Beginner Hay question - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-10-2012, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northwest Pennsylvania
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Beginner Hay question

So I have recently gotten back into riding after about 10 years of not. Lately, my husband and I have talked it over and are looking to expand our family by a horse or two in the next few years.

We're working on the plans for the barn and for storing hay, and were wondering how much hay an average horse goes through in a year and what size space would hold enough hay to last that long.

Thanks in advance!

ETA: We live in northwestern PA if that makes any difference at all.

Last edited by Brittney1119; 08-10-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-10-2012, 08:36 PM
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subbing - I've had horses for a while but the last few winters we just had miniatures, it's the first winter in a few years we have a full-size horse, so I'd like to know too! :)
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-10-2012, 09:27 PM
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Each of mine eat about 25 lbs a day and are on pasture as well as hard feed.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-10-2012, 09:45 PM
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It will greatly depend on the individual horse you get. I have horses (all basically the same size) that range from needing 30 pounds per day to over 50 pounds per day to maintain their weight. And that's a non-working ration. If they were in work, they would be needing more.

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post #5 of 21 Old 08-10-2012, 09:48 PM
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If you figure at 25 lbs (2 1/2% of your horse's weight) a day and a square bale is about 45 lbs (around here), that's 202 bales/year.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-10-2012, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares View Post
If you figure at 25 lbs (2 1/2% of your horse's weight) a day and a square bale is about 45 lbs (around here), that's 202 bales/year.
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-10-2012, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by eclipseranch View Post
I always love your analytical problem solving ability!
That's what us engineers were born for
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-11-2012, 01:44 AM
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It depends. Will there be pasture too? How's the quality of the hay? Will you feed it in a feeder? There are more variables too.

A good general rule is a horse needs 2% of their body weight per day in forage. That is of their healthy weight. More if you need to put weight on. More in winter and less in summer if there is a pasture with grass.

If you feed round bales, there will be more waste because they are usually not stored inside. The outer layer usually is no good being exposed to the sun and elements.

We feed square bales. Usually feed 4 in the summer and 5 in the winter for 7 horses. They get about 1/2 a bale a day. So with that, about 180 per year but count some extra just to be safe. Like PHM said, about 200 per year per horse.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-11-2012, 02:49 AM
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Quick and dirty rule of thumb is 5 ton a year per horse with no pasture. It goes down from there with acreage and quality of grass on the pasture. With decent summer pasture it's about 3 ton per head for winter feeding.

Best thing to do is plan on the full 5 ton your first year. After that year is up, look at how much hay you have left and how your horse looks, adjust accordingly for the second year.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-11-2012, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
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My draft eats a bale a day with no pasture in the winter... So we usually get 200 bales in the summer to last us all winter til the spring... Then we have pasture in the summer so he only gets 1/2 a bale in the summer...
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hay , storage

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