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I have fed Scottie various chaffs in the time I have had him, from alfalfa with added oil, to low calorie molasses free options. At the time, I never had a problem with these feeds. Scottie looked good on them and he was happy. But since switching to Honeychop, I have started to notice some key differences.
Oat Straw = Better
Honeychop have plenty of information on their website about the benefits of Oat Straw vs other straw. But they key takeaways are:
- Longer Chewing Time
- More Saliva Produced
- More Palatable
- More Digestible
- Lower in Starch
- Higher in Protein
Whereas many feed companies use cereal (unspecified) straw, Honeychop use only Oat Straw. Since it is lower in starch it is better for horses which can be sharp.
Lot’s of chaffs on the market contain Alfalfa. Now while this can be a great source of protein and a good forage choice for many horses. Some horses shouldn’t be fed it due to health risks.
For reasons we don’t quite understand yet, feeding alfalfa to laminitic ponies or those prone to laminitis can increase the risk of them having a laminitic episode. Which, is a serious health risk!
It is also important to remember that if a horse has too much protein, they get ride of excess protein in their wee, which gives it a really strong ammonia smell. Which, if your horse suffers with respiratory issues, can irritate the airways further.
And finally, some horses find it too rich and don’t digest it too well, leading to very green and runny poo. Which is never a sign of a healthy digestive system!
Palatable & Slimming
Honeychop being oat straw with a bit of molasses is very palatable. I am yet to find a horse who doesn’t like it and I have known a lot of fussy eaters. But despite being very tasty, it is also fairly low in calories at just 8 MJ/kg. Which is very similar to lower calorie options on the market.
Why I feed it
I originally started feeding Scottie Honeychop as I was interested in the use of Oat Straw. Scottie eats very quickly and the main reason I feed chaff is to bulk out his balancer so he doesn’t just inhale it! With oat straw increasing chewing time and saliva production I thought this could only be a bonus!
But since feeding it, I have noticed more benefits. The main being an improvement in his poo now he isn’t having alfalfa. It is no longer regularly green and it’s actually in little droppings rather than really big massive lumps or cowpats! Yes if we get particularly green hay or the grass shoots up we get a slight return to the old poo, but overall it is much better.
It also seems to be the perfect weight for him. He looks in very good condition coming out of winter but has still managed to lose a little bit of weight which he needed!
Interested in trying?
If you are interested in trying Honeychop I am currently running a give away until the end of March to win 2 x 50p off vouchers on any standard size bag of Honeychop. You can find all the details of this here. But we also have a few vouchers left after this give away, so keep your eyes peeled for other ways to get your hands on these vouchers.