight. I know beet pulp can go bad once soaked, but I’m not sure how long I can wait until I feed it. Is it okay to soak it at one meal to feed at the next, which is about 12 hours? Also, what is the correct length of time to soak it before feeding?
A.Beet pulp can be an excellent way to help maintain weight on harder-keeping horses during the winter, when hay or pasture alone aren’t adequate. Beet pulp is what is left after sugar is removed from sugar beets, and it’s a great source of highly digestible fiber that must be fermented in the hindgut. This, combined with its low starch and sugar content and the fact that its energy content is somewhat higher than other forages (although lower than most grains), makes it a good option. In fact, you can feed beet pulp as up to almost half a horse’s daily forage intake.
Dehydrated to prevent mold, beet pulp comes in shreds and pellets. It’s a common and traditional practice to soak beet pulp. However, beet pulp can be fed dry, especially in the shredded form. In fact, a large number of commercial feeds include shredded beet pulp and are fed without soaking. In study researchers have fed up to 33 grams of dried beet pulp per kilogram of body weight per day to adult horses without any negative effects. This being said, I recommend soaking beet pulp prior to feeding because soaked beet pulp is less likely to cause choke. Additionally, anytime we can get extra water into our horses, we should take the opportunity.
Click here to see more...