Older horse needs separate feeding area - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 09-11-2011, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Older horse needs separate feeding area

Hi, I have an older horse who has become very hard to keep any weight on. Vet says she's just fine, but she doesn't defend her food and eats VERY slowly. I've started giving her Equine Sr. and want to increase the amount and add alfalfa pellets, but the problem is, she eats so slow that I can't stand around and fend off the other horses she's with. There's no current way to separate them, unfortunately, so I want to ask my husband to design a "creep feeder" for old girls. Has anyone built or fashioned some kind of a structure to keep the other out, let her eat until she's full, and then let her rejoin the herd? It never used to be a problem where we had them all pastured, but now the arrangement isn't as flexible. And the fatties, of course, are more agressive and are horning in on her feed. TIA for any suggestions.

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post #2 of 27 Old 09-11-2011, 09:58 PM
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Does she "have" to be in with the other horses? It might be beneficial to keep her in a separate paddock that shares a fence line with the other horses, or separate her with maybe one laid back buddy.
That's basically what I do with my mare (26 years old). She lives with two llamas (they provide that herd security feeling for her but other than that they don't really pal around) and shares a portion of fence line with two younger mares. She is very happy with this arrangement. She spends most of her time near the fence with the other mares but she does wander around the field grazing on a regular basis.
She used to live in a herd of about 5 others and she got pushed off her food all the time, but now that she's not getting pushed off, I have a hard time keeping the weight off! haha She also seems a lot more secure when she's by herself. I'd imagine that getting pushed off of food all the time is very stressful, poor girls!

Anyway, if that could work for you I'd definitely suggest giving it a try. :)

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post #3 of 27 Old 09-12-2011, 03:27 AM
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Could you not put a halter on her and remove her from the field for feeding?
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post #4 of 27 Old 09-12-2011, 08:42 AM
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I would find a way to keep her by herself during feeding. Do you have a place you could tie her away from the reach of others while feeding?

She needs the grain and by the sounds of it the others do not need as much. By the others getting into the grain they could be getting way more then they need and that is not healthy either.

I am not sure of a creep feeder design that would safely keep out the others.

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post #5 of 27 Old 09-12-2011, 08:49 AM
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I can not think of a feeder that would allow her to eat and not allows others (other than a feed bag right on her face). If they can chase her off they can eat out of it, unless they are a totally different sized head than her.

Is it an option to separate her for an hour a day so she can eat her grain at her pace? Maybe put her in her own place (build something), go inside and get ready for work and before you leave let her back out with the others.
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post #6 of 27 Old 09-12-2011, 08:58 AM
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Ditto all the great ideas to separate her or somehow make extra time to halter her so she can eat in peace:) There just isn't any other way.
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post #7 of 27 Old 09-12-2011, 09:06 AM
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If your husband can build things, have him fence off a corner of the pasture that you can bring her into, feed her and let her eat in peace, even if it takes an hour or more, then turn her back loose with the others.
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post #8 of 27 Old 09-12-2011, 10:50 AM
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Creep feeders are meant for small critters. Foals and calves.

If she won't tolerate a feed bag, you will need to bring her out or tie the others up at feed time.

It's up to us to care properly for our geriatric critters.
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post #9 of 27 Old 09-12-2011, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Hi, everyone, Thanks so much for all your replies. Here is the problem. Where they are now is just one field. They all (7) necessarily have to be together. She used to be the boss mare, so NO ONE got her food. She now tolerates her two children nosing in there like they were 1-year-olds. Also, we don't live where they're pastured. I go every morning and give her her Equine Sr. and wait over an hour for her to finish. While I do that, I brush everyone and add the fly spray and tend scratches on Em's socks - you know, "the usual." And while I do all this, I fend off the intruders. So she's getting 4 pounds of Sr. each morning, and then she's full. She'll browse a bit on hay, but it's safe for me to leave then. Then I go back every night and feed just hay because I simply cannot spend another hour plus waiting for her to finish another bowl of Sr. So all that said, the option HAS to be something I invent for her to go into and then get out of by herself. I'm thinking a chute of some sort that she can back out of when she's done. And when I come up with it, I'll post a picture and file my patent!!!!!!! But if anyone has ideas, I hope you'll share them. I love this old girl so much, and she's just so darn cute....and so **** slow!!!! Again, thanks for your input. Diane
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post #10 of 27 Old 09-12-2011, 11:00 AM
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No ideas. Just you figuring a way to reschedule your life to involve a little more time at the barn.
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feeding queries , older horse , thin horse

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