PDA

View Full Version : Someone please help... the truth about molasses!?



horseyman
01-02-11, 07:25 PM
Hi,

I keep hearing lots of different things about molasses. What does everyone think!?

PennyJ
01-02-11, 08:53 PM
I had a pony that turned out to be intolerant to molasses, he was a completely different animal once I worked that out and changed his diet to molasses free. Literally an overnight personality transplant.

So I don't feed anything that could possibly contain molasses now.

Is that the sort of thing you mean?
I'm sure there is lots on the subject if you google it.

horseyman
01-02-11, 09:00 PM
How did you work out that he was intolerant to molasses?
I just would like to know what people think about molasses in feeds? With the sugar and all?

PennyJ
01-02-11, 09:11 PM
How did you work out that he was intolerant to molasses?
I just would like to know what people think about molasses in feeds? With the sugar and all?

We found out when another idiot livery decided to put her elderly TB's breakfast out in his field because he hadn't finished it in his stable. Cue 2 native ponies (one known to be sugar intolerant which didn't belong to me) jumping the fences to get to a fine banquet of Build up, molassed sugar beet, alfa a, extra molasses and I can't remember what else. Then there was the mother of all fights and 2 ponies with the most evil expressions on their faces for the rest of the day. A you just dare say "no" to me and I Will Kill You sort of look. That was the point at which the penny dropped... That he might just have a problem with molasses... which would explain why he was nothing like the pony we had gone to see, tried and bought. So, having done a bit of internet research, I stopped feeding him Happy Hoof, and put him on D&H Fibregy instead and hey presto I had back the really nice pony I'd gone to see and bought a few months earlier when I went up the following morning.

Firewell
01-02-11, 09:25 PM
A small amount of molasses is fine, too much is not good as the horses digestive system processes sugar too quickly and can cause upset. Most people don't know but good grass can contain over 20% sugar (hence why rich grass can cause lami if not restricted) so a chaff containing mollasses is not going to make any difference if you feed it at the normal amounts to bulk out concentrates. Even hay has 8-9% sugar.

:)

hollyandivy123
01-02-11, 09:30 PM
i have found that if i feed it to my sweet itch pony, it made it worse.......took him off everything that was molassed and no more itching in the summer:)

PennyJ
01-02-11, 09:47 PM
A small amount of molasses is fine, too much is not good as the horses digestive system processes sugar too quickly and can cause upset. Most people don't know but good grass can contain over 20% sugar (hence why rich grass can cause lami if not restricted) so a chaff containing mollasses is not going to make any difference if you feed it at the normal amounts to bulk out concentrates. Even hay has 8-9% sugar.

:)

Sorry, but bitter experience leads me to disagree with your statement. I wasn't even feeding the happy hoof at the recommended dose and it made a HUGE difference when I took him off it. Equally I found out once I knew about the molasses problem with this pony that he could cope with some molasses in his diet. I could feed some brands of nuts without incident (eg high fibre cubes) whereas others would cause the BAD pony attitude to return. Immediately apparent the following morning (he got fed at night time) when I went up to let him out.

I did however know that grass contains sugar (I have had to deal with laminitis in the past, though not in my own ponies).

touchstone
01-02-11, 09:48 PM
My mare reacts badly to molasses, usually totally hyper and uncontrollable and then tends to develop laminitis.

Years ago all our horses were fed straights and would have very diluted molasses poured on to make them palatable, but they were worked much harder and pasture wasn't as intensively fertilised.

Since I've taken ours barefoot it has been a revelation how important diet is to the healthy hoof and now I avoid sweetened or molassed products like the plague after seeing the difference a sugar free (or as much as possible) diet makes.

horseyman
01-02-11, 10:03 PM
what i don't understand, and having done some internet research is that grass has lots of sugar in. So then why does that make molasses bad if that is just sugar? almost all feed companies use molasses don't they?

PennyJ
01-02-11, 10:27 PM
All I can think of is that molasses is far more concentrated sugar than the sugar which is naturally occuring in say grass or an apple. Not that I am tempted to put this to the test by trying to eat spoonfuls of treacle and see whether what I am guessing is true...

Its the only explanation I could come up with for my boy, I was dreading the spring grass coming through once I worked out what his problem was, but he never went horrible again on it, which rather supports my theory.

SO1
01-02-11, 11:08 PM
i think not all sugars are the same, fructose is the sugar in grass sucrose is the sugar in mollasses so it would be possible to have an intolerance to one but not the other.

AngieandBen
02-02-11, 08:04 AM
Happy Hoof is around 5% sugar Safe and Sound is also 5% sugar, Most chaffs contain some form of molasses.

Some that don't or are very low are Alfa Oil, Top Chop Lite, Dengie hi Fi molasses free, SS Lucie Stalks, and Ruff stuff

TGM
02-02-11, 09:00 AM
Agree basically with what Firewell said above. A small amount of molasses shouldn't cause a problem with a normal horse if the overall sugar content is low. However, if a horse is very sugar intolerant and very prone to laminitis, and is already on a diet where sugars in grass are restricted and hay is soaked to remove excess sugars, then it makes sense to reduce sugars down to the bare minimum and not give feeds with any molasses.

It is worth noting that the presence of molasses alone is not a true indicator of the level of sugars in the feed - you can have low sugar feeds that contain some molasses, and feeds that are actually higher in sugar that contain no molasses (because the sugars can come from other ingredients such as grass products etc). Also people get obsessed with the sugar content and overlook the starch content - starch is also a laminitis trigger and can also make susceptible horses fizzy - so concerned owners should be checking out the starch content as well as the sugar content.

hackinharry
03-02-11, 11:30 PM
One of mine is fed quite a bit of molassed sugarbeet as a cheap, nutritious feed and has no ill effects....

ThePony
04-02-11, 11:53 AM
We don't feed any molassed feeds, hay is soaked, grazing is not evil lush grazing and is strip grazed through the growing period. Managing our mares in this way keeps them pleasant (they are complete witches on any added sugars!!), not fat, helps keep their white line nice and tight and my mares sweetitch is much improved with this management.
All good things so there is no way I would add sugars to their diets!

Lucinda
04-02-11, 01:22 PM
ďSugar" is a metabolite from digestion of many different ingredients. With a horse with insulin issues, itís more critical, but even with them itís not a crucial issue to eliminate all readily available sugar, just most of it.

Molasses isn't bad in itself - it's about half sugar, and the rest is water and minerals.

Molasses is the syrupy residue remaining after the manufacture or refining of sugar. It can be damaging to a horseís teeth and if fed in large quantities, it can cause diarrhea.

Sugar gets a lot of bad press, but is actually a very natural part of the horseís diet. Grass can contain as much as 20-40% sugar. Other sources of dietary sugar include hay (around 10%), apples and carrots (as much as 50%), and Polos (100%).

A 500kg horse grazing summer pasture will consume 10kg of dry matter per day, of which at least 2-2.5kg will be sugars. Fructan in grass is made up of simple sugars, as is starch from cereals, and all forms are broken down to glucose, the simplest sugar, which is used as an energy source for body tissues, from the brain to the muscles. So sugar is an essential element of the diet and easily digested by the horse.

For insulin resistant horses and those prone to laminitis, controlling sugar intake is not the complete answer; rather total carbohydrate intake (sugars, starch, and fructan) should be restricted as part of an overall feed and management programme.

chestnut cob
04-02-11, 02:07 PM
what i don't understand, and having done some internet research is that grass has lots of sugar in. So then why does that make molasses bad if that is just sugar? almost all feed companies use molasses don't they?

AFAIK they use molasses to make the feeds palatable. I recently switched my horse from molassed feeds (I was feeding Dengie Hifi which is molassed) to Simple System feeds (no molasses) and he wasn't impressed at all to start with. SS told me to expect that, as it isn't as tasty as the molassed feeds and might take him a while to get used to. First few days he kicked his dinner on the floor and walked away from it but now he's used to it, he eats as normal.

Look at it this way... grass can cause laminitis because of the sugar. We know this so why would you add even more sugar to the diet by feeding a molassed feed? I've always been under the impression it is better to graze horses on fairly poor grass rather than lush dairy type grass that is full of sugar. I see plenty of posts on here by people who are having to restrict their horse's access to grass, haylage, hay and feed because of the sugars.

horseyman
07-02-11, 04:00 PM
AFAIK they use molasses to make the feeds palatable. I recently switched my horse from molassed feeds (I was feeding Dengie Hifi which is molassed) to Simple System feeds (no molasses) and he wasn't impressed at all to start with. SS told me to expect that, as it isn't as tasty as the molassed feeds and might take him a while to get used to. First few days he kicked his dinner on the floor and walked away from it but now he's used to it, he eats as normal.

Look at it this way... grass can cause laminitis because of the sugar. We know this so why would you add even more sugar to the diet by feeding a molassed feed? I've always been under the impression it is better to graze horses on fairly poor grass rather than lush dairy type grass that is full of sugar. I see plenty of posts on here by people who are having to restrict their horse's access to grass, haylage, hay and feed because of the sugars.

After doing lots more reading, what I don't get is that simple systems base nearly all of their feeds on Alfalfa. They say they do not use molasses as it is not 'natural', when science has already discovered that horses are very efficient at metabolising sugars. But alfalfa is not natural in any way to the horses diet, it is a legume, grown by man, so it is not one of the fibrous plants that the horse evolved to eat. Do you not think this company is a little hypercritical?
As well, I think sugar is being solely blamed for such metabolic issues like laminitis, but when the overall diet should be looked at, not just the sugar intake. Haylage is lower in sugars than hay, but because of its higher feeding value it is not suitable for lamanitics.
I think sugar, molasses in general is being given unfair press, and companies like Simple Systems are clearly not helping!

horseyman
07-02-11, 04:39 PM
Does everyone not think that sugar is getting a really bad time, molasses mainly!?
Sugar is one of the most natural feedstuffs for horses, and molasses being around 60% sugar. The horses central and peripheral nervous system have one fuel, glucose, and where does glucose come from? You guessed, sugar!

Sugar like anything can be detrimental if fed in too large a quantity. It is supposed to be digested by enzymes in the foregut, but when fed it too large an amount and spills to the hind gut where the gut flora are, this can cause problematic issues. Problems can be caused if anything is fed in too large an amount, not just sugar. The human food industry became 'sugar is bad' obsessed, and this has then moved on to the equine market. It is horse owners that create these problems, and then feed companies move in to take advantage.
If a company states that there are no molasses, then another form of sugar syrup is normally used. Just ask one company, who use maltose syrup. Some though do tell the truth, and adding oil instead, this though comes at a more hefty financial price.

Why on earth do a lot of people think that molasses are the route of all evil. When science quite plainly shows us it is not?

The answer!?

Orangehorse
07-02-11, 05:27 PM
I look at it the same as the human GI diet. There are natural sugars in fruit, vegetables, even milk but the minute you add sucrose to things like biscuits, cake, drinks, tinned foods, you are putting an overload into your body. Why is there so much diabetes in "western" populations?

Some horses seem to become "high" when fed on molassed feeds. If nothing else it is adding unnecessary calories. OK if you have a lean TB in hard work, but not for something that is prone to weight gain. Molasses is CHEAP and palatable, which is the same principle of human junk food.

amandap
07-02-11, 05:28 PM
All forages also contain carbohydrates and simpler sugars so adding sugars to feed isn't necessary. Feed companies like molasses because it binds the feeds, cutting down dust etc. and of course horses quickly get a taste for it and demand it as well as eating more or stuff they wouldn't perhaps eat without the sweet coating.
I've heard of hay and other forage being sprayed with mollasses to get horses to eat it. :confused:

Of course horses need sugars but no where near the quantities some horses are stuffed with. On top of the mollassed feeds, polos, fruit, carrots, chocolate and all manor of treats are regularly fed daily so the sugar content in a horses diet can be very high indeed. Who knows what visitors to yards are feeding too...

Horses aren't designed to eat a diet high in easily available sugars or high in feed value so these feeds also upset their digestion especially when forage is inadequate.

horseyman
07-02-11, 05:51 PM
I look at it the same as the human GI diet. There are natural sugars in fruit, vegetables, even milk but the minute you add sucrose to things like biscuits, cake, drinks, tinned foods, you are putting an overload into your body. Why is there so much diabetes in "western" populations?

Some horses seem to become "high" when fed on molassed feeds. If nothing else it is adding unnecessary calories. OK if you have a lean TB in hard work, but not for something that is prone to weight gain. Molasses is CHEAP and palatable, which is the same principle of human junk food.

In my experience, with many horses and ponies, molassed diets have never made the blind bit of difference. And with the percent of molasses added to most feeds, the effect on the calorie intake is next to nothing. Why would it make it ok to feed a 'lean' TB a feed with molasses in but not something that is prone to weight gain?
If you work out the figures, take a normal everyday amateur competition horse. He is fed 2.5Kg of a low-medium energy feed, which contains around 7% sugar (which is roughly the average for most feeds of that level), so he is roughly fed 175g sugar per day, split into 3 feeds, around 58g of sugar per feed! The same horse is turned out in Feb/March, where the grass will contain 10-15% sugar (around 40% in the height of spring), in a day he consumes 15Kg of dry matter, so he has consumed 1500g of sugar! If his turnout is restricted to half a day, so he consumes 750g of sugar plus his three feeds, a further 175g of sugar, a total of 925g of sugar, much much much less than he would get on a full days turnout!!! The figures don't lie, sugar in feeds is not bad, its us as a society that create problems that aren't there!

horseyman
07-02-11, 06:02 PM
All forages also contain carbohydrates and simpler sugars so adding sugars to feed isn't necessary. Feed companies like molasses because it binds the feeds, cutting down dust etc. and of course horses quickly get a taste for it and demand it as well as eating more or stuff they wouldn't perhaps eat without the sweet coating.
I've heard of hay and other forage being sprayed with mollasses to get horses to eat it. :confused:

Of course horses need sugars but no where near the quantities some horses are stuffed with. On top of the mollassed feeds, polos, fruit, carrots, chocolate and all manor of treats are regularly fed daily so the sugar content in a horses diet can be very high indeed. Who knows what visitors to yards are feeding too...

Horses aren't designed to eat a diet high in easily available sugars or high in feed value so these feeds also upset their digestion especially when forage is inadequate.

Forages are made up of Complex Carbohydrates that are fermented in the hind-gut to produce VFA's (Volatile Fatty Acids), a form of energy. Molasses, the simple carbohydrate is digested by enzymes in the foregut, again to turn them into glucose, another form of energy.
Molasses is used in feeds for two main reasons, to reduce the dust factor (no one would want to feed their horses a dusty feed) and to aid palatability. Companies that don't use molasses will use another sugar syrup, and if no sugar syrups are used at all then oil will be used. Oil is great, but, if you are paying £7 for a basic H&P mix that contains 5-8% molasses, and you want that product to be 'sugar syrup free' then if they were to add oil (linseed or soya oil) that product would then become £9. Especially at the minute, most oils are bio-fuels, and the rising fuel prices will have pushed them up.

Most fruits have such a low dry matter content, that if you worked out the amount of sugar consumed then you would have to feed a wheelbarrow full a day to even touch the borders of 'sugar overloading'!

If you see the post before, with the figures working out the percent and grams per day, then sugar in feeds is not harmful at all.
Yes, if we have cases of horses and ponies with insulin resistance then that is another matter, but that is when the vets and the experts from the feed companies come in!

amandap
07-02-11, 06:11 PM
I don't wish to sound rude but my experts are my horses. Horses have no agenda but sadly most humans do. :(
Feed company experts may be good and claim to be objective but they are compromised imo because they are employed by said feed companies.

Mike007
07-02-11, 10:26 PM
I don't wish to sound rude but my experts are my horses. Horses have no agenda but sadly most humans do. :(
Feed company experts may be good and claim to be objective but they are compromised imo because they are employed by said feed companies.

Rather cynical and unfair to the vast majority of feed companies. In fact I regard my horses opinion as far from expert, as given half a chance he would eat everything in the feed room. It does amaze me how little the average horse owner actualy knows about the basics of feeding a horse. In my experience ,most nutritionists seem to spend most of their time fighting a loosing battle trying to stop owners mucking up their horses diet. (If one suplement is good ,giving three must be even better:rolleyes:).Owners latch on to some tiny snippet of unproven theory, and blow it all up out of proportion, while completely ignoring the important issues.

amandap
07-02-11, 10:46 PM
Rather cynical and unfair to the vast majority of feed companies. In fact I regard my horses opinion as far from expert, as given half a chance he would eat everything in the feed room.
Yes cynical I'm afraid. I would prefer to use an independant nutritionist for advice. I do know many owners have had much help from feed company nutritionists btw.
My horses response to the diet I choose for them is my guide and therefore my expert. Mine wouldn't be able to eat much in my feed room as there's nothing much in it, speedibeet might not do them much good though dry.
I'm a huge believer that owners should try and educate themselves. I agree too many supplements etc. etc. is a problem. It's the quick fix thinking rather than looking at and regularly reassessing the whole picture that causes many problems imo.

SmartieBean09
07-02-11, 10:54 PM
Does everyone not think that sugar is getting a really bad time, molasses mainly!?
Sugar is one of the most natural feedstuffs for horses, and molasses being around 60% sugar. The horses central and peripheral nervous system have one fuel, glucose, and where does glucose come from? You guessed, sugar!

Sugar like anything can be detrimental if fed in too large a quantity. It is supposed to be digested by enzymes in the foregut, but when fed it too large an amount and spills to the hind gut where the gut flora are, this can cause problematic issues. Problems can be caused if anything is fed in too large an amount, not just sugar. The human food industry became 'sugar is bad' obsessed, and this has then moved on to the equine market. It is horse owners that create these problems, and then feed companies move in to take advantage.
If a company states that there are no molasses, then another form of sugar syrup is normally used. Just ask one company, who use maltose syrup. Some though do tell the truth, and adding oil instead, this though comes at a more hefty financial price.

Why on earth do a lot of people think that molasses are the route of all evil. When science quite plainly shows us it is not?

The answer!?

Could not agree more!

FairyLights
08-02-11, 07:33 PM
I think molasses has a bad press and people get hysterical about it. For most horses and ponies a little molasses in the feed does no harm and they seem to like the taste.

touchstone
08-02-11, 07:54 PM
what i don't understand, and having done some internet research is that grass has lots of sugar in. So then why does that make molasses bad if that is just sugar? almost all feed companies use molasses don't they?

I think that this is where the problem lies, lots of our horses are on artificially improved pastures that are full of sugars and then we often add a mollassed cereal feed into the equation which can tip some horses over the edge. Horses weren't designed to eat the lush grazing we often have, but were meant to browse high fibre grasses and shrubs etc so when we stick them in a paddock of lovely green grass, then feed a cereal feed coated in molasses it is often just too much and we end up with problems.

I'm a firm believer in relying on as natural a diet as possible (if there is such a thing in today's world!) and include lots of high fibre forage feeds and keep sugars to a minimum - the sugars in grass and hay etc are more than adequate for most horses needs.