Time limit for allowing feeding on spring grasses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-07-2012, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Michigan
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Time limit for allowing feeding on spring grasses

We live in southern Michigan and it has been a very mild winter here. My horses stalls are open to a paddock which opens to their pasture. They are out 24/7 all winter and summer once the spring rush is over. I've just recently cut their time back in their pasture because the grass has come on strong. I've brought them up to about five hours per day and my pastures aren't that lush. I'm wondering if since my horses were actually grazing all winter would it be safe to just let them go all day long?
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-07-2012, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Southwest Missouri
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Even though your pasture is not lush with new grass growth what there is of it will contain high levels of fructose sugars. Winter grass pasture has almost no sugar content so its safe for horses to go out 24/7 on Winter grass. It would be a good idea to limit their time out on pasture this time of year.
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post #3 of 5 Old 04-07-2012, 08:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA
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i agree, the spring grass is way more rich than the grass in the fall and winter (and even the summertime grass). at the barn im at we are starting the horses at two hours a day to begin with and then increasing from there. i live in the northeast (USA) and we had a really mild winter as well.

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post #4 of 5 Old 04-07-2012, 08:21 AM
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Also in the NE-we have also gradually increase their time on the grass gradually this time of year. If you are already at 5 hours, you are well on your way. For those who live out 24/7, or we just want to stay out longer-we use grazing muzzles. SOme of ours need them all summer anyway, since they are prone to founder. Some of it is an individual thing.

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post #5 of 5 Old 04-07-2012, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Michigan
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Thanks everyone! Back when I first got horses I was told to never let my horses out on wet grass in the spring, wait till the sun dried off the dew. Now I'm hearing that the most dangerous time of day for high-level sugars in the spring is mid-day and it is best to let them out after 5:00 p.m. and bring them in by 10:00 a.m. Any thoughts on that? I will continue to bring them in during the day, maybe break up their pasture time to 5:00 am which is when I feed in the morning till noon and then let them out again around 5:00pm and bring them in around 9:00pm or so.

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