Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Feeding Elk Grove Milling's Stable Mix


So OK, it seems that I'm answering a lot of email lately. And frankly, I don't mind -- especially if I can be of help. For example, a few of my readers have written to ask about the high price of hay and finding options out there.

In this area, the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains, we are finding that Alfalfa is ranging anywhere between $17 and $20 a bale.

I know, it's insane to think about paying that much. And yes, it does answer as to why more and more horse owners are getting rid of their horses -- cost to feed has gone through the roof!

If you're finding the battle of the soaring feed bill, you might want to consider going to pelleted feeds while hay is so high. I've been feeding Elk Grove Milling's Stable Mix, a pelleted feed, to help save some money yet still feed my horses what they need.

As for the Pros and Cons of pelleted feeds, well pelleted feeds tend to be significantly less dusty than unprocessed grains. This can be an important factor if you are feeding a horse with respiratory problems.

Because pellets are not coated with molasses, as are most textured commercial sweet feeds, they are generally easier to handle in the winter.  And yes, storage is easier than bags and hay in the winter months.

Horses can’t sort ingredients in a pelleted feed. If you have a picky eater that likes to sort all the oats out of his sweet feed and leave the rest, he is likely not getting the nutrition the ration is designed to deliver. 

With a pellet, he has no choice but to eat the whole thing. The unpleasant taste or texture of some ingredients, such as fats and oils, can also be “disguised” in a pelleted ration.

Because pellets are made up of feed ground into particles, they are, in a manner of speaking “pre-chewed.” This makes them a much more digestible choice than whole grains or hay for very young or old horses, or for any horse with a mouth or tooth problem.

Pellets can also be soaked into a mush to be fed to elderly horses that have little or no grinding surfaces left on their teeth.

And yes, some say that because pelleted feeds are compacted and bulky, pellets can carry a slightly increased risk of choke, especially in horses that bolt their feed. But strategies to help address this problem include placing a few large, smooth stones in the feed tub; feeding small amounts often; mixing in some chaff, chopped hay, or soaked beet pulp; and placing some bars across the feed tub, similar to a foal feeder. Or, choose small pellets and spread them out thinly in a large, shallow feed tub to make your horse slow down and work for his meal.

Assessing the quality of a pelleted product can be difficult because the ingredients are compacted and ground.  But with that being said, the manufacturer’s nutritional analysis should provide you with some assurance, but the only way to be sure of the quality of a pelleted ration is to examine it visually for a firm texture, a pleasant smell, no visible signs of mold, weeds, or foreign material, and few fines.

You can also send a sample of the product for a nutritional analysis by a commercial or university laboratory.

I have had real good results with Elk Grove Milling Stable Mix.

According to Elk Grove Milling their pelleted feed "provides your horse with a mixture of different grain hays and alfalfa for a diverse nutrient profile. Stable Mix also contains almond hulls a form of super fiber which provide more calories to your horse than hay, but is a safer form than grains. For that extra glow in your horse’s coat Stable Mix includes rice bran a source of essential fatty acids. Unlike hay, Stable MixTM comes with all the necessary vitamins and minerals to insure that all of your horse’s nutritional needs are met. Elk Grove Milling uses Zinpro Performance Minerals."

Stable MixTM:
  • No corn or molasses
  • Certified weed free
  • Zinpro 4-plex EQ Vitamin
  • Pelleted, no waste
  • Available in bags, barrels and bulk
  • Vitamin A, IU/lb 2500
  • Vitamin D, IU/lb 500
  • Vitamin E, IU/lb 20

Lately, because of the high price of hay, I've seen more and more horse owners feed Stable Mix and really place their trust in Elk Grove Milling.

From talking to people in Elk Grove who know him, Elk Grove Milling owner, Bob Lent is a stand up guy who as his website says "strives daily to produce a top quality and consistent product that exceeds other horse feed manufacturers."

Elk Grove Milling's mission statement says that they are in business to manufacture and distribute a high quality horse, cattle, goat, sheep, mule and rabbit pellet feed which provide 100% of your animals' daily requirement of vitamins and minerals in a convenient pelleted feed that your animals will love.

Elk Grove Milling is located about 45 minutes away in Elk Grove, California, but I find many feed stores in my area carry their feed. According to my Vet, it is true that their products are recommended by a number of veterinarians.

While their products are available for purchase in bulk feed tanks (8, 10 and 12 Tons), I buy the 250 pound barrels which I find are easy to manage.

Elk Grove Milling has been producing high quality complete animal feeds since 1982. I like their product and know that I can either feed it alone or supplement it with hay or cubes as I have in the past.

As for my older horses, I find that they eat better -- and do better on the overall when they are on Senior Stable Mix with glucosamine and chondroitin.

While pelleted feeds don’t always exude the tempting aroma of most molasses-laced sweet feeds, textured feeds, they more than make up for that in terms of convenience and digestibility and price.

So yes, there are a lot of advantages and only a few disadvantages as I can see it -- though I still supplement my horses feed with hay.

But frankly, with the results that I've been seeing with feeding Stable Mix pelleted feed, I might be feeding their product to my horses even after hay prices come down from the sky high prices they are today. If they ever do.

Tom Correa


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