How much hay should I feed MY horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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How much hay should I feed MY horse

I recently got a new horse named Lilly. She is 4 years old. Underweight. She is almost 15 hands. I have 90lb alfalfa bales. How many flakes should I feed her? I also have beet pulp for her. How much of that Should I feed her? She is small and underweight. Probably only 500lbs. That's just a guess though.

Thanks for your help!!
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 02:07 PM
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If she's use to being fed and not a starvation case, I'd give her as much hay as you can give her. Maybe find something not so rich, like a grass hay mix though. An underweight horse can only benefit from having 24/7 access to hay.

If she is a starvation case, or isn't use to being fed properly, bring her up slowly to larger amounts so you don't upset her digestive system.
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post #3 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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The previous owners were feeding her alfalfa to. Do you still think I should switch to mixed grass hay? How much beet pulp should I feed her?
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post #4 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chelseaaa92 View Post
I recently got a new horse named Lilly. She is 4 years old. Underweight. She is almost 15 hands. I have 90lb alfalfa bales. How many flakes should I feed her? I also have beet pulp for her. How much of that Should I feed her? She is small and underweight. Probably only 500lbs. That's just a guess though.
Thanks for your help!!
Some of this doesn't sound quite right. I didn't know that bales came in 90 lb squares. If she is 15hh and weighs 500 lbs I'd think she was at death's door. 'O'
It's hard to recommend how much to feed with these statistics.
MY alfalfa and alfalfa mix bales range from 50-75 lbs. I know bc I load them on my truck and unload and stack them myself--all ~ 400 bales, every year. I cannot lift more than 75 pounds, and I do a "clean and jerk" to get these up into my loft from my truck bed.
A 15hh underweight horse probably weighs about 800-1,000 lbs. Bones make up a lot of the weight.
She needs free access to as much GOOD QUALITY grass hay as possible. The alfalfa is very rich and she could colic on it.
Back to feeding weight. Normally you Start at ~ 1 lb hay/100 lbs horse. Then you juggle. My horses are 1,100 lbs, 1,200 lbs and 1,450 lbs. The first two get 6 flakes (~60 lb bale)/day, and the last get 7-8 flakes/day.
IF your horse leaves hay, then you cut back, unless you intend to use this hay for their bedding, too.
IF your horse is looking around for more you give them more, one flake at a time.
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post #5 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 02:32 PM
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I agree with Drifting that usually a grass mix is better forage, especially when you're wanting your horse to gain good, healthy weight. Personally I would gradually introduce it over about a week, then give her 24/7 access to the grass hay with maybe a half to full flake of alfalfa morning and night. Some horses have trouble maintaining a good weight on just grass hay and the alfalfa will help with that, but most will do just fine on grass hay alone. Why is she underweight? Were her previous owners unable to feed her what she needed or didn't know better? Is she UTD on shots and worming? Just curious if she may have some health issues that are contributing to the issue. I suggest getting a weight tape as well to track her progress.
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post #6 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 03:08 PM
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You should have a vet check her either way but I would ask the vet for feeding recommendations.

Free choice hay.
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post #7 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 04:55 PM
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Alfalfa does indeed come in 90 lb bales, although 40-50 lbs bales are more common.

I think the alfalfa would be good for this mare, but not as her only hay. A good local grass hay should be available to her at all times. You should give her about 2% of her IDEAL weight (if she is 15hh, depending on her breed I would think she should be 900-1000 lbs. What breed is she? Pictures?) in hay, possibly a bit more. So for example, if she should be 900 lbs, feed her 18 lbs of hay per day. The number of flakes will depend on the size of the flakes. Some weight only 3 lbs while others are closer to 6 or 7. I'd also offer her a flake of alfalfa morning and night with the grass hay.

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post #8 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal View Post
..unload and stack them myself--all ~ 400 bales
Hats off to you... I complain about unloading 30 bales of 40lb timothy. I don't think I could physically move 400 bales of 75lbs!
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post #9 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 05:48 PM
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Our square bales here in the West are often over 100#-by using balance & leverage I can move bales that are equal to my weight, but try to not get bales that are over 120#. I would suggest a weight tape for your new horse-should run $5 or less. If a horse is used to alfalfa, they may not be interested in grass hay, but usually will eat cubes or pellets. The weight tape will also have a height measurement on the other side. Good luck w/your new horse!
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post #10 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 07:03 PM
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Can you get a weight tape? It is of course, not a precise measurement of the horse, but if this 15h horse is truly around 500 pounds, you should probably seek veterinary advice in feeding her to reach her optimum weight.
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