Question about sweet chaff (oat husks)????

Discussion in 'Feeding Horses' started by Deb2, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    After Chesters recent bout with sand colic, and subsequent vet visit and drenching, I started including sweet chaff in all the horses night feed to see if that would help prevent further sand colic problems.

    I introduced it slowly over a period of two weeks, and have now built up the amount to a 6 quart scoop (in each feed). I have also reduced, and now eliminated the oaten chaff.

    Yesterday afternoon and today I have noticed Chester and Ziggy (the two geldings) to have evidence of looser poos. Chester has some in his tail, (like he did prior to his colic attack) and Ziggy has a bit of poo stain on his bum, either side of his tail. They are both eating, but look a bit moppy.:(

    My question is, could this be because the sweet chaff is doing its job and shifting the sand (if any) out, or could the increase in sweet chaff be causing the upset tummies????

    I know there was a similar thread a short while ago, about phsillium (sp?) husks and testing the poos for sand. If your getting the sand coming out the other end, is that a good thing because what your feeding is shifting it through, or is it better if your not getting the sand coming out the other end because that means there is none in the first place????? Sounds a bit like the chicken and the end debate really.

    Your thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Deb:)
  2. robbing'charisma

    robbing'charisma Well-known Member

  3. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    It could just be that they are adjusting to the husks - but Id be more inclined the assume something else is going on rather than just the husks causing an irritation.

    I havent experienced any probs with them and Iv been feeding them for approx 6 months now.

    Any chance they have eaten something else? capeweed? it particularily yummy at the moment apprently......and can cause a bit of a irregular bowel movement.

    Are they showing signs of discompfort? or excess wind?

    However - I have seen less than great things come out of the 'sweet chaff factory' - so Id have a realy good investigate on the quality of it.

    Can I ask - do you guys get it a bit oily do you? I mean - are the husks oily?
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2009
  4. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Eoroe, the husks dont appear oily as such, but they do have a sheen to them. I'm guessing this is to settle any dust particles down, and perhaps soften the husks somewhat. I have found no foriegn objects in the three bags that I've purchased.

    Do you think the loose poos could be due to the increase in sweet chaff, and if so, is this because its shifting the nasty sand out? Or do you think the sweet chaff is causing the runny poos. And why only in the two geldings, and not the mare, her filly foal, and another filly (2.5 years old).

    Should I keep feeding it and when I get the opportunity to sample a fresh undamaged poo, I'll wash it in a bucket and see what sand lies in there.

    I think it was Shmoo who feeds bucket loads of the stuff, so I'd love to talk to her about how much is too much and how much is not enough....are you out there Shmoo?
  5. mochaminx

    mochaminx Well-known Member

    Ziggy Ive been feeding sweet chaff for several weeks now, I gradually replaced it 50/50 with my normal white chaff. All the hroses have always readily eatin it, and there have been no apparent problems. However Rahni had a bout of scouring last weekend, I was thinking it must be sand related, but upon picking up every fresh poo of hers out of the paddock the next day ( a FULL 25 litre white bucket full lol) and doing the sand test on the whole damn lot, there was only about 2 Tbspns of sand out of the whole bucket. I was quite pleased with that result, but as well as sweetchaff I also feed tons of hay.
    Like you, Im thinking she might have just eaten a weed or plant that gave her the "s**** for the night.
    I havnt noticed the husks being oily either. Ive actually nibbled on one myself (yes, I do strange things like that *#) ) and it didnt taste at all sweet either, so I dont know why they call it sweetchaff lol.
    Hope your boys are feeling better soon.
  6. beaudacious

    beaudacious Well-known Member

    i might be completely wrong but im guessing you must get yours from somewhere else then? if so, would you happen to have a contact number? im wanting to try some on my horses but would rather steer clear of the coated husks at the moment due to concerns over the quality of the product.
  7. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Good morning everyone.

    This morning little Chester is looking perkier, but Ziggy's bum has more poo smeers either side of it and in the tail. I will book him in for a drench.

    He is not looking pained, and is eating, and I do wonder if since increasing the sweet chaff it is shifting any sand that may be in his gut.

    He may have had sand for a while, who knows???, and hes never had running poos while I've had him. He was fine when I first introduced him to the SC, which I built up to an icecream container per day. Then, when I increased it to two icecream containers per day, by taking out the chaff and replacing with SC, that is when the problem arose.

    I could just stop feeding the SC, but what if it is moving the sand through?

    I wish I knew that if I kept feeding it, it would shift the sand (if any) and then the horse would go back to normal.

    Anyone got a magic crystal ball?

    Any advice????:confused::confused::confused:
  8. mochaminx

    mochaminx Well-known Member

    Well they do say that its only once the sand starts shifting that the horse feels discomfort dont they? As you said, he may have had a belly full of sand for ages and ages, and maybe the SC is moving it along, which is causing a little bit of tummy ache and scouring??
    Ziggy if you take your horses to Oakford Equine Hospital, they will have a listen for sand for free. :)* Maybe try that, if he has got enough sand present to be heard by the vet, then get him drenched etc etc, (ask about using linseed oil instead of paraffin in the drench) then continue with the SC as a preventative measure? Just my thoughts anyway! Sand is always such a bloody thing to deal with :(
  9. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    lol - I do actually buy if from the samew supplier.

    I wont buy the sweetbulk - as I dont like the quality of what goes in that mix,and the way it is stored, but with the Oat husks they are pretty safe. I also keep a VERY close eye on the quality.
    The smell, if has been with musty or mouldy things ect.

    Its still very cheap, and easy for me to get it from here, so I check on the quality very very closely **)
  10. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    ......okay, the continuing saga.....

    I've checked out all of Ziggy's poos in the yard and there is definately sand in them. Quite a bit in some of them!!!! They are of course looser than normal, and I had to clean off his tail and back legs.

    Would you agree that the Sweet chaff is doing its job, and pushing through sand that could have been in his belly for god knows how long.

    Is this the same process you would get if using Phsillium husks? I have never used phsillium husks, but is it normal to get the sand coming through and the mucky legs/tail in the process?

    This is very interesting to me (although I feel for poor Zigs), because if the sweet chaff is removing the sand, this would work out to be cheaper than phsillium husks, more palatable, and an option to use as a preventative too.

    Anyones comments appreciated.
  11. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    Ziggyz I would be getting the vet out.

    Until you know for sure what is happening it is not worth playing around with. If the hrose is not bright and happy and is moving sand it may simply need a pain killer (which the vet can give) but it is a whole heap cheaper to be proactive instead of reactive with colic.
  12. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    I have now had the opportunity to really check out one of Chesters poos now, and wow, theres heaps of sand. I was amazed as he was tubal drenched three time three weeks ago at the time he had colic, so this goes to prove that tuballing does not shift all the sand, and it would appear that the husks are doing a better job of shifting more sand.

    I am watching them both for any signs that they need to go to the vet, and that would be done very swiftly, but they just look a bit moppy, but I wouldn't say pained. I would imagine having sand going through your system would make you feel a bit off, but they are eating and I'll reasses tomorrow morning.

    I do feel excited that the husks have been able to shift the sand, and I wonder if this is a better option to phsillium husks or drenching. Also, you could feed this every day instead of chaff, or as well as chaff, and if this works and is successful, then I will be laughing all the way to the bank.

    Interestingly, my other three who are not running pood were all feed flaked barley, which could have the same effect. The geldings got next to nothing just some chaff to put their minerals etc in. This SC would be something to put the minerals in and you could feed a good quantity to the fatties as well.

    I'll keep you posted, but honestly, you wouldn't believe the sand coming through.:confused:
  13. Shakhaan

    Shakhaan Well-known Member

    Hi ziggyz... I've completely cut out chaff, and am feeding solely sweet chaff now, have been doing so for 2 weeks. Both my boys are getting 4kg of it per day (in 2 feeds), along with their lucerne chaff and lupins. So I'm feeding a lot more than just 2 icecream containers, neither of them have gotten loose in their manure... if anything, their manure is much better! I have noticed they are both a bit quieter... but I put that down to less calories compared to oaten chaff, so they have a little less energy... never a bad thing when you want to save paddocks from getting cut up ;)

    When you drench for sand, they have the runs as the sand comes out... I don't see why husks moving sand wouldn't have a similar effect?
  14. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member much a bag are you paying ?


    ps yes I'm at
  15. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    THanks Shakhaan, I do feel it is having a similar effect as if the horses were drenched....well, Chester was drenched!

    Looks like less sand coming through last night, but still some. It sure makes you wonder how much was in there in the first place?

    I'll be interested to see what the poos are like in the morning, but it looks like the sweet chaff is shifting more than the drenching did!

    Both horses are looking brighter today.**)

    I'll keep you posted.
  16. Pepsea

    Pepsea Gold Member

    is it just oat husks?
    how much is it?
  17. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    I'm paying $15 for a bag that is over 30 kilos. Much cheaper than oaten chaff.

    It seems to have a light oil sprayed over it as its not dusty, but I dont know why they call it sweet chaff, as its not sweet....I tasted it!

    It is really shifting the sand out as you've probally read.
  18. Pepsea

    Pepsea Gold Member

    yer i was wondering why it's called sweet chaff, if it's just oat husks.
    i wonder if we can get it down here, i might ask today when i go buy feed!
  19. ChevalNoire

    ChevalNoire New Member

    Is sweet chaff SweetBulk?

    This all sounds like Sweetbulk ($18 bag)which was developed for horses in times of drought. Not sure of the ingredient list but it appears to be oat husks coated in molasses-ey sort of stuff. It's great for fattening horses up and for keeping 'things' moving through the horse.

    I feed a small amount of Sweetbulk, mainly for the last reason but have to be careful because I have an arab mare who is such a good doer she runs on the smell of an empty chaffbag and she positively bulges when fed this.

    Many people don't like it but fed carefully it seems to be a useful addition to the feedshed.

    That's my 10c worth :}
  20. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    ChevalNoire (nice name, what does it mean?)

    Sweet chaff and sweet bulk are two different products.

    Sweet bulk is as you know coated in molasses. Sweet chaff is not. It is just oat husks, with, I suspect a fine coating of oil to stop the dust factor. It has no feed value, just the shifting sand value. May be benefitial for fatties, as it would give them something to eat without the calories. I have not tested this theory yet, as I'm still in the process of testing the sand shifting theory.

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