Weaning onto grass pasture - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-29-2010, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Question Weaning onto grass pasture

My horse may be moving barns. Her current barn only has mud lots that they put hay out in, but this new barn has green grass pastures (YAY!)

But I want to make sure she doesn't go gorge herself on the grass and founder or anything like that, sooooo my question is...what's a reasonable grazing schedule to wean her onto the grass in a safe manner? Should I invest in a grazing muzzle/how often should she use it and how long should it take before she is grazing all day on the pasture?

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post #2 of 9 Old 07-29-2010, 09:03 AM
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It takes time and careful monitoring. Also depends on if yours is a horse who will tolerate lots of yummy grass (ie not a mini or a pony that may not ever tolerate lots of it). We increase by about an hour every couple of days, watching them closely. This means lots of running back and forth, I am afraid. I would not trust a grazing muzzle-they get them off too easily, so they are not dependable, at least not something I would trust with my horses health. We are fortunate to be able to easily move them onto areas with more grass and back to less as needed without much fuss.
Good luck! And here's hoping yours doesn't get too fat and happy on grass as mine are!

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post #3 of 9 Old 07-29-2010, 09:15 AM
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Something I have always done when changing from hay to grass is feed them really good with hay before you put them in the pasture to start changing them over, that way they will have a full belly and not be so quick to gorge on the grass. I always do a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night after they have been fed their hay, then some time in the afternoon, until they can eat grass without hay.
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-29-2010, 09:19 AM
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definitely do it slowly. Start out with a short time period, like a half hour for the first day, could be even shorter if you wanted - and day by day add a little more to each time incriment.

There are a few horses at the barn I board at how have Grazing Muzzles on, and they do well in them. They are "Irish Sport Horses" if that's what you want to call them...very large and very drafty who require weight control. And there is a small little precious pony who wears one as well because she founders quite easily without.

They have this one, the Best Friends Grazing Muzzle:


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post #5 of 9 Old 07-29-2010, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! My mare is 14.1 and about 1,000 lbs and a very easy keeper for the most part. She's not on a whole lot of feed, just oats and a vitamin supplement (she is allergic to soy and molasses so that's pretty much all I can feed her in the way of a grain!). Right now she gets hand grazed on grass but only for about 30-45 mins, not out all day with grass -- turned out with hay in the pasture.

So we'll certainly be taking it slowly, especially at the start! I don't need my little show pony foundering!!

"The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you..."
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-04-2010, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Update: We are definitely moving to the new barn, yay! I've been slowly hand grazing her outside in the grass each day at our current barn, started with 15 mnis, then 20, 30, 45, and now we're at an hour of grazing a day.

My question is...before I take her to this new place and let her out on grass pasture all day long, what should my "build up" schedule be? Should I go 1 1/2 hrs, 2 hrs, 2 1/2 hrs, etc etc until I get up to a full day? And should that be each day, every other day, once a week, etc?

At our current place, it's hard because I have to hand graze, there are NO pastures or enclosures that have grass in them, so I can't just turn her out for a couple hrs and come back, I have to stand there for 2 hrs and graze her myself. So I'm thinking it may just be easier to have the new barn wean her onto the pasture for me, since they can turn her out in a small grass paddock for 2 hrs, take her in, put her out 3 hrs after a few days, take her back in, etc.

Thoughts?? We move to the new place Sep. 1st :)

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post #7 of 9 Old 08-05-2010, 07:30 AM
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Be aware that all grass isn't the same. The grass at your current barn maybe better grass or might not be as good a grass. I would still wean her at the new barn slowly. First thing she's going to be stressed about the move, new barn buddys, and finding her place in the herd (if she's turned out with others) so her system will be out of whack for a few weeks until she settles in. So be careful for the first month.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-05-2010, 08:37 AM
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When I put my horses out in the grass field this summer it took almost a month to build them up from 15 minutes to 4 hours. Once they're at 4 hours you can let them go out however long you would like.

They went out for 15, 20, 30, 45, 60 minutes at first, then 1:15, 1:30, 1:45, 2, 2:15, etc. They spent a day or 2 at each time interval....

-Melanie
Mom to 3 bays: Beau, Daisy & Cavalina
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-05-2010, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks!!
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