How to grind flax seed for laminitic horses

March 12, 2012

Use a small coffee grinder to grind flax seed for your horse.

Use a small coffee grinder to grind flax seed for your horse.

In a previous post, we looked at two veterinarians who recommend adding fat to the diet of laminitic horses to keep their blood sugar from spiking.

The veterinarians suggest using ground flax seed as the source of that fat, and one says to use a small coffee grinder to grind the flax seed.

I bought a bag of whole flax seed from my local grocery store. The store only offered one brand. I can’t tell you if it’s the right kind. I watched a YouTube video on grinding flax seed, and the host said she prefers golden flax seed to the darker variety. I believe mine is the darker variety.

One of the vets recommending this, Dr. Frank Reilly in Pennsylvania, suggests feeding a horse 4 tablespoons of flax seed. I’m assuming that’s per day, since he recommends giving a horse its feed ration in the morning. I still divide my horses’ feed into three meals, and each horse gets 1 pound total of Nature’s Essentials Enrich 32 (Reilly’s recommendation due to its low starch content — I switched my horses to it in October 2011 when I started my horses on Reilly’s Heiro supplement). I did some weighing to work this out, and each horse gets half a cup of feed per meal to equal that pound.

Half a cup isn’t a lot. It’s hard to hide anything in half a cup.

Since the horses get their Heiro supplement with breakfast, I decided to put the flax seed in lunch and dinner at 2 tablespoons per meal, along with their thyroid powder.

Two tablespoons of flax seed is more than it sounds. The horses noticed it was there. They didn’t hate it. They ate their whole meal. But Robin Hood made a big face after he was finished, complete with curled lip. I tasted the flax seed (before he did), and I thought it tasted like grass or hay. It doesn’t really have a taste to me.

Small coffee grinders can hold maybe 4 tablespoons of flax seed.

Small coffee grinders can hold maybe 4 tablespoons of flax seed.

To grind the flax seed, I put 4 tablespoons in the grinder to prepare the ration for one meal. A small grinder won’t hold much more than that. Grinding the seed is similar to using a food processor. Put the lid on and press a plastic button on the lid in a pulsing motion a few times to turn the seeds into powder. It takes less than 10 seconds total.

Reilly says that feeding whole seed to a horse is a waste, as it goes right through the horse.

It appeared to me that the ground seed was about the same measurement as it was as whole seed; grinding it might actually add a little volume. I put my first batch into a bag for the evening meal and stored that in the refrigerator (not sure if that’s necessary, but the YouTube host said she preserved her freshly ground seed in the refrigerator for later use in the day). And then I split the second batch of 4 tablespoons between the two buckets for Robin and Kurt’s lunch. Note that the remaining flax seed in the package should be stored in an airtight bag to maintain its health properties.

Cleaning the grinder requires wiping it out with a wet towel. The grinder can’t be rinsed or washed like a pot. The YouTube video host said to get a grinder specifically for seeds. Don’t try to use your coffee grinder for this, as it will be hard to switch back and forth between the two products without contamination.

All in all, this is pretty easy.


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