Winter feeding my boys

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Winter feeding my boys

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        11-22-2010, 06:29 PM
    Winter feeding my boys

    I have a 1300lb quarter/app cross and a 140lb mini.

    Now that winter is here and the grass is getting snow covered, how much hay should the fellas be getting every day? My hay is very good quality and very high in protein.

    Both of them would eat until they exploded so I really can't do free choice. The little fella is somewhat chunky as it is, but I want to be sure they get enough to eat to keep warm.

    On nicer days they still get turned out for about 8 hours. On crappy days I will keep them in the barn.

    Ou winter temps can vary from +10 to -20C. Sometimes it rains, snows, hails or all at once. On these days I keep the boys inside.

    I have square bales stored so hay amounts in terms of square bales would be nice.

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        11-23-2010, 09:26 AM
    Originally Posted by LittlemanRob    
    My hay is very good quality and very high in protein.
    This is a subjective statement and not a quantitave statement. A forage test will give you hard #'s to base this statement on such that other people can give you proper advice.

    Really good hay you may only need 1% of body weight per day with turnout.
    Cheaper hay like your mini really needs, you need to feed more like 2-3% body weight per day.
        11-23-2010, 09:40 AM
    Production has some good points. I'd really like to see you get a lower quality "busy hay" in addition to your "good" hay. Get both it and your high octane hay tested and formulate a diet off of that.

    If the good hay is good enough you could get by with 1% of it a day, but you aren't really meeting your horses' physical needs with 15lbs of hay per day. More than likely they'll chew your barn down. Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't you already having problems with your mini doing that?

    I have 2 types of hay too. My high quality alfalfa/grass mix and a mature meadow hay. They each get 2/3rds of a bale per day. Morning feedind 1/3 of the grass/alfalfa mix and night feeding 1/3 of the mature meadow hay. The mature hay has a higher fiber value. Fiber has a greater heat increment (heat produced by digestion) than fat or protein so it keeps your horses warmer. If its really cold (below zero)/windy (above 10-15 mph)/snowy I'll give them a couple flakes of the mature during the day and a couple of flakes of the good stuff at night. These are approximately 50-60lb bales, so each horse is getting around 34-40 lbs per day of hay. I have a 1350 lb QH and a 800 (or so) lb Welsh. I'd feed the Welsh less if I could, but she's at a good weight so I haven't changed it.
        11-23-2010, 09:22 PM
    I do have what I call "filler hay" for the little guy which is very straw like and of a much lesser quality that my good hay. I feed him about 2/3 filler hay and 1/3 good stuff. I got it because he just kept getting fatter no matter what I did. His weight is actually coming down a bit now, which is a relief.

    Your memory is pretty good MN, but it was the little guy getting fat and the big guy was eating his stall. He's been good lately. I upped his intake and he is getting about 2/3 of a square bale a day, so I'd say 35-40 lbs. I'll throw in some of the filler hay to keep him busy.

    I forget the test results of the hay but I think the protein was around 20%. I'll ask my supplier for the details again and write it down this time LOL.
        11-23-2010, 10:41 PM
    Ahhhh... For some reason I thought it was the same horse!

    I'd say you're right in the ball park if you're feeding 2/3rds of a bale per day to your big guy. As I said just adjust the ratios of the hay types depending on the weather and how the horse's bodies feel. I make it a point to literally touch my horses to feel for their BCS at least once a week in the winter. A thick coat can hide a lot! Of course I mess with them more than that, but I actually concentrate on their fat reserves when I do my "check ups".

    Feeding horses is a combo of "Keep It Simple Stupid" and constant balancing based on the weather and workloads, but most horses (way more than people like to think) are perfectly happy on a forage diet and a minimal vitamin/mineral supplement.

    Did you figure out the deworming with the mini?
        11-23-2010, 10:58 PM
    Thanks MN. I'm getting the picture and its good to see I am in the ballpark. I had a fecal count done on the boys a few weeks back and there were 0 eggs/worms. It appears the DE is doing its job quite well. I will have another count done when it gets warmer to see if it is still doing the trick.

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