How do you hay? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-29-2012, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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How do you hay?

Sounds like a stupid question.

I like my horses to have plenty of hay. They don't work hard, Simba is on the leadrein and Bandit gets ridden out a handful of times a month so I don't like to give them too much hard feed. I like the boys to have plenty of roughage and tend to give them plenty to keep them going into the night.

I get to the yard about 6pm every evening when I am finished work. I find it slightly odd that by 6pm none of the other horses will have any access to hay throughout the night. The old man who tips about makes comments about me giving my lads more hay and says they have enough during the day.

How do you all hay? Do you like them to be able to nibble away as they like? Or do you find it normal that a horse will go for approx 14 hours with no hay/feed? I'm only curious as I start to question the way I do things, when I see others doing it so differently.

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post #2 of 27 Old 06-29-2012, 05:56 PM
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Horses normally spend 18+ hours a day grazing and really should have something in their gut at least every few hours. We feed free choice hay, all they can eat, to supplement the pasture grass.


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post #3 of 27 Old 06-29-2012, 08:56 PM
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I was a bit confused at first - I read the title with "hay" meaning how do you mow, bale and store hay (where I grew up, "haying" meant actually harvesting your hay).
Anyway - we have switched to rounds starting this past winter, so it's just a matter of dropping a new bale out there every two weeks (three in the summer heat, they have slowed down on eating). Prior to that, when we used squares, we would put hay out morning and evening, enough that there would be just a little left by the next feeding. We have a manger in our stall and would also put some outdoors so they could choose to "graze" the hay piles outside or have a snack while in the barn.
My personal preference is to have hay available at all times - horses are meant to take in and digest on a constant cycle, long gaps between feed may be convenient for humans, but is not necessarily best for the horse.
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-29-2012, 08:57 PM
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I only give hay during the winter months or if they graze the pastures to nothing in the summer.
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-29-2012, 10:54 PM
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Free choice. Be it via round bales or squares. I prefer rounds however because rolling a round out every few days is "easier" than hand delivering fourteen horses square bales twice daily ;)

Horses are designed to eat often. Its best to let them do so IMO.
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-29-2012, 11:01 PM
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I try to give enough so that my horse always has hay in front of him. My horse is pretty much an average keeper and gets very little grain. The longer a horse's stomach is empty, the more prone they will be to ulcers, which can cause other behavior issues because of the pain, unthriftiness, and colic. Hay's cheaper than any of that stuff. I will make sure my horse 'cleans up' a couple of nights a week by going light on the hay, but I shoot for just short enough that he eats all the leftovers but isn't out of hay for hours.
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-29-2012, 11:04 PM
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Mine graze 24/7, and get enough hay to keep them in good flesh even if there is no grazing. I make sure at night to give them plenty in their stalls, which they like to stand in even though they aren't shut in.
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post #8 of 27 Old 07-01-2012, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all. I've always given horses enough to let them munch away contently, but just question things when I see it being done differently.

Our summer is that bad that they are both stabled during the night and the turn out situation has changed and is frustrating me. The Barn owner has sowed the two big fields in barley. Now there is very little turn out and my two are out with one other pony (a teaser who makes my life difficult) is what was meant to be an arena; that hasn't had the footing put down yet. It's quite a small space and I throw them hay in the morning when they are turned out.

I'm just amazed every evening that they aren't hayed again. The old man makes snide comments about me "wasting hay on my ponies".

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post #9 of 27 Old 07-01-2012, 11:32 AM
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My horse is kept stalled except for 3-4 hours of turnout daily. He gets hay 3 times daily. Whenever I'm there I fill up his slow feeder net, which keeps him happily eating longer, but the stablehands won't fill it up for me- they just toss the hay over the stall door.
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post #10 of 27 Old 07-01-2012, 05:00 PM
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I like them to always have something to munch on as well. When I do feed hay it is in small mesh hay nets. Candy is slowly being introduced to grass pasture right now. One flake of our hay is around 5 lbs, so half a flake is 2.5. At about 8:20 she gets half a flake (all feedings in hay net) then another half flake at around 10:30, and at noon she gets turned out for however amount of time. She is currently at 3 hrs of grass turnout, adding 1.5 hours each day. When she gets brought in, another half flake, and then 2-3 hrs later gets another half flake, all the way up to 10 pm. Sounds obsessive, but tis a horse friendly schedule!! People have made fun of me and how often I make sure my horses get fed, but anything for the horse, right?

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