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The Feed Tag Tells the Story

Mane Points

All horse feeds are not the same. Each is manufactured for a specific purpose. Here's how to tell if you are getting the particular product you need. You wouldn't put a big, juicy steak in front of a one-year-old kid. And you certainly wouldn't offer your strapping teenager a jar of creamed squash. For the same reason, you want to be sure that your farm animals -- whether beef calves, puppies or horses -- get feed that is suited to their specific needs.

There's a surefire way to ensure that your animals get the proper nutrition: check the tag that's on every bag of feed.

It tells you the purpose for which the feed was manufactured, the ingredients used in the feed and directions on how to use it for safe and effective animal performance.

"The feed tag on our products is an ironclad guarantee of what's in the bag," says Rich Schneider, marketing manager for Southern States' Feed Division, manufacturers of Legends® feeds. "In light of the U.S.-discovered case of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), or mad cow disease, our customers can be assured Restricted Ruminant products are not used in the manufacturing process. Every precaution is taken to ensure that all Legends feeds are free from potential BSE contaminants," Schneider said.

Buying a product of unknown quality can shortchange your pocketbook and your animals if they don't get what they need. And it can be dangerous if you feed something that wasn't intended for the type of animals you have. For example, growth stimulants for calves should not be fed to adult cows. Some medicated feeds can be fatal to other species.

What's in the bag?

Must be appropriate for the feed's intended use and may not be misleading in any way.

Identifies the species and class of animal for which the feed is intended and its specific use (maintenance, growth, lactation or gestation).

Lists the minimum (and maybe the maximum) levels of essential nutrients. Crude protein, fat and fiber are most important and are listed first, followed by major minerals and vitamins.

Lists all of the products used in manufacturing.

Provides a way to trace every bag of feed.

Tells you how to mix and feed the product for safe and effective use, including how much to feed and on what schedule.

Alerts users to any special concerns that may create problems (for example, feeding a medicated product to a class of animal for which it is not intended).

Names the manufacturer or distributor responsible for complying with state and federal regulations. Net weight, while not printed on the tag, must be shown on the bag.

©1997-2004 Southern States Cooperative, Inc., Reprinted from Mane Points magazine, with permission of Southern States Cooperative, Inc.