Hay vs. pellets - Page 3
 
 

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Hay vs. pellets

This is a discussion on Hay vs. pellets within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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        01-09-2013, 02:42 PM
      #21
    Trained
    Let me play devil's advocate here...

    Per the study:
    • Horses that have constant access to turnout and roughage in the form of hay or pasture rarely develop gastric ulceration.
    • Horses that are not in training, rarely develop gastric ulceration.
    • We suspect that the best prevention for gastric ulceration is to mimic, as best as possible, the life of a horse at free range. This translates into frequent small meals, a preponderance of roughage in the diet, and plenty of turnout.
    Mow, using my horses as an example: They eat their hay in about 2-2.5 hours. There may be a few blades here and there after that, but the large majority is eaten in 2 hours. Since they get their final meal at 4:30-5 PM (sunset here is 5 PM), they are finished by around 7-7:30 PM. The stomach, IIRC, empties in an hour, so by 8:30 they should have empty stomachs. From then until their morning feed, they go 10-11 hours with an empty stomach.

    If I feed them pellets in their bowls, they finish eating in an hour, maybe a little less. So they finish eating around 5:30-6PM, their stomach empties around 7 PM, and they go about 12 hours with empty stomachs. There is only an extra hour or 90 minutes of empty stomach time, or about a 10% increase in the maximum amount of time they have an empty stomach.

    Is that significant? I personally doubt it. They get no grazing time, are fed 3 times a day, and their final meal is fairly often pellets instead of hay...depends on the wind and weather forecast which meal they get their hay. I don't like to feed them hay when the wind is blowing 30 mph, because the darn idiots like to toss their hay into the air and half of it has blown out of the corral in 15 minutes.

    The pellets I feed them are a bermuda/alfalfa mix, fairly low grade by pellet standards.

    I have no intention of converting them over to 100% pellets. That just seems to weird to me. But I'm not convinced that 3 feedings a day of low grade, small pellet feed would hurt them any. Maybe it is the low quality of hay we're getting here now, but they are looking better since I upped their pellets from 1 feeding/day to 2, and cut back their hay accordingly...

    BTW, when we start getting better hay (May?), I'll up their hay ration. It just feels better to me, although I know of no proof.
    Tessa7707 likes this.
         
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        01-09-2013, 02:55 PM
      #22
    Trained
    I'm a firm believer in slowfeeder of any kind. I used to feed hay on the ground, basically free choice. When I came to Cali, with hay prices here, I had to change that. I weighed everything I put in, and next day raked together all leftovers and weighed those. Shock!! I threw away almost half!
    I made slowfeeder nets out of baling twine, keep them filled, and did the weighing. Down to 8% waste. Horse eat actually less( from 25 down to 15lbs a horse), eat slow and steady, nothing gets trampled, and are happy.
    Of course, me trying to be the super momma, I have 4 different types of hay, each has it's own net, nets hang on fenceposts, spread out, so there is a lot of movement also.
         
        01-09-2013, 03:02 PM
      #23
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
    your feeling is right. Horses are meant to eat little at a time, more or less constantly. Their stomachs produce acid constantly for that reason. If the stomach is empty for long, the acids will start eating the stomach lining = ulcers.
    Hay also gives them a lot of 'chew time' which is good for their teeth.
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        01-09-2013, 03:46 PM
      #24
    Weanling
    Slow feeders are super!
    Posted via Mobile Device
    deserthorsewoman likes this.
         
        01-09-2013, 04:02 PM
      #25
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares    
    Hay also gives them a lot of 'chew time' which is good for their teeth.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Yes it is - and its also good for their mental health as an eating horse is not going to be a bored horse looking for alternative ways to amuse itself - including wood chewing and cribbing
    The problem with ulcers is that so many people don't recognise the horse has them and attributes the fractious behaviour associated with pain and discomfort to other things
         
        01-09-2013, 07:19 PM
      #26
    Started
    I am firmly of the opinion horses need something to chew. I have no problem with them getting all their nutrition from pellets, complete feeds, beet pulp, supplements, etc, but in the between times, I still think they need something to chew so they don't chew up the corral, fences or beat each other up for lack of anything better to do.

    That "chew" could be poor quality hay, good quality hay, straw, etc. Just something that is non-toxic and edible. Obviously if it's good hay, they need less of the other stuff.
         
        01-09-2013, 09:15 PM
      #27
    Weanling
    The chewing makes a lot of sense too. So, for those of you that use slow feeders: I have always been told that horses need time to digest their food before you ride them. Anywhere from 1 to 3 hours after they are finished, so with slow feeding, when is it safe to ride them? Haven't had time to further research the ulcer thing, thanks bsms for your well thought out response!
         
        01-09-2013, 09:50 PM
      #28
    Trained
    The two to three hours is for very hard working horses who eat A LOT of grain. High level endurance horses being close to force fed fiber at any stop during competition.
         
        01-09-2013, 10:16 PM
      #29
    Weanling
    So, would it be safe to use a slow feeder, take them away before they are finished, use them for 1 to 3 hours of lessons, and then send them back to their paddock to finish eating after they are cool? Sorry if these seem like rudimentary questions, the slow feed concept is just very foreign to me. I have worked on a ranch with 70+, and at barns with anywhere from 2 or 20 horses, and they have all fed the same, more or less. Throw hay every 12 hours. Types of hay, grain, supplements and what not varied, but that's the just of it. So, thanks all for your patience with me :)
         
        01-09-2013, 10:23 PM
      #30
    Started
    My horse come in, eats hay and his few pounds of grain while I groom and tack up, then is ridden, cooled, then tossed back in the stall to eat more while I untack and finish up chores. I don't think it matters whether the food is in a slow feeder or not. Endurance horses eat and then run during every ride, and it's only if they DON'T do so that they're more likely to have issues.
         

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