Equine herbal supplements containing garlic (there’s that word again), yeast and grape seed oil claim to keep insects off your horse and create an unpleasant manure environment for larvae. When fed daily, the supplement helps reduce the fly population and repels other biting insects from your horse. An added benefit to using supplements is that garlic is known to help the circulatory, respiratory and immune system.
Now here is where I need to add that if you haven’t already read my article on Garlic or Not to Garlic, you should do so now! What you hear isn’t always how it is. And further more, what’s good for humans isn’t necessarily good for animals. I mean seriously.. Dogs love chocolate, but you wouldn’t actually give it to them would you? Ok, then think twice on giving your equine or bovine garlic, onions or anything of the garlic family.
Alright, now that I’ve stress the bad sides and suggested strongly that you read that article before deciding to feed your horse or cow garlic of any kind. Let’s discuss other herbal supplement options for your livestock.
As with anything that is supplemental or natural, there is no instant gratification. It takes time for this to work so there will be no eye-popping results for a while.
The cost of herbal supplements range from $10.00 – $20.00 (per horse) / per month.
I find that I repeat myself a lot. So let me just repeat that again :D. Supplements provide NO instant gratification in the protection of biting insects. The supplement MUST be given to ALL the horses or other livestock on the property in order for it to have any affect at all. So, if your like me and have many horses, that cost just went up.
And further, there are some horses or other livestock that, just simply, are not willing to eat the supplements. Further supplements are NOT regulated by the government. Therefore, the effectiveness is undocumented.
Since this method is NOT an instant gratification insect repellent, you NEED to start LONG BEFORE fly season begins and continue throughout the entire year. Store the supplement in a sealed container to keep it fresh.
Also, the supplement MUST be used DAILY. Sporadic usage of any supplements will NOT give you the long-term results you desire.
Wow, I really didn’t paint a brighter picture of rainbow, butterflies and greener pastures factor there did I? Well, I’m sorry for that. The honest truth is when you use anything other than the intended product for the results you desire, you are buying into a “maybe” at best. It might work, it can be expensive and the results may not be the best. There is hope though, for some of the other supplements you can purchase.
Check this out…
Yeast is a good example of a supplement that will effectively help your horse. Yeast aids in the digestion of forage or ruffage. Pregnant mares fed yeast cultures were found to better digest dry matter and retain more of the vitamins/nutrients needed during the last trimester. Also, given to lactating mares early, will aid in better milk supply and a better growth rate of the foal. (see not all supplements are bad :D)
Grape seed oil can be used for many purposes and all give benefit to your livestock. This oil is water soluble and non-toxic. Further it is an antioxidant and any excess is excreted through urination. As an antioxidant it is stronger than Vitamin C and even stronger than Vitamin E when combatting the aging cycle. In performance horses, this extract is of benefit as an inhibitor of the enzymes that break down collagen. So in short, this extract promotes the repair of connective tissues. It can also be used as an anti-flamatory and help speed up the healing process. And if that wasn’t enough, performance horses are prone to gastric ulcers. This oil is said to help coat the stomach and aid in a shorter healing process.
Ok, now that’s more of a brighter rainbow now isn’t it? I do have so say it even sounded like there might be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow after that too. But as with anything, not all results are the same per animal. In other words, what works for one may not work for another and as always, consult your veterinarian as to what is the best choices for you and your livestock.