Free choice hay in the winter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Location: MN
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Free choice hay in the winter

I am wondering how everyone feeds in the cold winter (northern climate)? Free choice hay? Do they do ok being fed 2X a day? I know it can depend on the horse, just looking for what the majority recommends.
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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I have my indoor horses on hay twice daily but they get LOADS like there could still be some left over in the morning,
My outdoors are in front of round bales eating as much as they want.
If your on livery your horse prob wont be able to get as much hay as when you have them at home as you can decided how much or little to give

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post #3 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 02:22 PM
Green Broke
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Well I feed grain twice a day but feed hay 3-4 times a day. in the morning, at luch or 3:30 when i get home, supper and then when we lock them up for the night.

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 02:30 PM
Green Broke
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I feed my horses twice a day, they are not stalled unless the weather is bad. I fear that if I do free choice hay my Haflingers will look like bovines.

100% Anti-Slaughter and PROUD of it!
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 02:59 PM
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Our three primary herds have free choice round bales. When it's really cold - we feed a grass/alfalfa mix. Normally just a wonderful grass hay.

The horses that are not on round bales are fed flakes a minimum of 4x per day when it's cold. 3x in the warmer months.

Digesting that hay is what keeps them warm.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 03:46 PM
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All of mine are free choice hay (just pasture hay..nothing fancy). I'd rather have them have a few extra pounds on during the winter since it gets pretty cold here.

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Location: MN
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I love the boarding stable we are at but it seems she is not feeding free choice all day for winter, just morning & night, two times a day. If I see him in the afternoon she said I can feed him a flake. As long as his weight is maintained it should be ok, right? I am in MN. Like I said, I love my BO and the place.... :)
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 03:51 PM
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My pasture horses also have free access to large bales of hay. The horses that I am keeping up in pens get fed 2x per day and I make sure to feed them enough where they don't run out before they get fed again. I just monitor their intake and what I feed varies every day. If they have quite a bit left over from the previous meal, then I will feed them slightly less than I normally do. If there is nothing left and they are looking for every stem and leaf that is on the ground, I will feed them more. None of them ever go completely without but the intake is monitored more closely and controlled more on the horses in the pens.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Free choice is ideal, but I have to limit my pony. Now that she has started to gain weight she isn't stopping. Soooo, I have her on 3% of her bodyweight of hay per day. She taped out at 820 lbs, I rounded up to 900, so 27 lbs of hay/day. I rounded that up to 30 lbs total to make up for waste. She is literally hoovering up every last scrap in her paddock and begging for more.

Soda on the other hand taped out at 1298, I rounded up to 1300, so 39 lbs of hay/day. I rounded up to 42 lbs to make up for waste. He has plently of hay left in the morning and in the afternoon.

Yes, I am actually weighing their hay too. A little overboard, maybe, but I wanted to make sure that I was actually giving them adequate hay. It's very difficult for me to feed round bales so I can't really do free choice. Besides which Lily would probably balloon out to 1200 pounds of sheer obesity if I let her eat all she wanted.

To think that I was worried about her gaining weight 3 weeks ago....
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