Need advice on hay - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice on hay

Not going to go into a long story, just the facts this time!

I'm out of hay. Guy a couple miles away is selling a fescue mix for $5 a bale. My guys will eat it, but there's always some hay left on the ground after they're done. I know it's not the best as far as nutrition goes, but all of my guys are healthy and not dreadfully under weight and I figure if we can make it to March when it starts warming up we'll be all right. And dude it's only $5 a bale.

Tractor Supply has Bermuda mix bales for $7.50 a bale. I know it's better for them, and I know for a fact that they won't leave any behind. But it's more expensive.

I can fit 20 bales on my truck, so I'm looking at either $100 flat for the fescue, or $150 plus tax for the bermuda. I know which one is better for them, but in this economy cost is definitely a deciding factor. I'm just not sure if I should spring for the better hay and give them less of it, or go for the cheap hay and worry about them wasting it.

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post #2 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 10:14 AM
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If they are wasting the cheaper hay, you aren't really saving as much as it seems you are by paying less per bale.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 10:18 AM
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As with everything, buy the best you can afford. If you have leftovers to throw away, you throw money away. You're saying none of your horses are "dreadfully thin"....I take it some are rather thin?
Look into slowfeeder haynets or other slowfeeders. They will reduce the amount of hay needed, will make them eat slow and steady, just like nature intended, reduce waste and help with weight gain for the ones who need it. You can make nets out of hay strings, takes about two hours and is free.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman View Post
You're saying none of your horses are "dreadfully thin"....I take it some are rather thin?
Oh no, none of them are thin at all-- just not the rolls of butter that they usually are at my house. That is to say, they look thinner to me because I know what they looked like all summer, but someone else looking at them would say they look fine.



The red one there is my older mare (she's almost 20) and she's the only one I'd be concerned about, but like I said it's not a difference that someone who doesn't live with them would notice. This picture was taken 2 days ago.

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post #5 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 10:53 AM
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She's fine
But I'd look into the slowfeeder anyway. I reduced my hay bill by 40% and have happy horses
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 10:59 AM
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I would probably go with the fescue. What's most important with long stem forage is feeding them enough to be satisfied. If they aren't wasting more than 1/3 of the bale your costs are about the same as feeding the bermuda. Reduce what they waste by controlling how much they can pull out at once be it a haybunk, slow feeder, haynet.... Don't just toss the hay out and let them have a party. You might have to add a RB to make up for the lesser quality but I'd go for more hay over less hay.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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I've been feeding them sweet feed and beet pulp at night when I put them up. I like the idea of a feeder for the hay. I wonder if I can make one... we've got tons of left over materials at the house from other projects.

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post #8 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 11:37 AM
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 11:50 AM
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go with either hay, and if you want to stretch it out use the slow feeders like the others said. I would keep giving beetpulp and a little less hay and cut out the sweetfeed and go for a vitamin/minernal supplement. This way if the hay is lacking the vitamins will cover it and the beetpulp will be a filler and is also high in fiber.
I like Hoffmans formula.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-14-2013, 12:34 PM
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Could you buy both? Mostly the "lower quality" but still give a bit of the better hay for the nutrition? And I like the idea of a slow feeder. My old boy isn't liking the course hay this year and I've really had to bump up his beet pulp and add oil to his diet
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