Feeding Wise Affair

Quite a few people have asked what we are feeding Wise Affair. Because she was so starved and her digestive system is rather fragile right now, we started with just grass hay and a very small amount of alfalfa. We have been increasing both the hay and the alfalfa daily. We had to add an extra water bucket in her stall, because she was drinking a bucket every 3-4 hours. She has slowed down some on water in the last day or two, but she’s a hay dunker (every mouthful, every time.. splish splash!!) so she’s always going to go through a lot of water.

Aha!!! Found the carrot!
Aha!!! Found the carrot!

A couple of days ago, I started soaking hay cubes for her and adding a handful of beet pulp. Each day she gets a bit more beet pulp added to it. Yesterday she got a dribble of oil and a small handful of ground flax added. We have also been adding a general vitamin/mineral supplement and salt. All of this will increase gradually over the next little while. But it has to be very slow. It’s been a long time since this mare has seen better quality feed, and there is actually a risk of killing her with concentrated calories. It’s called “Refeeding Syndrome“.

So far, she seems to be doing extremely well. Her manure is normal, and she is getting more cheerful and demanding by the day. There’s been no sign of colic or any metabolic problems.

She is currently living in a box stall and is only going outside for an hour of hand grazing while I clean her stall in the morning. We have no way of turning her out in any of our paddocks that would not allow her access (over the fence) to the mares and foals. We cannot risk her passing either the lice or some other unknown pathogen on to them (not to mention that Wise Affair’s own immune system is likely pretty weak). It’s turning out to be a good thing though, since the poor girl is losing all her winter coat. Which normally is not a problem, but there is absolutely no sign of a spring/summer coat underneath. Just bare skin. She cannot be out in the sun for long, since she’d definitely burn.

It's hard to see in a photo, but the muscle along her spine is completely wasted away. Her ribcage forms a shelf.
It’s hard to see in a photo, but the muscle along her spine is completely wasted away. Her ribcage forms a shelf.
The hair is loose, and peels away when you rub your hand over it
The hair is loose, and peels away when you rub your hand over it
Luckily she has no idea how odd she looks
Luckily she has no idea how odd she looks
Talk about a bad hair day...
Talk about a bad hair day…

Here is Wise Affair in better days…

She was a beauty (and will be again).
She was a beauty (and will be again).

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