Horses going through hay wicked fast - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-19-2012, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Horses going through hay wicked fast

My mare by herself eats close to nothing compared to my gelding. Whenever I put hay in the paddock it's gone so fast with him - they share a paddock. I bought a round hay bale (approx. 500 lbs) Sunday, and it was completely gone by this afternoon. This is the fastest they've ever gone through hay, and I spent $80 on it, and I cannot afford to keep giving them bale after bale after bale be it round or square. Does anyone have any recommendations of certain slow hay feeders? I saw the Freedom Feeders, and willing to give them a try with some good reviews. They're a little pricey, but if the big bale bag works like it says it does (last roughly 1000lb horse 5-7 days), then the $85 would be so worth it. Or if there is anything that works the same I'm willing to give it a go. And would slow feeding hay be any different then free choice just on the ground? I am slowly starting to gain weight on my gelding (just a little ribby), and I don't want him to drop any. Will this affect his weight?
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 01:50 AM
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Well, I would have to guess the estimated bale weight is wrong...or I misunderstood and you have more than two horses. Either way, it probably has little nutritional value. It would be less expensive to purchase alfalfa and feed it by the appropriate amount per horse 3 times a day (not free choice)..and they would get far more nutrition.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 01:57 AM
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I have your answer :) slow feed Hay bags. Just bought a bunch and they work great. I tie them to trees, stalls and even bought one for a round bale. works great except I need to make repairs once in awhile . I searched the world to find the cheapest ones. if your interested I will send you the links.
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 06:55 AM
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I'm curious about the size of your bales as well.

I feed 800 lb. bales, and have two horses and a 10 hand pony.

Just putting the bale out on ground, the bale would last 7 days, using a round bale feeder, not a slow feeder, takes it to 10 - 12 days by eliminating waste. This math works for me; I assume the horses eat about 35 pounds per day, or 2/3 of a standard square, and the pony eats 10 - 12, also 80 pounds per day, 800 pound bale lasts 8 days. It may also be worth mentioning that my guys eat no grain or concentrates, have their heads in the bale non stop, and are in good flesh bordering on fat.

So I seriously question both the bale weight and the quality of the hay. If they're both eating 100 lbs + a piece, they should be waddling!

All thatn said, a slow feeder will probably pay for itself in a season and is a great idea.
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 07:06 AM
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Are they used to having hay constantly in front of them? I feed squares up until winter. When I drop the first round bale, they will go through it pretty fast but after that they calm down. There is always a bale in front of them unlike squares in the summer.
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 07:11 AM
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80 dollars? You paid better than twice the price.

I use rounds and the first bale of the season usually disappears quick. When they figure out the food isn't going away they slow down.

If the slow feeder is lasting a horse 5-7 days they are feeding a lot of something else. I have 3. One is a small and elderly pony, a large pony and a 16 hand horse. Once the grass is gone I will go through your average 45 lb bale of mixed grass hay a day. Extended subzero cold snaps can double the consumption. Cold winter rain will up the hay intake too.
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 07:18 AM
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I tried a hay hut for three weeks and still seen a lot of waste but was told it was due to having only 2 horses. My next try is a cinch sack. Waiting for it to come now. My friend just bought one and loves it. She is using hers without a ring but mine will still be put in the round bale feeder.

$80 would be cheap for round here this year. Average I think in my area is $150 for a round. Last year I got 16 really nice big bales off my brothers 10 acres... this year... 3 :(
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 08:03 AM
Green Broke
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New England had a bumper hay crop this year. They were even still able to take a cut last week. The slightly drier than normal weather was great for hay. Now the dew is too heavy and any baled would be for cattle. Just not enough drying happening.

While there are colder parts of the country, winters here are cold and wet. Wet makes you cold. Hay is the thing that feeds the furnace keeping a horse warm. I would skimp on grain/feed before I'd skimp on hay.

Last winter was really mild here. I can't remember a warmer one. But...warmer also meant freezing rain storms instead of heavy wet snow. I only used slightly less hay than a snowy, normal winter.
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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This is their third round bale. First one lasted 7 days, second 5 days and now this one 2 days. My mare has always had hay readily available to her, and since my gelding has been here he has also (only been about five months since I got him). He just woofs it down so fast. Will a slow net feeder be okay for their weight? I know they say its like being put out to pasture when you feed them with one, but I feel like my horses eat a lot more in pasture then they'd be gettng with the feeder.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-20-2012, 02:51 PM
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buy the slow feed hay nets and fill them up twice a day with appropriate amount of food. My mares go through 40-50 lbs a day when on free choice rounds. But with 15 horses its just not feasable to fill up bags for each horse.
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