Educate me more on feedings..

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Educate me more on feedings..

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  • My mare is only eating half her hay
  • Leaving grazing muzzle on around the clock

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    06-29-2012, 12:19 AM
Green Broke
Educate me more on feedings..

So for some background before I start-
My geldings about 15.2 6 years old and came to me last october with no winter coat and about 150/200 pounds underweight. Not a great start to the winter and needless to say he gained a good amount of weight but was somewhat harder to keep it on him throughout the winter. We switched him to a grain that is 11 percent crude protein and 6 percent crude fat. The grain we took him off of was 12 percent protein and 3 percent fat. I didn't like the quality of the old grain it seemed 'cheap' to me and I felt like it wasn't doing anything for my guy.

So throught the winter he was fed half of the scooper. (This is the scooper we use)

I never properly measured how much he was getting because I don't have a scale available to me. This is also how much of the old grain he was fed previously before I switched it. So during the winter if he was stalled which was rarely I would give him 6/7 flakes a hay and he usually didn't finish it all. But with going into winter underweight I wanted to make sure he kept warm. (we didn't blanket him as he did actually grow a thick coat) but when he was outside he had two round bails accessible to him round the clock and not to mention he was pastured on 60 acres with 10 horses at one point and then some horses moved and at one point there was only 6/7 horses.

Anyway now he's on 60 acres still with only 5 horses and as you could imagine he's gained a good amount of weight. So much so that now he only gets fed once a day (where he was getting fed twice a day in winter) and he gets about maybe a half a pound of grain and gets stalled in the am for about 6/7 hours and goes back out until the next morning.

Now my mare was in okay weight when we got her in march but wasn't fed properly. She's around 14 hands and 12 years old. So that being said since I've had her she's been fed about half a pound of grain once a day in the am because she's a good keeper. She gets a scoop of cosequin and two scoops of mare magic but not that it has too much to do with actual weight gaining/loosing. She is on two acres with 5 other horses so they have the field grazed down to nothing. Because she is a pony and a easier keeper I get really nervous with founder but the vet said she's at a excellent weight and she shouldn't gain anymore. And I was going to get her a grazing muzzle but because they already have the field grazed to nothing the vet said she should be fine. They also put a small round bail upfront because they grazed it down to nothing but half of the time the horses don't really touch it. I mean there's days though that my mare has her face in the hay all day and there's days that she's just grazing. (which is usually 99 percent of the time)

Now- onto my questions..,
Am moving my two on Tuesday to a place where they will be boarded in there own private pasture just them two and it is two acres. The pasture is kinda grazed down but in some parts theres still alot left to graze down. The owner made a comment about how we probably won't need much, if any hay until the end of the season since the pasture is still pretty abundant enough for them to graze on. He also said I can let them out to graze down the neighboring two pastures if I wished.

Now my questions kinda are that-
I am planning on buying hay before hand anyway but I'm not sure if I should even offer some at this point since there is still alot for them to graze down. I would like them to keep the weight they are at now, not gain any. I figured since I won't have a stall at this new place to put my gelding in to cut back his grazing I could always buy him a muzzle if he gains anymore. I'm also somewhat paranoid about my pony because I know she's more at risk for founder. But I could always buy her a muzzle too. (even though I don't want to, just the only way I can cut back eating)

I've been obsessing about that since I found out I was moving. (I'm a total worry wart, can't you tell?)

Also, I was going to buy round bails in the winter, but between two horses I'm afraid they will waste alot of it or by the time they're done eating it most will be ruined by snow, etc so I figured I could just buy square bails and supply them with free choice throughout the day.

So that all being said, what would you do about this? I feel like there's a 'right' way to feed horses like this and a 'wrong' way and I feel like I'm doing it totally wrong! I don't want them gaining anymore weight but I also don't want them to loose any either.

Insight welcome greatly!!!
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    06-29-2012, 01:51 AM
Try reading through the Horse Nutrition forum: you will learn a lot there. I have The Horse Nutrition Handbook, which has a lot of good information.

As far as round bales, there will be some waste. You can use a bale feeder designed for horses: that helps cut down on waste.
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    06-29-2012, 11:31 AM
Green Broke
I have been browsing through the nutrition forum but wanted to know what others thought on my situation. thank you though!
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    06-29-2012, 11:58 AM
I would definitely offer hay or take up the offer of grazing neighboring pastures, because two acres for two horses is not a lot.

I don't think you're doing anything the 'wrong' way. You have consulted your vet and you are feeding based on body condition. As far as the feed goes, the ingredients are a lot more important than the amount of crude protein/fat. There are a lot of people on here who can give you better information on that than I can.

Good luck with your move!
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    06-30-2012, 12:26 AM
Green Broke
Thanks! Anyone else?
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    06-30-2012, 09:58 AM
I have two horses on about 4 acres and altho it is holding out, I still feed hay as they like to be in during the day to escape the bugs. I think the bugs are natures way of driving the horses away from the grasses when the sugars are highest. OK, I've wondered about that.
    06-30-2012, 01:29 PM
Green Broke
The only other problem I have with leaving hay out too while there is grass is that my pony mare would rather eat hay and if you give her any (or a free choice of it) she will literally sit there all day/night until it is gone. She won't stop eating it unless you drag her away from it and she doesn't need anymore weight!
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