Perplexed about weight in a group on pasture

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Perplexed about weight in a group on pasture

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    • 1 Post By alexischristina

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        06-17-2013, 08:06 PM
    Perplexed about weight in a group on pasture

    This is my first post so please be kind and I hope I am in the right place.

    Here is the dilema, I have 3 pastures each with a group of 5 mares. First 2 groups are uber fat, all thoroughbreds or crosses and vet even thinks they are alittle too overweight and are just out on pasture and watertubs and run-in sheds.

    3rd group is my problem child group. Mix of Thoroughbreds, Morgan and a TN Walker. 17 acres, tree line on 3 sides for protection so no run in shed, creek and natural spring so no water tub. These mares are losing weight. They are not skinny mind you but could use 50-100 lbs each not like the other 2 groups of fatso's. They also are not eating the pasture down to barespots. (I know that is not good to have done, but in each of the other groups, you can easily find the good spots where they graze the most) 2 of the mares have rashes on their noses as well. Vet told me to mow the pasture down to about 2-3 inches and give them another month. Pasture is now about 6" tall and is starting to grow flowers or the grass is getting seed heads. He didn't seem overly concerned but I want to stop this now and not when they lose another 50 lbs.

    Ideas, thoughts, suggestions? If it was only one horse I could find a reason but all 5? I am missing something here and vet is less than helpful

    Thank you
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        06-17-2013, 08:11 PM
    Different quality of grass, maybe? Something in the grass- too many weeds they wont eat, animal pee / poo? Some horses are just harder keepers than others are and might need extra graining... Either way, I'd mow the grass down, get rid of the bulk of the weeds / grass heads they don't like and see if they start grazing more. If all else fails could you move horses around?
    JCnGrace likes this.
        06-18-2013, 05:16 PM
    First thought would be worms I would run a fecal egg count on them. You might have a group with resistant parasites who are sucking them down. If its all in the same pasture that are all underweight than lower quality pasture and hard keepers, I would start to add hay or grain to their rations.
        06-18-2013, 05:20 PM
    Green Broke
    What is the water source for the fatties ? Is it the same natural spring ? Or is it from a different source. Is there raccoons etc that could be contaminating the water ? I would check out the water , deworm the bunch of them.
        06-18-2013, 05:30 PM
    Green Broke
    Could be some variety of parasite in their natural water source that's causing the issue OR since they don't have run-ins it could be bugs.

    My Morgan drops weight like you wouldn't believe in Summer while everyone else in the same field get FAT. Turns out that the bugs bother him so much that he's too busy running, stomping and being mad that he doesn't eat. Wrapped him head to toe in fly protection and guess who is just as fat as everyone else this year?
        06-18-2013, 05:32 PM
    Green Broke
    As Stevenson mentioned - check out the spring. Where does the water come from? Is it collecting surface water run off from some place that may have contaminant in it? In addition, since there is no shelter with the second group of horses, insects may be problematic for them and they spend a lot of their time moving around to get away from them.
        06-18-2013, 05:33 PM
    Why not flip pastures with one of the fattie herds while you figure it out? Testing the grass of all three might shed some clues. I have some rather large spots our herd won't touch, no matter how far they graze down the good stuff. Soured grass, I think the term is. We mowed it really short for an entire summer before they'd finally eat it.
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