How to Moving horses from Pasture living to Dry lot??

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How to Moving horses from Pasture living to Dry lot??

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    03-15-2011, 07:20 PM
How to Moving horses from Pasture living to Dry lot??

Hi All,

My husband is Military and it looks like we may be moving to the Colorado Springs area. We have always been spoiled with lush summer pastures and plentiful water and hay. This is not going to be possible when we move. I am trying to find out the best way to switch my horses from pastured living to dry lot living.. as well as the best way to feed etc. We've never been in this situation before. I am also traveling with a herd of about 30 goats/alpacas. I'm not even sure if pasture grazing is an option or how much acreage we would need per head if we tried to go that route. Any advice or input would be appreciated.

Thank You!
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    03-15-2011, 07:27 PM

No probs generally going from lush pasture(potentially problematic) to drylot(healthier situation for horses generally). It's the other way round - bombarding them with too much/rich pasture that's problematic.

Just ensure they have adequate hay, for free choice or at least little & often feeding. You'll likely find they drink a lot more than you're used to. Also whatever nutritional supplement for rich pasture may not be appropriate for drylot, so look into a supp that will fit the new bill. is a great program/service for that kind of info.
    03-15-2011, 09:47 PM
As long as you go with good quality hay you are fine. I keep my horses on dry lot year around (I just let them graze up to 3 hours on "grazing" fields Apr - Oct). If you have several horses go with the round bales (although I'd suggest to give botulism shots), if just one or 2 - square bales could be a better choice (less waste).
    03-15-2011, 10:57 PM
Thanks.. I emailed the Ag agent there and he responded saying I'd need 35 acres per animal unit.. that's not going to happen. I feed my horses round bales now during the winter and feed the other stock a mix of round and square. It looks like I'm just going to need a lot more of it and it is much more expensive there too. DH doesn't think this is doable but we'll see.

Thanks again for the replies
    03-15-2011, 11:31 PM
35 acres per animal? That's very very high, perhaps he meant 3.5?
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    03-16-2011, 12:53 AM
I'm on the N side of Denver and for a high desert, you'd be surprised how much pasture is available in the area. No it isn't lush like the SE where you can count on rain but it will do. Without supplemental hay (on irrigated land) you will have trouble sustaining them at 1 AU per 5 acres. My stocking rates are about 1 AU per 2 acres and I still offer supplemental hay but about 2 months out of the year. E of CoS is not a bad area to buy hay. It's a big cattle producing area and there is farming to support it. "Normal" hay prices are $100/ton. Some years grass is hard to come by so we tend to feed alot of alfalfa (and it's cheaper than grass). When you get S of FC (i'll assume) it does get desert real fast and rather boring. E will get rocky and mountainous quickly. The AFA does have a boarding facility that is open to Army as well (but probably not the goats and alpacas). Denver actually seems to have a busy alpaca market for an urban area.

But you didn't ask about that. As far as moving them off pasture, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'd have them switched to about 50% hay before you leave so they're eating and drinking fine for the trip. If you feed grain, switch them to a national brand (Purina, MP and Nutrena are easiest to find) so you can feed the same thing when you get here. I did that haul from Nashville with horses in 2 full days of driving. Pretty easy drive.
    03-16-2011, 09:26 AM
35! MD requirement is 3 acres. Although if you have 30 animals + horses well I don't know then...
    03-16-2011, 10:45 AM
The extension agent for sure said 35 acres per AU. The eastern range by Colorado Springs is pretty much dirt with sparse desert grasses. He said even with 35 acres per AU he wouldn't recommend open grazing since horses tend to overgraze young grasses. Horses area also considered to be 1.2 AU on average. Sheep/Goats are considered .2 AU. I lived in KY for 30 years and it is much different there.. on good pasture you can put almost 1 AU per acre but 1AU per 2 acres is best.

I've been browsing Craigslist for the area too to find average hay prices. What I found is $6-$9 per square bale (I pay $2.50-$4 here) and large rounds/squares from $77 to $110 each depending on quality and size. Averaging 900lbs. Here I pay $20-25 for a large round of brome and only $15 for a large round of prairie grass. So my hay prices are easily going to triple. It's pretty distressing.. not sure how we're going to afford that.
    03-16-2011, 11:15 AM
Ok 35 acres per au is crazy, I live east of Colorado Springs have 37 acres total maybe 15 is fenced for my 2 horses and I don't need to feed them hay at all and they are fat! I only give hay when its bad weather because they like to hang out in the barn out of the cold. My fields are not over grazed and its practically been a drought this winter. Hay is expensive your best bet is to buy it by the tractor trailer load, even if you have to split it with someone.
    03-16-2011, 11:44 AM
This time of year, hay prices are at their highest. Also, real farmers don't tend to advertise on CL.

dry lot, feed, management, pasture

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