Feeding advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Feeding advice

I will be moving my horse to a closer barn next month. Currently he's on 24/7 pasture board with sweet feed 2x a day. He keeps a good weight there, but I can only get out to see him once a week, twice if I'm lucky.

So, at this new barn, I'll be able to see him every day. I work there as well, and I know the BO well and get along with her and everyone there.... There is one problem, though: I don't know enough about feeding to know if he's going to be getting what he needs here.

He will be stalled at the new barn, turnout 4-6+ hours a day, on grass. The hay isn't great quality, it's mostly yellow with some green and a tiny bit of brown stalks, too. I've talked to my trainer about it, and he suggested supplementing with Standlee alfalfa pellets, which aren't too expensive in this area. He said grain shouldn't be necessary.

The horses at the closer barn get fed 1 flake of hay in the morning, one at noon, and three at night. I'm going to buy him a hay net as well, to make sure he doesn't spend too much time doing nothing in his stall. Other than that, and maybe a salt block, I'm not sure what else I might need. My trainer said an all-around supplement (minerals, vitamins) with the alfalfa pellets should be good.... What do you all think? This is my first horse, and although I'd love to have him closer to home, I'd hate for him to end up with a deficiency of some sort.... Anyway, advice or suggestions would be appreciated, and thanks for taking the time to read this.
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post #2 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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More on the hay: I know it's suggested to feed by weight, but I don't think that is done at this barn, they all get fed pretty much the same amount of hay. If I had to guess I'd say each flake is maybe 3-5 lbs.
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post #3 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 02:45 PM
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Keep in mind that the nutritional quality of hay has nothing to do with the color (or smell). If you are concerned, have it tested before adding anything.
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post #4 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 02:51 PM
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it sounds like it may be a grass hay ? Some grass hays can be very high in protein, good fiber , and supplement with alfalfa pellets should be enough . I would wait until he is there, settled , and see if he drops any weight before adding any extra supplements. The iodized mineral salt blocks are good. Make sure there is a clean source of water.
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post #5 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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It's a Timothy mixture of some kind so yes, a grass hay. How would I go about having the hay tested?

I'm assuming I won't need to feed a great deal of alfalfa pellets, as long as he does keep his weight?
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post #6 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MyBoyFortune View Post
It's a Timothy mixture of some kind so yes, a grass hay. How would I go about having the hay tested?
Assuming you are in the U.S., your state agriculture department should have a testing service. Here is a link to the one in NC as an example NCDA&CS - Food & Drug Protection

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post #7 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I'm in Maryland. According to the closest location's website, they test hay for cows.... I'm guessing I could still get the hay tested there, however.
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post #8 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 04:08 PM
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Hay testing only makes sense if the facility has hay stored for the year. If they get smaller amounts, and from different sources, you'd need to test every new batch.
I would suggest a vit/ min supplement or, even better, a ration balancer, fed at around a lb a day, depending on weight of the horse, maybe mixed in with a couple of handfuls soaked alfalfa pellets, maybe a slowfeeder of some kind for the hay, and see from there. Should he be losing weight, you can up the alfalfa or add another feed, as needed.
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post #9 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm fairly certain we get our hay from different places. Is there a certain kind of ration balancer I should look out for, or are they all pretty much the same? I've heard of them and wondered if they might be an option, but I don't know much about RBs...
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post #10 of 28 Old 08-19-2013, 04:59 PM
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I have a very simplistic mind when it comes to feeding. All my horses get free choice hay and full access to a mineral block. They stay slick and healthy all year around. Even their winter fuzzies are shiny.

I think, if it were me, I'd start with just the hay and some form of mineral in either block form or loose minerals. If he starts to lag a bit as far as weight or doesn't seem to have enough energy, then I'd likely start adding some alfalfa pellets.
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