How to provide constant feed in cold winter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-06-2009, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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How to provide constant feed in cold winter

We live in Alberta where winters can get quite cold...anywhere from like -15C to -40C. This is my 1st winter with my horse. I have read that I need to provide him with constant feed during the very cold days. We bought square bales of hay for the winter....with those how should I feed him constant feed during the day and night? He now gets 3 feedings a day with 2 flakes per feeding. Should I feed him say 3 flakes 4 times per day? Or 1/2 a bale twice a day? Or simply give him a whole bale in the morning? How should I go about it?

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post #2 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 12:21 AM
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Depends what kind of hay your feeding, for example if its lucerne you shouldnt give him the whole thing.
A good way to feed free choice hay is to buy a round bale and feeder.
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 12:30 AM
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Halfway agree with Ninja. Our horses get free choice alfalfa/grass mix in the summer and pure alfalfa (lucerne) in the winter. However, that can cause easy keepers to get really fat like mine are. A good choice would be a round bale of good grass hay and then continue to feed like you are already.

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post #4 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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We have already bought enough square bales for 9 months worth. It is about 30% Alfalfa and the rest is a Timothy/Brome mix. I would like to know how we can use what we have to feed my horse during the really cold days. If I do not have to buy round bales when I already have a ton of square bales.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 10:36 AM
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Since it is a mix and is not pure alfalfa, you could probably just get a feeder (or even an old tractor tire) and put 2 or 3 bales in there at a time. Just make sure and take the wire/twine that it is bound with out first. So long as your horse doesn't already bolt his food, then he should self regulate pretty well once he figures out that the food is always there. Mine do anyway. Then when he starts to run low, just add another bale or 2 as he eats it down.

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post #6 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 12:45 PM
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I would give him half a bale in the morning and half at night. See how he does on that. If he has a lot left over when you feed, reduce it to 1/3rd bale.

When you put the hay out, spread it to multiple piles. This helps keep him moving and slows him down, so he doesn't scarf it down all at once.

Also, hay digests "hotter" (internal heat, to keep the horse warm) than grain, so if you're feeding any grain or horse feed and you notice him gaining weight, it's better to cut back on the feed and keep the hay. For this reason, I feed my horses a broad spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement along with alfalfa hay pellets, no feed or grains.
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979 View Post
I would give him half a bale in the morning and half at night. See how he does on that. If he has a lot left over when you feed, reduce it to 1/3rd bale.
That's how I would start as well. We spread our's out in lots of piles, it takes several hours for them to clean up every little scrape...... gives them something to do.
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 01:43 PM
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agreed with half a bale in the morning and half at night. That is what I do.
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 03:11 PM
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It would probably be better if you give him a few flakes several times a day so he doesn't a) gorge himself and have it gone by noon and b) so he doesn't step on it, pee on it, and make a mess with it if you give him a whole bale at once. At least my horses waste half the bale if I give it to them all at once. Lol Feeding several times a day should keep him busier longer.

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post #10 of 15 Old 10-07-2009, 04:01 PM
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Sometimes people speak in generalities that work for some situations but not for others. Alfalfa/grass hay's are very nice hays for horses; but there can be substantial differences in quality. A very nice a/o 2nd cutting might test 18% protein and be 149 rfv. A good 1st cutting T/A might be 10% protein and 92rfv. They will feed substantially different. The 149 rfv will not be a good choice for free choice feeding - the 92 rfv would be excellent for free choice feeding. If you have the 90-110 rfv hay, put 10 bales at a time out for your animal and reduce your need to feed every day; however, the biggest problem with free choice feeding is waste. Unless you have a good feeder that keeps the animal from using the hay for bedding, you generally cannot afford the waste. A good hay feeder will protect the hay from the rain and keep the hay from being stomped, urined on, and laid in. Typical cattle rings work excellent for feeding rd bales - but they need to be emptied every 2-3 days. They are not effecient at storing hay for 2 weeks at a time while your single animal eats his way through a 1600# bale
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