Is it "normal" for a horse to occasionally go "off it's feed?"

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Is it "normal" for a horse to occasionally go "off it's feed?"

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    05-07-2012, 07:37 PM
Green Broke
Is it "normal" for a horse to occasionally go "off it's feed?"

I'm a little worried about Cinny. He hasn't eaten his hay in about 2 days. He IS drinking and he IS eating his grain and alfalfa pellets. He will also graze if I take him outside, he just doesn't seem to want HAY. I checked through my hay and it all seems fine. Had a couple other people at my stable check through it, they found nothing wrong. Tried feeding him off another bale, no dice. Tried feeding him some from a friend's hay that is from another grower... wouldn't eat that either. Other horses that are eating from the same lot/grower of hay as Cin are eating fine and they will even eat the stuff Cin isn't eating with no problems.

I remember this time (May) of last year he refused hay for about a week, and then suddenly went right back on it. Never could figure that one out. He also has recently been treated for ulcers and finished the meds a week ago. He is now getting SmartGut for maintenance. He doesn't seem uncomfortable, and isn't behaving nasty like he was before the ulcer treatment. He seems fine in every way, he just won't eat hay.

Could this be because I've added Alfalfa pellets to his morning grain (his grain has been cut in half since the ulcer/gastric reflux issue) and he's just getting full from the alfalfa? This is something the vet recommended for the tummy trouble as well as the lunch time pellets.

This is his daily ration
SmartGut and Smart BugOff (smartpak)
2 flakes brome/prairie hay
1/2 scoop Strategy Healthy Edge (it's different than regular strategy)
1/2 to 1 scoop alfalfa pellets (I started giving him extra when he stopped eating hay)

Lunch 1 scoop alfalfa

2 flakes brome/prairie nay
1/2 scoop purina strategy healthy edge
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    05-07-2012, 07:48 PM
Green Broke
OH, I guess I should add that Cin has been really gassy the past 2 days too. I don't mean little toots as he trots either, I mean loud explosive farts that make other horses in the arena jump and/or spook and leave the riders surprised that he didn't blow the side out of our indoor!
    05-07-2012, 07:56 PM
Has there been a recent change in the hay lately? This is around the time of year when we start getting bales of this year's first cutting, and that might be putting him off. If that's the case I'd try to get some of last year's cut to move him over more gradually and watch him. If that's not the case or his "I don't like different hay" hunger strike lasts more than a few days, then I'd be calling the vet.

It could be the alfalfa pellets filling him up for sure, how many pounds of strategy is he getting?

In the end my money's on him just not liking the first fresh cut of the year - especially since he did this last year. If nothing else explains it I would just be ready for it next year and hold on to some old bales to acclimate him to the new stuff.
    05-07-2012, 08:01 PM
Originally Posted by Cinnys Whinny    
OH, I guess I should add that Cin has been really gassy the past 2 days too. I don't mean little toots as he trots either, I mean loud explosive farts that make other horses in the arena jump and/or spook and leave the riders surprised that he didn't blow the side out of our indoor!
^^ further reinforces my guess. Are the other horses a little 'noisier' than usual? We'd get a lot of cow patties this time of year as well, especially since I'm accustomed to an urban boarding situation where there is no pasture and you're feeding hay year round; the switch from last year's third cut to fresh first cut can really do a number on their bellies.
    05-07-2012, 08:12 PM
Green Broke
He is still working on last years last cutting, I don't have any new hay yet. We are moving in about a month to another state and I have enough of this batch to last until then. With the tummy issue already at hand, I didn't want to switch his hay now, and then have it switch again in only another month. One switch is bad enough on him ha ha.

I'm not sure how many "pounds" of strategy or alfalfa pellets he is getting. I use one of those store bought scoopers that you get at the feed store. I believe it is a 3 quart scoop. The strategy only gets filled halfway. Alfalfa normally just halfway but I upped it since he didn't eat his hay. We have a show coming up in 2 weeks and I thought that it will help keep him from loosing too much from not eating.

I also just remembered he gets ProBios every morning too.
    05-07-2012, 09:40 PM
Green Broke
Yup... just got word, he's not eating his dinner hay. The grain is gone, but he's not eating the hay and is just gazing out his window and ignoring it :(
    05-07-2012, 10:56 PM
This might be a weird suggestion, but have you tried feeding from a hay net?

I have a small mesh hay net for my horse, but the feeders where I board won't fill it, so it only gets used when I go to the barn about every other day. When I get there, there will often be quite a bit of hay in his stall that he completely ignores. But when I refill his net he'll happily sit in front of it munching for hours on end. It seems strange to me that he'd prefer eating out of a slow feeder net, maybe I just have a strange horse
    05-07-2012, 11:02 PM
How are his teeth? When were they last done? I usually see it in older horses, but a lot of the time if they are having trouble chewing, and they see they have something easier to eat, the just ignore the hay.
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    05-07-2012, 11:12 PM
Green Broke
I have hay nets,but he doesn't particularly like them. He will it from them but usually he will find a way to rip it open and dump the hay.

He had his teeth done about 3 months ago. He has also had a recent exam after starting the ulcer mess to make sure they were doing the job. This isn't the first time he has done this,last time it only lasted a few days.

I have just never had a horse do this before unless they were extremely ill and then they wanted nothing. He looks and acts completely normal,eats drinks and is chipper, just wont eat hay.
    05-07-2012, 11:17 PM
No change in the hay yet eh? That's a weird one. Does he get turned out on grass or have access to any weird plants? Maybe some sort of allergy? Seems odd that he did this last May as well, makes think it must be some sort of environmental factor...

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