Question about hay? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-26-2012, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Taylorsville, KY
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Question about hay?

So, for people who keep their horses mostly at grass, how many bales do you go through in the winter if you have, lets say, 2 semi easy keepers? This does not include rounds. I do have stalls but they are only really used when there is sickness, injury, or just horrible weather. Have about 8 acres for the 2 that are divided up so every pasture is evened out in use. They have shelter and I'll still out nice round bales when the weather is cold to give them something to warm them up but mostly, they get the require amount of weight of hay then need. My usual hay provider just now dropped the bomb on me that he can not sell me hay and I've only got about 600 lbs of square bales. So how many bales do you go through winter?

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post #2 of 10 Old 09-26-2012, 01:59 PM
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I have oat hay, squares, about 100-110lbs. Horses are on dry lot. I use about 12 or 13 of them a month, but have about 20% losses due to the thick stems they don't eat.
I recently made some slow feeder haynets out of baling twine with 2 1/2 " openings and noticed hay consume was down quite a bit. They went from about 25lbs a day a horse down to 15-18 and left much less wasted.
Since you have pasture that might be an option.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-26-2012, 02:04 PM
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Was trying to do the math on 7 Horses, but we use mostly rounds bales, so divide round bales by how many square bales are in them, then allow for waste of rounds and average by 6 months of winter feeding and then divide that per Horse times two, then add the amount of square bales we use also.... hmmmm..

It looks like about 477 bales for two Horses.

But we also plant winter rye, so they do not need as much hay as someone with no grass for the 6 months.

OK, that was my fuzzy math, anyone else?


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post #4 of 10 Old 09-26-2012, 02:05 PM
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All of the horses at my barn get about a bale a day. Even those on grass. We grow our own hay and it is good quality grass hay, and there is seldomly any left over.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-26-2012, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Strawberry4Me View Post
All of the horses at my barn get about a bale a day. Even those on grass. We grow our own hay and it is good quality grass hay, and there is seldomly any left over.
But the hay bales are probably super light- 30 pounds or so.

OP- In the past I have only had Casey on pasture, no hay, just a pound of rice bran and beet pulp (of course no snow here, coast). How much hay are you going to be feeding? Is half their forage or just to keep weight on or..?

“Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.” - Unknown
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-26-2012, 09:04 PM
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they should be eating 1.5 to 2% of their body weight a day. so if you have a 1000 lb horse it needs 15 to 20 pounds of feed per day
( if I did my math right.) so if your bales are 50 pounds you would go through just under 1 a day. However if they have grass to eat then cut that in half and then watch their weight.
if its cold and rainy out you would give more as eating keeps them warm.
If they start eating fence boards or posts then they are not getting enough roughage and you will need to add more hay or oat straw for something to chew on. slow feed bags work great to keep them busy.
hope this helps
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-27-2012, 12:30 AM
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How many bales you need depends on a lot of factors like weight, protein content, wastage due to how you feed, pasture, how cold winter is, stalled or outside with no cover and how much grain you feed. But the old rule of thumb is 3 ton per horse for winter feeding and some pasture. 5 ton a year per horse with no pasture.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-27-2012, 09:19 AM
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We have no grass for just over 6 months of the year. Temperatures also drop well below freezing for more than half of that time and slightly below for the other half. The winter before last, I fed two horses and went through a 60 lb bale of quality alfalfa timothy mix hay per day on average. I also supplemented with some complete feed and a grain ration. On very cold days, I fed a little more. It took 200 bales to get me through the winter.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-27-2012, 11:10 AM
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3 horses in blankets (870ish lbs, 950ish lbs & 1050ish lbs) and a goat I was feeding about 1 bale per day, once the grass stopped growing. My bales are 50-60lbs. This was split between 2 feedings & divided into 5+ piles.

I chose to pull them off the pasture in the winter & dry lot them, so the pasture isn't damaged by them eating dormant grass, etc.

I would say I used about 210bales in a full calendar year. I don't suppliment anything, except a salt mineral lick & millenium vitamins (usually mixed with 1/4 cup of dry cob, just for a treat)

Bare in mind, my winters in NW Washington are usually in the 40s and they were blanketed, under minimal/light work, and I have pasture suppliment April-september. Usually 3+ months of pasture alone
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-27-2012, 11:20 AM
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I'm in MN... So it's COLD during the winter. My two (easy keepers) get between 50-70 lbs of hay a day throughout the winter when I fed squares. Now they're on rounds, so free choice with a slow feeder net and a hay feeder to control waste.
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