Hay Belly! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-03-2012, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hay Belly!

ok so my vet said my horse gets "hay belly". I have had her since June now, and it isn't getting any better. Hay belly is when a horse gets really gassy from eating hay and she gets bad. The vet said for me to feed her mostly feed like Strategy and then a little bit of hay. So I did that and gradually weaned her off of so much grain and started to give her more hay. Her belly is getting bad again, so i started giving her more feed and less hay again. Is there an alternative i can do like a type of gas-x for horses? I am so worried she is going to get gas colic!
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post #2 of 20 Old 02-03-2012, 11:11 PM
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You're doing more harm by limited her hay. Hay is necessary and you should never be feeding more concentrates than hay to an otherwise healthy horse. How good is your hay? If it's mature, she could be having more trouble processing it. Look for a more immature, lower fiber, higher quality hay. If her forage is straight grass, replace part of it with alfalfa. Alfalfa will be lower in fiber. Have you tried adding a pre/probiotic daily to her diet? Is she turned out 24/7? The gentle strolling will help the digestion process.
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post #3 of 20 Old 02-03-2012, 11:18 PM
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In all of my years of feeding........grazing and hay is first and foremost. If this is addressed everything else falls into place. Horses are meant to forage.
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post #4 of 20 Old 02-03-2012, 11:25 PM
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Had a old gelding that looked pregnant all the time, he had a super narrow chest and with exercise seemed to help greatly. Rode him 3 times a week and it seemed to dissapear. He was turned out 24/7 and had grass and roundbales with 2 scoops strategy a day. He was with about 7 other horses all that food wasn't for him.
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post #5 of 20 Old 02-03-2012, 11:26 PM
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Have you tried putting her hay into a slow feeder? That'll help make her food more regulated, less gas and less food in her stomach at one time so it's a healthier and more natural routine. You could also do stretches, just like with people it helps for a horse to stretch out to get out the "kinks" so to speak. It's not uncommon for my mare to fart after a light warm up
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post #6 of 20 Old 02-04-2012, 12:21 AM
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Is the pasture too lush maybe? Or the hay too easy to eat? I spread my hay and if the grass in the field is too long and thick, I limit the amount of time in that particular field and move to a more "worn" field. 1. this keeps my fields nicer, 2. limits hay belly because in the "worn" field the horse has to move around more to get the forage they need. I agree that only in exceptional circumstances should hay be limited. Perhaps she is missing in some nutrient that aids in digestion? Perhaps she needs more water -- does she drink enough? How much does she urinate?
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post #7 of 20 Old 02-04-2012, 12:36 AM
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Hay belly is caused by eating a lot of lower quality hay. They eat more because they aren't getting enough nutrition. If you can't get better quality hay, feed soaked beet pulp. It's cheaper than those expensive feeds. Also feeding soaked beet pulp helps get needed water into the horse.

A couple of ours had really bad hay bellies the last year we boarded them. A month after we started giving them beet pulp, their bellies went away, even with the poor quality hay.
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post #8 of 20 Old 02-04-2012, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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I will definitely try the beetpulp! I will hit a feed store today. She is boarded in more of a run, but I let her out daily to goof off with my friends horses.

As far as the whole hay thing, I always try to spread her hay around her pen as much as possible so she has to act more like she is foraging for it. I'm still feeding her three times a day as the stable master doesn't feed that often, and I don't like how he feeds the horses.

I try to push water for her a lot. Every time I give her her feed I soak it in water so she gets more. I actually don't see her pee or drink very often, but that's because I'm not down there for more then about 2 hours a day or less. (full time college student and 30 hrs/week job)

I ride her usually every other day, more if I had a new saddle. (mine didnt fit so currently in the "in between saddles" phase) But she still gets turned out for about an hour or longer every day.

I will try the beet pulp right away today. Thank you for your help!
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post #9 of 20 Old 02-04-2012, 12:17 PM
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Hay bellies can be from a lack of protein.......do you know what level of protein your hay is .......if it is low quality ....say below 5% then that might be your reason........add some higher quality hay like orchard or alfalfa to get her protein levels up.

Super Nova
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post #10 of 20 Old 02-04-2012, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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How much beet pulp should I feed her? Im going to start a new feed regimen today by starting with a bit more hay and start the beet pulp with her regular feed to get this goin gradually.
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