Feeding grain in pasture - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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Feeding grain in pasture

Its a long story, but my daughter & her husband are bringing three horses on our property. I just completed a new barn for them. (I started the barn before the boyfriend came along, now he is the husband) They travel 45 miles to get here on weekends, and it's my job to care for them through the week, I am in no way a horse person!
Simply, I am not interested in taking them in and out of their stalls to give them grain. They have a very nice run-in shed to keep them out of the elements if needed.
The horses will be brought on site for the first time today. A thorough bread mare, a "Heinz 57" mare, and a quarter horse gelding. The gelding will be new to the two mares. All are reported to get along well with other horses.
Will it be possible for me to just put their grain out for them in the pasture somehow, without having to monitor?
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 08:29 AM
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You can, but unless you stand there and watch, one may be more food aggressive than the others and run them off their meals. Which means one or more may not get enough to eat, while the other will get too much.

If you don't feel like stalling them, at least keep an eye on them while they eat. If you observe food aggressive behavior, either separate them or tie them to the fence and get hanging feed buckets.

I'm not sure why you agreed to take on their care and feeding, as you sound supremely uninterested and give off an irritated vibe.

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Last edited by Speed Racer; 10-13-2013 at 08:32 AM.
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post #3 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 09:05 AM
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Like speed said, possible but without monitoring, probably not. At least for awhile & maybe never depending on the horses themselves.

The few of my gang that get anything other than hay/pasture do get fed outside together but they know their hierarchy, as do I & we spent some time getting them so I could leave them but they stand back & wait while I dish out their meals and then go to their respective pans to eat without fuss. On the flip side, I also have some that if they were to get hard feed, they would come in to stalls to eat.

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post #4 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Speed Racer,

I don't mind helping out, BUT the facility I built was $100k plus. I built it for my somewhat learning disabled daughter, thinking she needed something to keep her occupied.

Well, there is the old saying every pot has a lid! My 22 y.o. daughter met a young man on a trail ride. It was the first boy she kissed, and she went home with him that night and "moved in"! I was concerned, but the young man was very similar to my daughter in many ways, and they both love horses. I was the "unapproving father", I didn't see her for 5 months. My wife would see them briefly each week just to be sure our daughter wasn't being abused. She was on birth control pills for menstrual issues, but apparently she wasn't completely compliant with them.

They got married at a JP, and I am going to be a Grandfather in April 2014. It is what it is! I was concerned about her being alone, and the young man dotes on her. I am accepting of the situation.

The horse barn was built for my daughter, who was to maintain it. I bought them a home near his work (45 miles away), and they will rent it from us. I suppose I could have had them live locally, but was afraid that my daughter would be around the house all the time and my wife would be raising the baby.

I would rather take care of a few horses! I'll get used to it! I'll get a bit of exercise to boot! I thought I would include a picture of the facility. I put up the fence, and did the stall stuff inside the barn.
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post #5 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 07:57 PM
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When I fed in a field I used to put an extra feed dish out. I'd spread them out a fairly good distance between each other and I would put an extra serving in that extra dish. It helped a lot because there is always one that wants to chase everyone from their food.

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post #6 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 08:59 PM
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I have 3 horses in my care, 2 are easy keepers and get alfalfa pellets + supplement, so I pasture feed them. I take the hard keeper in on a lead rope and tie him or hold his lead while he eats his grain, just to make sure he gets all the food he needs. If you're going to be feeding hay, something I do is toss 1 more pile than there are horses, and make sure they're all placed far apart (feed bowls too).
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post #7 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 09:22 PM
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Easy fix. On the fence feeders and double ended head ties with breakaway halters. Teach them to come to the fence and get clipped to eat. Although I don't care for halters in pastures and I'd teach them to be haltered, then you leave them to eat, unclip the halters and you hang them on the fence for the next feeding.
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post #8 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 09:49 PM
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I stand with a crop, feed 3 horses amongst a herd of 10. They learn routine very easily. Attend your task in the same manner each day. Feed the dominant horse first, and work your way down. You can feed in a line, but I prefer to feed in a loose circle around me. I stand in the middle and just my voice is enough to maintain order (because they know firsthand I'll back it up with that stick). Eating takes less than 5 minutes of my time.

But I've never tolerated herd bickering the moment I've entered the pasture. Humans enter = pause the politics.

Another question is will these horses even need grain?
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post #9 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 09:58 PM
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We feed out in the pasture all the time. The key I've found out is to space them out plenty (we don't have feeders so it just goes on the ground) and for a little while monitor them to familiarize yourself with herd dynamics. The lady who owns the facility stands out there occasionally and if a horse gets very food aggressive she throws a clump of mud at him/her. Usually she puts out an extra pile of grain/hay way off so that if any horse is pushed off it can go to that pile. Always worked for us and we've never really had any that we had to monitor while they were being fed. Now if you see one losing weight that might be a different story and you'd need to be out there or separate it but if they all get along and have their squabbles they should be fine with an extra pile if it's needed at all.
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-13-2013, 10:00 PM
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It sounds like the horses will have very different nutritional needs- thoroughbreds tend to be hard keepers, quarter horses easy, and the mix could be anywhere

Someone on this forum (a long time ago) had a picture of their setup- essentially three very narrow stalls built onto the fenceline for feeding. The stalls are essentially standing stalls, enough room for the horse to go in straight and back out, with a feed bucket at the front. If a horse leaves his and tries to go get another horse's food they end up right at the other horse's hindquarters allowing that horse to very easily defend himself. No need to tie.

Other options are to tie to the fence far enough apart that they can't fight, build separate very small paddocks each with its own gate (like a stall out in the field ), or use a nose bag (you'll need to supervise and take off when they're done).
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