How much Hay?
 
 

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How much Hay?

This is a discussion on How much Hay? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Hay was up not much hair

 
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    09-28-2009, 04:44 PM
  #1
Green Broke
How much Hay?

Where I live it gets pretty cold out. It can be anywhere to -25 F here. So my question is how much hay should my boys get?

They are a 950 pound QH and a 1050 pound Paint.

And my QH has a nice winter coat, but it is supposed to be a nasty winter. My paint has not really started to get a nice coat. I was wondering if maybe I should buy maybe a light-medium weight blanket. What do you think?
     
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    09-28-2009, 05:25 PM
  #2
Foal
Personally I like to have hay infront of my horses at all times.
     
    09-29-2009, 10:44 AM
  #3
Weanling
Horse blankets are for show animals that you are trying to keep warm so that they don't "hair up", or for very old ( not 10yrs old - more like 35) or sick animals or the rare very cold or wet night. If you blanket your animal every night, you will have to keep it up all winter long or the rare night you forget to blanket them, they will freeze to death. A normal healthy animal needs wind protection and a place to get in out of the rain on cold nights. A good rain when it is 25 deg out is worse than a good dry day at -10 below any day of the week. A good run in shed would be money better spent than a hay blanket.
2-3% of body weight is adquete for hay, but on very cold nights, I would rather put a cheaper hay out and give them all they wanted. Makes the wife feel good to have full hay rings on the cold nights!
     
    09-29-2009, 02:11 PM
  #4
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Production Acres    
Horse blankets are for show animals that you are trying to keep warm so that they don't "hair up",
um, no, if you have a horse that doesn't grow much of winter coat and the temps are down to minus 25F they would be much more comfortable with a blanket.

We try to hold off as long as possible before putting rain sheets on, only to give them time to really get a good coat of hair. Once the winds and rain start, even though they have access to a shelter all day, we put on rain sheets. At night they are stalled without blankets. If they have gotten wet during the day we put fleece coolers on for a couple of hours to wick off the wet.

Quote:
A normal healthy animal needs wind protection and a place to get in out of the rain on cold nights
Agreed, if you allow the horse to get wet then it's natural defense, the hair standing up, against the cold isn't available. If that's the case, they have no way to stay dry, then I would be blanketing. If the horse has also gotten really wet they need a good grooming once dry so that the hair can stand up if it gets cold.

Hay should be feed at a minimum of 1.5-2.5% of their body weight in normal temps, once your down into the double digit minus temps I would be doubling that.

Quote:
Makes the wife feel good to have full hay rings on the cold nights!
Good women, your wife.
     
    09-29-2009, 04:57 PM
  #5
Started
I agree with G and K ... if you want an inexpensive blanket for winter, try horseloverz.com

You can get something that won't break the bank but will work ... I also would suggest that you have a waterproof blanket/sheet for both horses. It is good to have around in case you know? Better safe then sorry type of thing :)
     
    09-29-2009, 05:16 PM
  #6
Weanling
I'd recommend having free feed hay at all times, especially if it's that cold. A horse that is eating is a horse that will never freeze, their digestive system keeps them warm from the inside out.
As far as blanketing, maybe just at night? It really depends on how cold it actually gets and how acclimated the horse is to cold weather. Has he been in this cold of weather before without a blanket? When does he usually get his winter coat? Will they be inside a barn at night when it is coldest?
     
    09-29-2009, 06:24 PM
  #7
dee
Started
We feed round bales of good bermuda grass/native grass hay. The horses have hay all winter long, and a good warm breakfast and dinner of soaked alfalfa pellets and beet pulp. We are condidering adding a bit of rice bran to the mix because the daughter's horse is not gaining weight as fast as we want her to. May even add crimped oats if the weather is going to be really cold. However, here in Oklahoma, I don't think it gets cold enough to need a blanket, and the horses have sheds to get in out of the wind/rain/ice. (don't get much snow here! :) )
     
    09-30-2009, 04:38 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by dashygirl    
I'd recommend having free feed hay at all times, especially if it's that cold. A horse that is eating is a horse that will never freeze, their digestive system keeps them warm from the inside out.
As far as blanketing, maybe just at night? It really depends on how cold it actually gets and how acclimated the horse is to cold weather. Has he been in this cold of weather before without a blanket? When does he usually get his winter coat? Will they be inside a barn at night when it is coldest?
I don't really have a way to feed all day. I can only get up to the barn once a day and that is after school/work. I might be able to talk my BO into going out in the morning to feed, but I don't know...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dee    
We feed round bales of good bermuda grass/native grass hay. The horses have hay all winter long, and a good warm breakfast and dinner of soaked alfalfa pellets and beet pulp. We are condidering adding a bit of rice bran to the mix because the daughter's horse is not gaining weight as fast as we want her to. May even add crimped oats if the weather is going to be really cold. However, here in Oklahoma, I don't think it gets cold enough to need a blanket, and the horses have sheds to get in out of the wind/rain/ice. (don't get much snow here! :) )
Haha! I am not really worried about weight, they are both chunkers. Lol!
     
    09-30-2009, 05:06 PM
  #9
Trained
Free choice hay is the best way to keep horses warm in the winter. Horses produce heat by digesting hay.
The best way is to find round bales a good quality hay of low nutritional value (aka not ditch hay, but very grassy). If you can buy some round bales for the coldest part of winter and place them near the horses' shed that would be ideal. When it is warmer again, you can gradually transition back to feeding twice daily.

Good luck!

ETA: about the blanketing. If your horses have good coats, when you put a blanket over that you are just flattening the hair down and reducing it's heat keeping capacity. If you are going to blanket, you need to seriously blanket when it's very cold. I have wintered horses without blankets many times before and as long as you do not bring them into warm buildings and provide them with lots of hay and shelter, they are happy as clams. It can easily get down to -50C with windchill here.
     
    09-30-2009, 05:33 PM
  #10
Weanling
I took my horses to SC from FL last year. The gelding put on a little hair and the two mares didn't put much on. We started blaketing about end Oct., so I don't know how it would have turned out if we hadn't started with the blankets this early. But I knew I was freezing my butt off and figured the FL bred horses might not be feeling much better.

Poor guys were absolutely miserable when it was wet and/or windy. They just about lived in the blankets in Dec. They were strictly pasture boarded. BO finally started putting out rolls of hay in Jan, I believe. But they had us boarders cut back the already skimpy grain from 2 lb twice a day to 1 lb twice a day so they could pay for the hay :(

Not a good situation.

My preference now is to not blanket unless it is wet, windy or calls for temps dropping very suddenly. Out at nighters: Free access to roll of hay with extra flake of alfalfa at feed time. All: Full scoop of Triple Crown 14% 2 x a day. And supplements as needed per individual animal. Access to a run with 3 sides ot wind block and the option of being able to move freely on all sides of the run. Stall the idiots that always stand in the rain. Night stall the no hairers, thin, weak, etc....
     

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