Monthly Archives: November 2011

  • Omega Fields' Canine Supplement FAQs

    When out and about at dog events, I carry samples of Omega Fields Omega Canine Shine® and Omega Nuggets. I get plenty of questions about these products, so I asked the folks at Omega Fields to answer the most frequently asked questions. Read on for the FAQs and their answers.
    Don’t my dogs get all the nutrition they need from their food?
     
    No, not usually. In fact, a lack of sufficient Omega-3 fats in many dog foods can lead to inflammation-type diseases: arthritis, cancer, heart trouble, atopy (itching) and many other degenerative diseases. Please read on and see the additional detailed information about dog food at the end of this article*.
     
    What’s the difference between Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets? How much should I give to my dog every day? Do I need to give them both?
     
    Each of these products is enriched with Omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants to help maintain the health and performance of your dog. The individual formulas and forms differ a bit. The bottom line is that Omega Canine Shine is a much more concentrated supplement while Omega Nuggets are a most convenient and enjoyable way people have found to “treat” their dogs with the benefits of Omega-3 and fiber. Both products provide dogs the full spectrum of Omega-3s available for optimum health, including the Omega-3 naturally found in flaxseed and the Omega-3 naturally found in fish oil. The details are shown below.
     
    Omega Canine Shine Supplement:
    Omega Canine Shine's base of stabilized, ground flaxseed is enhanced with a high percentage of fish oil, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is the best supplement choice to boost a dog's diet with short-chain Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 from the flax and grains, long-chain Omega-3 from the fish oil, high levels of four all-natural antioxidants, and a strong blend of 17 vitamins and minerals (especially rich in magnesium). Omega Canine Shine is easily top dressed over your dog's food. Because of its high oil content, it sticks quite readily to the dog food bits.
     
    Each one-teaspoon serving of Omega Canine Shine (fed at the rate of 1 tsp for every 20 lb dog weight) contains the following Omegas:
    726 mg - Omega-3 (Alpha Linolenic Acid - ALA)
    150 mg - Omega-3 (Docosahexaenoic Acid - DHA)
    30 mg - Omega-3 (Eicosapentaenoic Acid - EPA)
    221 mg - Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid - LA)
    214 mg - Omega-9 (Fatty Acid)
     
    Omega Nuggets Treat/Supplement:
    Omega Nuggets are a tasty and nutritious Omega-3 treat/supplement for dogs in all life stages. The Omega Nuggets base of stabilized, ground flaxseed is enhanced with fish oil, plant-based antioxidants, and cranberry fiber for urinary tract health. They are the best treat choice to boost a dog's diet with both short-chain Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 from the flax and grains, long chain Omega-3 from fish oil, high levels of five all-natural antioxidants, and cranberry fiber.
     
    Omega Nuggets are convenient and fun to give your dog -- and dogs love them! Feed as desired while training, working, or playing with your dog - or as an anytime treat. Feed the RECOMMENDED AMOUNT of two treats for every ten pounds of dog weight when using as an Omega-3/Antioxidant supplement. Omega Nuggets Omega-3-rich dog treats are also a fun and effective way to supplement your dog with Omega-3.
     
    Each serving of two Omega Nuggets treats (fed at the supplement rate of two treats for every 10 lb dog weight) contains the following Omegas:
    428 mg - Total Omega-3 - (including Alpha Linolenic Acid - ALA, Docosahexaenoic Acid - DHA, and Eicosapentaenoic Acid - EPA)
    198 mg - Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid - LA)
    198 mg - Omega-9 (Fatty Acid)
     
    Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets provide the correct ratio of essential fatty acids and synergistic antioxidants to promote visibly healthier skin and coat. Improved learning and memory capabilities make training easier. Greater agility, keen eyesight, and approachability will boost performance. Additionally, both products may reduce stress, increase longevity, boost the immune system, and aid urinary tract health -- helping to create healthy, happy, hardy dogs.
     
    Can I give Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets to my cat, or do you have a similar product for cats?
     
    Currently we do not offer specific feline products but please continue reading for product recommendations for your cats. Although we market Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets for dogs, they really work quite beautifully on cats as well. They would be excellent choices to boost your cat's diet with both short-chain Omega-3 (LNA) from ground flax, long-chain Omega-3 (EPA & DHA) from fish oil, and high levels of four all-natural antioxidants.
     
    The dosage for Omega Canine Shine supplement is 1/2 teaspoon for every 10 lbs of cat weight, so you would only need a very little bit of a sprinkle over your cat's food. The recommended amount of Omega Nuggets treats is 2 per day for every 10 lbs of cat weight. Both are very rich in plant and fish-oil based Omega-3's, so your cat is getting the full complement of Omega-3's 6’s and 9’s. Plus the extra plant and vitamin-based antioxidants support optimal health.
     
    Omega Canine Shine can turn your regular cat food into a premium cat food, and Omega Nuggets may become your cat’s favorite treat!

    Do you have products for other animals? What about people?

     
    Omega Fields takes pride in providing premium stabilized ground flax, Omega-3-rich products that improve health and longevity for: People (Mega Omega and Simply Omega-3 supplements), Horses (Omega Horseshine, Omega Antioxidant, Omega GRANDE, Omega Nibblers treats, and Omega Stabilized Rice Bran), Dogs (Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets treats), and Chickens (Omega Ultra Egg). Plus, Flies Be Gone fly traps (NO toxins, NO poisons, NO insecticides) greatly reduce fly health issues and nuisance factors for people and all animals. Find special offers and more information on these products at http://www.omegafields.com/all-category.
     
    How do the Omega-3s in Omega Fields products help reduce inflammation in dogs?
     
    The membrane, or outer coating, of every one of the billions of cells in the dog's body is unusually rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, Omega-3 essential fatty acids are the structural fat that makes up this membrane and plays a vital role in how cells function. To understand how Omega Canine Shine (as a rich source of stabilized Omega-3 essential fatty acids) helps improve a dog's quality of life, let’s take a look at how cells behave when they are aging and/or damaged by trauma such as skin conditions, allergic reactions, injury, surgery, or disease. When a cell is irritated or damaged, or when it begins to age, its membranes break down. As a result, compounds contained within the cell walls are released into the cell matrix. Some of these substances, such as histamine, give rise to inflammation and associated pain.
     
    Inflammation is a dog's natural response to skin conditions, allergic reactions, injury, surgery, or disease. Inflammation is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms: redness, intense itching, swelling, heat and moderate to severe discomfort. When skin becomes inflamed, your dog may experience any or all of these symptoms. With skin inflammation, extreme scratching and itching may cause the hair to be rubbed off, exposing sore, broken skin.
     
    Researchers have found that "inflammation" in dogs has similar underlying factors: a decrease in cell stability leading to membrane damage, and subsequent release of compounds that promote damage, spasm and inflammation. The powerful Omega-3 essential fatty acids in Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets work by stabilizing the cell membranes, promoting healing of existing cellular damage and helping to prevent further damage. On a practical level, this means quality of life is improved, and you will see your dog experiencing freedom from the allergic reactions of scratching and itching.
     
    Note from Jenny: Omega Fields products worked miracles for my dog Cayenne, who was rescued from the Tennessee wilderness as a feral puppy with a very compromised immune system. She came to me with numerous problems, including severe allergies and itching that inflamed her skin and caused her to lose patches of hair. Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets have helped eliminate her itching and supported her coat to grow back silky and plush.
     
    How much does it cost (on average) to give my dog Omega Fields products?
     
    Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets are very smart buys! There are approximately 200 one-teaspoon servings of Omega Canine Shine in a one-pound pouch and 96 treats in a 12 oz pouch of Omega Nuggets! See ordering information at http://www.omegafields.com/canine-products.html and receive $2 off your order when you enter the code JP2011.
     
    How long will it take to see a difference after I begin feeding Omega Fields products to my dog?
     
    You can usually expect to see results within four weeks. It sometimes happens sooner but, since every dog has a different metabolism, we usually are comfortable suggesting a minimum of one month.
     
    Let's take a very basic look at why Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets (as super rich sources of Omega-3) have such a positive effect on the overall health of your dog's body. As mentioned earlier, the outer membrane of every one of the billions of cells in the dog's body is unusually rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, Omega-3 essential fatty acids are the main structural fat that makes up this membrane. Consequently, they play a vital role in how cells function.
     
    Omega-3 essential fatty acids are the first fats utilized by the body. Therefore, when the cell's membrane is healthy it can let in all the good nutrition for the cell, as well as eliminate all the toxins which will be carried out of the cell and removed by the bowels. It is really quite simple: Healthy cells = Healthy body!
     
    Since the coat/skin is by far the largest organ on the animal, it will be the first to show the effects of healthy cells with a beautiful, shiny, full, richly colored coat and healthy skin. Omega-3 is effective as a powerful anti-inflammatory, so if you have dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia, you should notice them have more free range of movement within a one month period.
     
    What do I do with the Canine Shine “powder”? How do I feed it to my dog?
     
    Omega Canine Shine is in a powder form that is very palatable and can be conveniently sprinkled directly on your dog's normal food. In fact, in taste tests completed at Ontario Nutri Labs, four out of five dogs actually preferred food sprinkled with Omega Canine Shine over food without it!
     
    Do Omega Fields products meet AAFCO standards? 
     
    All Omega Fields' stabilized ground flax products meet and exceed AAFCO standards: 
     
    * Our Gold Standard Quality Program begins with the selection of the highest quality flaxseed to protect Omega-3 integrity and ensure palatability. Careful selection eliminates damaged seeds and minimizes microbial contamination.
    * A natural, proprietary processing treatment further ensures that our products have an all-natural, non-GMO, 99.9% pure, stable, fortified flaxseed composition as a rich source of Omega-3 in the diet. This mild treatment provides long-term stability and palatability, boosts metabolizable energy, and inactivates growth inhibitors typically found in whole grains. Note: The process is all natural, no chemicals are added, and the ground flax is kosher certified. Stabilization consists of how we handle and process the seed. The finished stabilized ground flaxseed is a raw, whole food with full nutritional value.
     
    * Flaxseed is purchased from producers in colder, northern climates. Because of the shorter, intense growing season, the flaxseed from these areas contains a higher percentage of Omega-3 than other flaxseeds.

    * The ENRECO® (our parent company) / Omega Fields® manufacturing facility is American Institute of Baking (AIB) inspected to the highest GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and food safety standards.   AIB is an inspection program for food-grade manufacturing plants that establishes and recognizes a standard for consistency in food safety. ENRECO® / Omega Fields® is proud to have earned an AIB “SUPERIOR” rating for the last four years in a row.

    Do Omega Fields products contain any GMO ingredients? 
     
    As part of our company’s standard operating procedure, we do not purchase any GMO flaxseed or ingredients. Our AIB inspected, food-grade manufacturing plant is GMO free. Additionally, Omega Fields’ products do not contain artificial preservatives. Omega Fields is very proud that all of our manufactured products are “Made in the U.S.A.”.
     
    Is Omega Canine Shine recommended for pregnant dogs?
     
    Omega Canine Shine is recommended as a safe supplement for pregnant dogs. During pregnancy the dog's body becomes deficient in Omega-3 because fast-growing brains, eyes, and organs of her puppies utilize most of the available Omega-3. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are necessary for normal growth and development and cannot be manufactured in the body. Sufficient amounts of Omega-3 must be added to the pregnant dog's diet. During pregnancy and lactation the recommended daily serving size for the mother should be increased two or three times.

    After the puppies are born and eating solid food, they should also be given Omega-3. Adjust the amount according to the puppy’s weight. They only need a little sprinkle.

     
    Does Omega Fields pay you (Jenny) to say these things?
     
    Note from Jenny: Omega Fields provided me detailed information about their products. They don’t pay me in cash, but rather pay me in Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets. So you know I really believe in these wonderful products! I have seen the amazing effects on my dogs and have now begun giving them to my cat too.
     
     
    *Omega Fatty Acids - What’s the Right Amount?
     
    How much Omega-3 is enough?
    And how much Omega-6 is too much for your dog?
     
    Let’s get some definitions out of the way first. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are called "Essential" Fatty Acids. Because they are not able to be produced by animals it is essential that they be added to a dog’s diet. Omega-3 corrects many dry skin problems and has been reported to decrease arthritic stiffness. People have reported that it gives them and their dogs more energy.
     
    Omega-3 and Omega-6 sources
    Omega-3 comes from fish, flaxseed and from the meat of animals that have lived on grass and leaves. Omega-6fatty acids come from corn and from the meat of animals that have lived mostly on corn.
     
    Omega-3 and Omega-6 compete with each other in the metabolic machinery of mammals. Excess levels of Omega-6 lead to inflammation-type diseases: arthritis, cancer, heart trouble, atopy (itching) and many other degenerative diseases.  Because the body uses the same pathways to metabolize both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids and since too much Omega-6 inhibits the metabolism of Omega-3, finding the ideal ratio of the two types of fatty acids is important.
     
    According to the book, The Omega Plan, by Dr. Artemis Simopoulus (1998, Harper Collins), in the last 100 years the amount of Omega-3 in humans’ and pets’ diets has decreased 80%, whereas the Omega-6 amount has increased 300%.
     
    Eating a balanced diet is key!
    Dr. Simopoulus has found that eating a balanced diet, including the right fats, is the key to good health and longevity for animals and humans. Getting enough Omega-3 fats is key, she says.
     
     
    Recommended ratio
    Based on research with dogs, canine product researcher, Dr. Greg Reinhart ("The Cutting Edge of Dog Food Technology", Gregory Reinhart, Ph.D. and Daniel P. Carey, DVM, www.GoodDogMagazine.com/articles/) recommends a ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 ranging between 5 to 1 and 10 to 1.  Researcher Dr. Doug Bibus of the University of Minnesota ("Metabolism of a-Linolenic Acid from Flaxseed in Dogs", Bibus D, Stitt P., 1998) completed a fatty acid study with dogs. He suggests a lower ratio: between 2 to 1 and 4 to 1. If you use the 5 to 1 ratio as a middle value, this means that dog food that contains 1% Omega-6 should contain 0.2% of Omega-3. Looking at all of the acceptable ratios, you should find somewhere between 2 and 10 times as much Omega-6 as Omega-3 in the food.
     
    Pet food labels – are you confused yet?
    Most Super-Premium pet foods have about 2% to 3% of Omega-6 and thus should contain 0.4% to 0.6% of Omega-3.Very few pet food labels will tell you the exact level of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Some companies we checked didn’t have the data available (shame!). That means you have to guess.
     
    You can estimate the fatty acid content. If the dominating ingredients are corn or corn germ and poultry fat or vegetable oil, you can be sure that the dog food contains mostly Omega-6. Corn oil has a 60 to 1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, and poultry fat has a 20 to l ratio. Those foods need to be balanced out.
     
    Balancing act
    To easily provide a more recommended fatty acid ratio to help balance out your dog’s food, you can supplement the food with Omega Canine Shine® - 1 teaspoon for every 20 lb dog weight. Beware of lipid (fat) supplements, as many of them are loaded with Omega-6 and not very much Omega-3. Better to stick with the Omega-3-rich, whole ground flaxseed and refined, medicinal-grade fish oil supplement - Omega Canine Shine®. Plus, Omega Nuggetsdog treats are a fun andconvenient Omega-3/antioxidant treat you can feel good about giving your dog!

  • Of Geese and Men

    Written By Barbara O'Brien

    Regular readers of my column know that my husband Kevin really loves his animals. The horses, sheep, goats, ducks, cats, and dogs all thrive under his watchful eye and tender care. He calls them by name and they respond eagerly. The horses hope for the apple treats in his pocket, the goats and sheep hope for the pen gate to swing open, the chickens and ducks hope for some kitchen scraps, the cats hope for an early dinner, the Border Collie and the German Shepherd hope for a stick to be tossed, and the Aussie hopes for the magic word: “Sheep.” And they all hope that Kevin can be convinced to turn their hopes into reality.

    So it’s no surprise that the latest additions to the farm have fallen for Kevin.

    A few months ago we were asked to provide some Canada Geese for a commercial. They had to walk back and forth across a golf course putting green and look as destructive as possible.
    I located a breeder in the SE corner of Minnesota. Kevin and I drove down to buy the geese. We pulled into a beautifully kept farm with a century old barn that gleamed in the late afternoon sun. The elderly owner and his son came out to greet us. The geese, over one hundred of them, were in a penned area that spanned two acres and had a big pond in the middle. As soon as they saw the owner many of the geese ran over to him with beaks open and heads bowing up and down. The owner spoke quietly to them and they followed him around. The owner and his son selected two pairs of geese, caught them, and loaded them into the crates in the back of our van.
    Everything was done with great gentleness and patience and I was impressed with how tame the geese were. The owner and his son had taken great pains not to stress the birds and they seemed to respond by staying calm and undisturbed.
    The geese did well in the commercial. We fenced off the perimeter of the shot and used corn to keep the geese located in one place. Gently, we encouraged them to walk where needed for the shot. Their wings had been clipped shortly after hatching, so they were unable to fly and we did not have to worry about losing them. Hand-raised and bred from a long line of hatchery Canada Geese, they would not have fared very well in the wild.
    After the commercial was over Kevin and I took them home to our farm. We turned them into a pen to keep them safe and help them understand that this was their new home. Kevin spoke gently to them as he fed them. “This is a good place,” he told them. “We have corn for you and there is plenty of grass to eat. You can make friends with the ducks…I think you will like it here.”
    The four geese were promptly given names by my sons that honored their country of origin: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, and Nova Scotia. They are impressive creatures with gray backs, long black necks, and thoughtful but sharp dark eyes.
    Since I usually do the chicken chores, I was the one who fed them and filled their water. They soon learned to defend themselves from the chickens who tried to steal their corn. The geese always regarded me with suspicion. They eyed me cautiously as they came up to drink and made certain not to get too close to me.
    But all that changed one day when Kevin came to help me. They made a bee line to him and stood about only a foot or two away. “Why, hello, geese,” he said in a friendly tone. “How are you ladies and gentleman today?” The lead goose nodded his head up and down and bowed low for a moment and back up again. Kevin mirrored the goose, and then the goose did it again. “Well, hello,” Kevin said again. The other geese also waggled their heads up and down to greet Kevin. He laughed. “Look,” he said to me. “They like me.”
    “I don’t know why they should,” I replied, a little put out. “I’m the one who feeds them.” Kevin laughed again. “Maybe you don’t know how to talk to them like I do,” he said teasingly.
    After a few days we let them out of the pen so they could walk the farmyard and eat all of the bugs and grass they wanted. They stayed pretty close to the barns and didn’t venture up near the farmhouse.
    The next morning Kevin was near the farmhouse working oncanada-geese4152 copy.jpg the tractor when he heard the loud honk of a Canada goose. All four had made their way up from the barn and were standing behind him bowing and waggling their heads. He greeted them, and then tried to shoo them away. But no, they had decided that he was their leader and that was that. Whenever Kevin went outside they would meet him and watch patiently while he completed whatever it was he working on. Even when Kevin walked out to check the fields, the four geese marched happily along behind him.
    A few weeks ago I was the photographer on a large fashion shoot. My farm was the location for the shoot. There were models, stylists, hair and makeup people, and a large crew. Our geese, I assumed, would keep their distance from the visitors and commotion, not to mention the six Irish wolfhounds we were using in the shot.
    cangeese1633.jpgGuess again. While Kevin helped to set up the lights, the geese were by his side. When any female member of the crew tried to approach them, the geese quickly backed away, feathers ruffled and wings outstretched. But they came right up to Cowboy, our digital tech, when he bent down to snap their picture.
    It was then that I remembered that the geese had been raised by quiet gentle men who were careful not to upset them. Their affection for Kevin and preference for men over women made sense to me.
    Our Canada Geese still do not think much of me. They will come a lot closer to me now that some time has passed and they recognize me as the giver of things good, corn included. But it is Kevin they adore. As I write this column, I can see the four of them clustered just outside the open window of our farmhouse. They are waiting for Kevin to come out. Every so often the lead goose honks loudly to remind Kevin that his geese are waiting for him.

  • Equine Carbohydrate Disorders Part 2: Understanding the Terminology

    Written By Dr. Kris Hiney
    Last month we began a new series looking at carbohydrates commonly fed to horses, and the different forms they come in. We discussed the differences between simple sugars and polysaccharides and how the bonds which join these sugars have direct implications on how they are digested in the equine. We also discussed a few carbohydrates in particular in which many horse owners have particular interest, including fructans, which may carry health risks, and fructooligosaccharides, which can be used as digestive aids. In the following article I will attempt to define the wide array of terminology that one finds in equine nutrition, such as crude fiber, neutral detergent fibers, and non-structural carbohydrates, among others.
    Horses' diets primarily consist of plants which are largely made up of carbohydrates. Certainly plants also contain protein, lipids, vitamins and minerals, as well as water, but their primary composition is carbohydrates. If we use the carbohydrate definitions from last month, we know that the cell wall of plants is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin (which is indigestible by horses), beta glucans, gums and pectins. Inside the cell wall we find the more digestible cell contents which contain the simple sugars, starches, oligosaccharides and fructans. Often horse owners need to know what percentage of these compounds appear in a particular feedstuff. We use a variety of analytical methods to partition these carbohydrates into groups.
    Crude Fiber
    The most commonly used descriptor of carbohydrates on feed tags is usually crude fiber. Crude fiber content of a feed is determined using proximate analysis or the Weende system. Crude fiber is the residue remaining after subtracting water, lipids, proteins and the nitrogen-free extract from the feed. Nitrogen-free extract is said to represent mainly sugars and starches.   It uses a chemical method of solubilizing the feed using acids and bases. One of the problems in using crude fiber as a descriptor is that any lignin, cellulose or hemicellulose which is solubilized in the process is lost and appears in the nitrogen-free extract value for the feed. Thus, crude fiber values may actually underestimate the fiber value of the feed, and over estimate the nitrogen-free extract portion.
    NDF and ADF
    The Van Soest system of analysis improves on simple values of crude fiber, by separating out different fiber fractions into neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber. These are the most common values which are reported if you have a forage analyzed. Unfortunately this method is most applicable to the value of feedstuffs for ruminants, rather than horses. Regardless, it still does offer the horse owner some important information. The neutral detergent fiber of a feed contains hemicelluloses, cellulose and lignin, although some soluble hemi-cellulose may escape into solution.    It does not provide information about fructans, pectins, gums, or beta glucans which are quite readily fermented by the equine digestive tract. Acid detergent fiber represents the lignin and cellulose content of the feed, as the hemicelluloses have been removed. The amount of hemi-cellulose in a feed, which is easily fermented by horses as well, is represented by the difference in value of the NDF and ADF value for the feed.
    Total Dietary Fiber
    Total dietary fiber is more frequently used in human nutrition, but may actually offer better information for species which are hind gut fermentors, as is the horse. Total dietary fiber combines many plant values together, and essentially represents the portion of the plant that resists enzymatic digestion which takes place in the small intestine. This includes the traditional fiber components of hemi-cellulose, cellulose and lignin, but also includes pectins, oligosaccharides, mucilages, gums, etc. which are often referred to as soluble fibers in human nutrition. Thus this method recovers more of the true fiber portion of the feed which is susceptible to fermentation in the horse and contributes to their energy supply. Unfortunately this method is not commonly used in commercial feed testing laboratories which serve the animal industry.
    Non-Fiber Carbohydrates (NFC)
    Now the definitions are going to start getting a little trickier, and the horse owner may encounter many different acronyms. Non-fiber carbohydrates, or NFC, represent the carbohydrates which are not in the cell wall and are not recovered when doing an NDF feed analysis.    The NFC is what remains after subtracting the NDF, protein, fat and ash. It represents the sugars, starches, fructans, galactans, pectins, beta glucans and organic acids. NFC is determined via a mathematical procedure and not a chemical analysis. You may also see values reported as NSC, which stands for non-structural carbohydrates. These values are actually determined chemically and differ from NFC in that NFC values may also include pectins and gums which will not appear when analyzed for NSC.
    WSC
    Confused? Let’s add some more letters. Water soluble carbohydrates are also used in equine nutrition to determine the most easily digested carbohydrate portion. The monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides and some polysaccharides appear in this portion of feed separation. Compared to the NSC value for feeds, it would equal the WSC portion added to the starch content of the feed. Starch content of feed can also be analyzed separately as well.
    Finally, some equine specialists have suggested that carbohydrates need to be redefined in terms of horse nutrition. As they are hind gut fermentors, they handle carbohydrates much differently than do ruminants. Certainly, they also get much more use of cell wall components than do simple monogastrics. Many of the particular disorders found related to carbohydrate digestion in the horse may require us to look differently at feeds than is needed in other species. One of the suggested systems created by Rhonda Hoffman (currently of Middle Tennessee State University) is to separate equine carbohydrates into hydrolysable carbohydrates (CHO-H) subject to enzymatic digestion, and fermentable carbohydrates (CHO-F) which undergo fermentation in the hind gut. The fermentable carbohydrate fraction can further be defined as either rapidly fermentable carbohydrates (CHO-FR) or slowly fermentable (CHO-FS). Slowly fermentable carbohydrates would include those seen in NDF values, with the indigestible lignin portion removed from the value. The rapidly fermentable carbohydrates, whose presence can increase the energy content of a feed, include the oligosaccharides, fructans, beta glucans and pectins. Feeds higher in rapidly fermentable carbohydrates can offer more calories to the horse. Alternatively, some horse owners may need to be aware of the fructan content of feeds or forages in horses more prone to developing laminitis.
    So what values do you need to know and why should you care?
    In general, crude fiber values are listed on most feed tags. Typically the lower the crude fiber value, the higher the energy density of the feed. This is not true of feeds which are designed to have higher fat values, and may include fibers to provide a healthier type of feed for the horse. Owners who have horses with insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, as well as PSSM horses, should try and choose feeds which are lower in the soluble carbohydrates such as sugars and starches. However, these values are not always provided on feed tags. Owners may also select away from forages which may be higher in sugars and starches as well for these particular types of horses with demonstrated metabolic disorders.
    Next month, we delve more deeply into particular carbohydrate disorders seen in horses.

  • The Chicken Revolution

    Written By Don Schrider

    There is a revolution happening all across the backyards of America; a revolution of hen keeping has found its renaissance. If you are reading this newsletter, then perhaps you are a revolutionary, a patriot of local, sustainable cuisine, a libertarian of food independence, a builder of a new food system, and an independent thinker. If so, you are part of a growing group of people who care about the nutritional value of the food they consume and the impact it has on the environment and society. And maybe, just maybe, you have found that keeping chickens is just outright fun.
    Omega Fields has asked me to write a bi-monthly article for you. I’d like to consider this as more of a discussion, amongst we revolutionaries, and invite you to ask questions and share your insights. All topics regarding chickens are open. So send you comments to me at . To start this series, I’d like to focus on getting the flock in shape for the coming winter.[email protected]
    Fall is the time of year when leaves turn red, yellow, and orange and fall from the trees. It is also the time of year that our best egg layers drop their feathers and produce the new ones that will protect their bodies all winter long. Feathers are an important part of the chicken — they help shed rain and snow, protect the birds from cool breezes, and trap body heat to help keep the birds warm all winter long. Feathers need to last an entire year, so the value of their durability, flexibility, and quality are much more than cosmetic for the home flock.
    So what does it take to produce quality feathers? Don’t commercial feeds contain all the ingredients needed to produce and maintain good feathers? The answer to the second question is “No.” Commercial poultry feed has been developed to supply just the bare minimum of expensive nutrients needed to keep a hen in top laying condition – no extra expense has been considered and no consideration has been made in its formulation for the production of high-quality feathers. As a revolutionary you need to understand that feed formulation has economics as its guiding principle.
    Feathers are comprised of many tiny, finger-like fibers, hooked at their ends, that are called barbules. As you might expect, the barbules hook together forming solid webs. It is the quality of these barbules meshing that gives good feather quality. Good feathers require a great deal of quality protein to produce. Vitamins, such as riboflavin, aid in producing durable, flexible feathers. And naturally occurring oils, such as those found in Omega Ultra Egg, are needed to maintain water resistance and sheen, and are used to prevent the feathers from becoming brittle and wearing out before the next molt.
    Quality feathers are an essential for pastured poultry as the feathers are the hen’s natural protection from the elements. So it is as the new feathers are growing that we poultrymen (and women) should concern ourselves with feeding to grow better feathers. I suggest to you that this is the best time to feed out supplements like: probiotics, poultry mineral supplements, poultry vitamin supplements, oils as found in Omega Ultra Egg, wheat germ, and codliver oil, and to feed a protein supplement, like fish meal, or feed a breeder quality feed such as game-bird breeder layer crumbles. Omega Ultra Egg has high percentages of protein and calcium to help increase the total amount of those necessary dietary items.
    November is also the best time to consider internal and external parasites. Both of these can reduce the quality of the feathers and will cause the bird to consume more calories to stay in good shape. There are some good wormers on the market for poultry, but if you don’t have access to these you can use an old method that was once sanctified by the U.S. Army (circa World War II), that of dropping walnuts with husks still on (preferably green husks) into buckets of water and allow to stand overnight. You use one walnut per gallon, though you can put in two or three walnuts and then add one or two more gallons of fresh water when you feed it out. This feedout a few times weekly will rid your poultry of internal parasites. For external parasites, I recommend adding wood ashes to the areas your chickens choose for dust bathing. This should be mixed in the soil a little bit so that it does not blow away. Don’t worry when your chickens eat some of the charcoal in the ashes – it is a natural anti-toxin and helps in the absorption of calcium. Your chicken poop may be black for a few days, but your chickens will be healthy.
    Speaking of calcium, the practice of offering oyster shell, or another calcium source, free-choice alongside granite grit, is still an excellent idea for pastured hens. The grit is needed to help digest the choice food the chickens forage and the grains we feed them. The calcium will allow our hens to balance their own diets when their forage does not provide the needed levels. A lack of calcium is also one of the main causes of poor feather condition during summer months and can even lead to feather-pecking and eating (as will low protein levels). Again, Omega Ultra Egg can help increase calcium levels in feed.
    So let’s feed our birds for good feathers and make sure they enter winter free of parasites. The result will be lower feed consumption, healthier chickens, and an earlier return to laying. The chickens will be happy and so will we!
    Text copyright ã Don Schrider, 2011. All rights reserved.
    Don Schrider is a nationally recognized poultry breeder and expert. He has written for publications such as Backyard Poultry, Countryside and Small Stock Journal, Mother Earth News, Poultry Press, and the newsletter and poultry resources of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

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