Hay/feeding for an older (easy keeping) horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Hay/feeding for an older (easy keeping) horse

Alright... so I'm finally bringing my horse back home where I'm in control of feeding. For the past 4/5 months he's been switched around from staight brome to straight alfalfa hay (4 flakes a day) with absolutely no grain or supplements and has been doing fine (a little on the leaner side but by no form skinny).

Before he was moved he was kept on brome hay about 6 flakes a day, 4 pounds of grain (strategy) a day with joint and hoof supplements. Unfortunately I left my supplements in WY and am not sure when I'll get them back.

SO now that he's doing good on a smaller amount of feed I'm thinking about keeping him like that as long as he doesn't loose significant weight (but keep in mind he kept weight with this portion of hay through winter in Wyoming/Colorado!)

I'm thinking of switching him to purely Alfalfa 4/5 flakes a day and then putting him on a little bit of grain/hay stretcher to add some MSM for his joints (nothing wrong but a preventative as he's pigeon toed). What and how much should I do for grain? He's had absolutely no grain at all for long enough I don't think I'll need much. I was thinking of a hay stretcher to make sure he's going to be nutritionally balanced with his alfalfa.

He is a 17 year old 1200 lb. Paint.

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post #2 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 10:49 AM
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If you feed straight alfalfa then your Ca:P ratio will not be balanced. You can balance it by feeding grass hays. It's easy to stay balanced with a diet like grass & Strategy because they make Strategy for a grass diet. They used to make an alfalfa formula, but I don't know if they do anymore.

When I lived in a state where I fed alfalfa, I always fed 50/50 alfalfa/grass hay and I bought straight alfalfa and straight bermuda grass hays. Part of the reason I fed the grass was to also keep the horse busy chewing and eating small meals all day. They tend to eat their alfalfa ration and then have several hours of nothing between meals if you only feed alfalfa. Are you going to have your horse out on pasture during the parts of the day when he's not being fed? If he's not going to be on pasture, I recommend some kind of grass hay to keep is gut healthy.

You may find on the straight alfalfa diet, as he's losing weight now, that you need something like Strategy to hold him at the weight you want him at when he gets there. That's perfect to put the supps in, you'll just kind of have to feel out how much Strategy to feed him when that time comes. Might be 1 pound, might be 3, you'll only be able to tell when that time comes.

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post #3 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
If you feed straight alfalfa then your Ca:P ratio will not be balanced. You can balance it by feeding grass hays. It's easy to stay balanced with a diet like grass & Strategy because they make Strategy for a grass diet. They used to make an alfalfa formula, but I don't know if they do anymore.

When I lived in a state where I fed alfalfa, I always fed 50/50 alfalfa/grass hay and I bought straight alfalfa and straight bermuda grass hays. Part of the reason I fed the grass was to also keep the horse busy chewing and eating small meals all day. They tend to eat their alfalfa ration and then have several hours of nothing between meals if you only feed alfalfa. Are you going to have your horse out on pasture during the parts of the day when he's not being fed? If he's not going to be on pasture, I recommend some kind of grass hay to keep is gut healthy.

You may find on the straight alfalfa diet, as he's losing weight now, that you need something like Strategy to hold him at the weight you want him at when he gets there. That's perfect to put the supps in, you'll just kind of have to feel out how much Strategy to feed him when that time comes. Might be 1 pound, might be 3, you'll only be able to tell when that time comes.
I've thought about going halfsies but I'm not sure if that's going to work in the situation I'm in. I don't have a lot of room to store hay and I want to try to buy in as much bulk as I can. Grass hay is also a little more expensive right now, and I really liked my horses energy level on Alfalfa.

The reason I think he's been losing the little weight he has is because the last 2 months he's been in a pasture with some friends horses (in Colorado, pasture isn't like here in Nebraska) and he's sort of a 'bottom of the totem pole' type of guy. They also fed brome hay, but the same quantity he was getting of alfalfa before (4 flakes a day).

To be honest, I am pretty tight as far as finances are concerned. If I can feed less of one hay and help him keep weight on rather than having to feed more of another, I want to do that. That's where a hay stretcher comes in, I was thinking if I could give him a little of that plus the Alfalfa that should be plenty to keep him round and healthy. But with Alfalfa would it be better to go with a more balanced grain such as Strategy?

Take a ride across the badlands
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by OuttatheBlue View Post
I've thought about going halfsies but I'm not sure if that's going to work in the situation I'm in. I don't have a lot of room to store hay and I want to try to buy in as much bulk as I can. Grass hay is also a little more expensive right now, and I really liked my horses energy level on Alfalfa.

The reason I think he's been losing the little weight he has is because the last 2 months he's been in a pasture with some friends horses (in Colorado, pasture isn't like here in Nebraska) and he's sort of a 'bottom of the totem pole' type of guy. They also fed brome hay, but the same quantity he was getting of alfalfa before (4 flakes a day).

To be honest, I am pretty tight as far as finances are concerned. If I can feed less of one hay and help him keep weight on rather than having to feed more of another, I want to do that. That's where a hay stretcher comes in, I was thinking if I could give him a little of that plus the Alfalfa that should be plenty to keep him round and healthy. But with Alfalfa would it be better to go with a more balanced grain such as Strategy?
Will he be in stall/run 24/7 or will he get some pasture time?

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post #5 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Will he be in stall/run 24/7 or will he get some pasture time?
No real pasture, He'll have a stall and large run and turned out in a dry lot. They're trying to make an actual pasture for the future, but that's at least a year away.

Take a ride across the badlands
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 01:04 PM
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No real pasture, He'll have a stall and large run and turned out in a dry lot. They're trying to make an actual pasture for the future, but that's at least a year away.
Can you buy him a big round bale or large square bale of grass hay for his run or dry lot? It's pretty important to keep something in front of him 24/7 for his digestive health. I've learned the hard way that it's a lot cheaper to pay the feed store than the vet.

I know grass is expensive right now, I'm down in OK going on my 3rd year of drought and paying for grass through the nose. I don't feed alfalfa anymore because of blister beetles, so it's really killing us down here.

If you can free feed him grass and then give him alfalfa a couple times/day then you can get by with a handful of some type of grain to be a treat when he gets his supplements.

For me, down here, the least expensive way to feed has been to use large round bales in the what used to be pastures, now pretty much all dry lots, and then I either give them about 3-4 lbs of Strategy out in pasture if it's nice or I bring them into the barn and feed small squares of grass plus Strategy if it's storming out. Small squares are running about $11/50 lbs bale and big rounds are running about $120 now. I have 10 horses, so I spend a fortune at the feed store, but 1 horse sick will cost me more than an entire month's feed bill.

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post #7 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 01:05 PM
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Too much alfalfa and he can get a condition called Big Head, and yes, his head will get bigger. As previosly mentioned that's because there's an imbalance of minerals. Timothy is another good grass hay if availiable, probably the hay most fed in north america. Hay needs to make up the bulk of his diet for his gut to work properly.
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Can you buy him a big round bale or large square bale of grass hay for his run or dry lot? It's pretty important to keep something in front of him 24/7 for his digestive health. I've learned the hard way that it's a lot cheaper to pay the feed store than the vet.

I know grass is expensive right now, I'm down in OK going on my 3rd year of drought and paying for grass through the nose. I don't feed alfalfa anymore because of blister beetles, so it's really killing us down here.

If you can free feed him grass and then give him alfalfa a couple times/day then you can get by with a handful of some type of grain to be a treat when he gets his supplements.

For me, down here, the least expensive way to feed has been to use large round bales in the what used to be pastures, now pretty much all dry lots, and then I either give them about 3-4 lbs of Strategy out in pasture if it's nice or I bring them into the barn and feed small squares of grass plus Strategy if it's storming out. Small squares are running about $11/50 lbs bale and big rounds are running about $120 now. I have 10 horses, so I spend a fortune at the feed store, but 1 horse sick will cost me more than an entire month's feed bill.
A round bales a good option actually. In the dry lot I'd be paying to feed other peoples horses, so I'd prefer not to do that. I could do it in his run, his run is pretty big. I'm only concerned about mold and stuff. His run in on a hill, this highest part being a part of the barn, the low point is a gate next to another run where the other horse could eat it. Any way to keep it dry?

Take a ride across the badlands
Feel that freedom on your face - Breathe in all that open space
You'll understand why God made -Those fly over states
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by OuttatheBlue View Post
A round bales a good option actually. In the dry lot I'd be paying to feed other peoples horses, so I'd prefer not to do that. I could do it in his run, his run is pretty big. I'm only concerned about mold and stuff. His run in on a hill, this highest part being a part of the barn, the low point is a gate next to another run where the other horse could eat it. Any way to keep it dry?
Big Bale Buddy,Round Bale Feeder

This is the cheapest way I have found, short of building a shelter. This really helps with waste and wet, I use 3 of them. I was going through a LOT more hay before I got these, they've been well worth the modest expense.

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post #10 of 17 Old 01-30-2013, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Big Bale Buddy,Round Bale Feeder

This is the cheapest way I have found, short of building a shelter. This really helps with waste and wet, I use 3 of them. I was going through a LOT more hay before I got these, they've been well worth the modest expense.
Will this protect it from rain? I'm thinking if I got something like this then put it on a wooden platform to keep it off the ground it might be okay?

Take a ride across the badlands
Feel that freedom on your face - Breathe in all that open space
You'll understand why God made -Those fly over states
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