I added hay pellets to my two geldings diets about a month ago as a way to increase their forage without going completely bankrupt on hay. The Arab/QH is getting about 2lbs a day, the TB closer to 4lb. Both are getting about 2lb of ration balancer as well.
I decided to pick up a bag of rice bran as basically a test run. They both look good, but I would like to put a bit more of a layer over the TB's ribs. The RB only has 5% min fat which is why I want to experiment with the rice bran before winter. My Arab/QH and I event and are hoping to move up a level in the early spring, meaning we will be working hard all winter and I want to keep him fit.
I've priced out buying a complete feed instead of doing the mix, and they are close, I think within $5-$10 or something of the sort.
Are you sure the rice bran is only 5% fat? Mine is about 12%, but I've had some up to 20% min fat IIRC. That just sounds way wrong that it's 5%.
Second question would be, standard rice bran or one of the fortified varieties (EquiJewel, MannaPro, most others sold for horses). Standard rice bran is fine as long as you're getting calcium elsewhere, like in alfalfa, and you balance it out to ensure you'r enot feeding too much phosphorous.
If you're using alfalfa pellets, not grass hay pellets, as long as you stick with at least double the pellets to rice bran, you won't be feeding too much phosphorous. If you're feeding a timothy or other grass pellet with standard rice bran, I would be hesitant to do that without adding some alfalfa personally.
If your rice bran is the fortified kind, meaning is had added calcium, you can feed up to whatever the bag says per day with no imbalance worries.
Instead of rice bran (which I did for years with ok results) I've switched to soaking 1-2c beet pulp shreds in oil and water. Insta fat nommies for much cheaper.
My guys get ration balancer mixed with alfalfa pellets, and then the greasy beet pulp. I'm able to feed 2 performance horses for about $120 a month for both. Then of course there's joint supps, but their pasture is so well taken care of they currently aren't on hay yet.
Sorry...I completely forgot I that RB could be rice bran or ration balancer.
The 5% fat is the ration balancer. I am feeding timothy pellets, but am debating on switching to alfalfa. I am not sure how the TB will react to the alfalfa, to be honest, and he's so laid back I don't want to make him hot. My Arab/QH was squirrely when I had him on a mix of alfalfa and TC Lite. I pulled him off both at the same time (oops) but I am inclined to think the TC was making him nutty, since I was feeding him alfalfa cubes last year and he wasn't a nut. However, he was also out on a huge pasture vs. being in a 24x24 corral all day.
I like the rice bran because its easy and doesn't require soaking, since I use the pellets. I bartend at night, so having something easy is required since DH will feed for me on those nights. Plus, its a damn mess. I am not opposed to using oil. Costco has huge jugs of canola oil for cheap, so that is definitely an option.
I would like to stay away from having to feed 7+ lbs of a complete feed every day, especially since I'm really liking how both horses are looking on the ration balancer (equidae) I'm using.
You're looking about about 2lb tops for rice bran.
Soaking beep doesn't require a big production. Put the beet in the bucket, add water to about 2x the volume of the beep, enough to cover it, fix the rest of the stuff, and in just a couple of minutes - literally - the beep is soaked enough to feed.
Is it fully plumped? No. But unless/until your horse tells you it has to be, it's quite soaked enough to all but eliminate the risk of choke from feeding it dry.
Here are pictures I took a few months ago showing 3 progressions of "soaking" beep.
I've fed 4lb of rice bran a day to the hard keeper mare, with 8lb of alfalfa cubes, with no ill effects. I've never heard the 2lb rule. But that's just in the winter when hay was just not available here, and cubes and rice bran were the options. She can't have soy, and there is only so much oil I can feed her before her poop gets kinda runny.
For weight, hay cubes if you can set them to soak at the prior feeding are better by a bit than the pellets. Not sure why, but I've had better results. It doesn't work for everyone though to be able to do that. Like right now, I just can't do it, so they get pellets.
But again, as long as your rice bran had calcium added, no NEED to feed alfalfa or anything else with calcium to balance it out. Read the bag and it will tell you. It usually says "fortified" if it does, but it will say on the ingredients too.