How much hay for a Haflinger - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-16-2011, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Maine
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Talking How much hay for a Haflinger

I have an 8 y.o. gelded haflinger. We live in Maine and he lives outdoors, and does have a run in shed. He looks great right now, but I would like to keep him from gaining too much weight over the winter. How much hay should he have. He is used 4 or 5 times a week, but usually for not much more than an hour or so at a time. This is the first year that he is near the weight he should be!!!! He was on grass all summer. Obviously not great grass. He is about 14.2 or 3 hands. (beautiful and I love him!!!!)
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-16-2011, 10:50 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Horses are designed to eat a little all the time, Hay/ dry grass should not be rationed. Put hay out in the morning, if it is all gone add more next time. People go out and buy the richest greenest smelling they can find, but then wanna ration it when horse gets fat. Horses are much better off with high volumes of poor grass. Then a commercial feed to adjust weight and minerals up and down. They can eat too much green grass and get to much sugar and cause founder and weight issues, but generally low calorie grass hay or poor pasture grass will keep em healthy.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-16-2011, 09:11 PM
Green Broke
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Even high volumes of poor quality grass can make a haflinger fat if fed free choice - even with exercise if its not frequent/strenuous/long enough. And most people in modern days don't work theirs enough since we don't work out in fields all day long behind a plow or use them as our main form of transportation. I find most people who have not worked with the breed just don't understand how much of an easy keeper the breed in general tends to be. They are literal air ferns.

So yes - ration your haflinger's hay but either feed it in small frequent feedings or get either a small mesh net or other form of slow-down feeder.

As for amount - a horse needs a minimum of 1% of their weight in roughage to keep the gut healthy. I tend to feed 1-1.5% when its not so cold out and around 2% when its really cold. So if your haflinger weighs around 900 lbs (which is about where mine stays when he is in good weight) he should around 9 - 18 lbs of hay. Since our square bales are either 40 or 60 lbs depending on the supplier I give 1/4 - 1/2 depending on the size bale and the time of year. If I'm feeding closer to 1% I do give a smidge extra to account for any lost on the ground.

Hope this helps!

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #4 of 4 Old 11-15-2011, 03:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ohio
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I agree. We tried to feed free choice with my Haffie and my husband's Belgian/Haflinger cross gelding and it didn't work well. They will eat (scarf, really) 24/7 if allowed and consumed their body weight in hay in about a week. It wasn't healthy for them, or our budget.

We usually keep the mangers full of just grass hay, but only allow them to have access to them for a few hours about 3 times a day. That usually equates to between 1/4 and 1/2 bale (60 lb bales) each per day during the winter in about 3 feedings. During the summer when they are pastured we usually do not feed any hay. It has taken us about 3 years to find the solution that works best to keep our horses healthy and works in our budget and schedule.

So, you'll have to find the balance with yours between having a good supply of forage to keep him healthy and his digestive system working well and keeping him at a healthy weight.
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