How do you hay? - Page 3

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How do you hay?

This is a discussion on How do you hay? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Is it ok to give a horse free choice hay when they're on grass 8 hours a day
  • Spring cut hay

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    07-15-2012, 12:22 PM
I like free choice, too. My guys are dry lotted (meaning no grass in their pasture - mostly because we have so many trees!) and they get a round bale of coastal/rye mix about every 8 days or so (that's how long it takes them to eat it). We buy all of our hay at the spring cut, and buy enough to last us for the entire year until the next spring cut. It's good stuff - they don't get fat and they are by no means thin. It's a great quality hay, too, so I don't have to supplement with anything else. The only time someone gets grain or supplements or whatnot, is if they are actually working (training, competing) and not just being pasture ornamnets. Of course, everyone knows that free choice grazing or hay keeps the teeth healthy too, so you aren't having to get teeth floated all of the time.

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    07-15-2012, 12:42 PM
^^^^^ and I fine looking herd, too!
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    07-15-2012, 01:32 PM
Thanks! Yours are quite beautiful as well! I've been admiring them when I run across your posts!
    07-15-2012, 01:49 PM
Hippy lives out 24/7, so we give him access to hay whenever we can!
He's only in fairly light work at the moment, so we don't give him any hard feed really, but horses are natural grazers so I think it's ideal to give them access to hay for as long as possible every day.
So keep going, whatever this man says! :)
    07-15-2012, 02:08 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Most of our horses are fed free-choice 1/3 alfalfa 2/3 timonthy hay. We go through 290 pounds of feed and about 3,000 pounds of hay per week O_O they suck the hay up like vacuums. However, a little over half of our herd is miniature horses, and since we keep them dry lotted, they have to have more hay than average. Its the price to pay for healthy animals!
    07-15-2012, 06:24 PM
Green Broke
Our horses are out 24/7, even in winter. We give them free choice hay. We try to have them out on grass a few hours a day. We feed them square bales because we don't have anything to move round bales. Eventhough it would be cheaper to do round bales, square bales are better. Horse don't burry their heads as much into the hay and breathe the dust in. One of ours has heaves so we try to limit the dust. I put out 4 bales for 7 horses. They usually clean up most of it by the next day.

As for stables not feeding free choice, especially in the stalls, they do it so hay isn't wasted and cleaning stalls is less of a chore. It is better to have hay in front of them all the time but unles it is put in a feeder, it gets spread around, and gets pee and poop in it.
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    07-15-2012, 07:54 PM
Originally Posted by usandpets    
it gets spread around, and gets pee and poop in it.
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Yes - that's a big problem with round bales..there's always a bit of a waste. What is the fastest way to get a horse to pee? Put some hay on the ground in front of least with my boys..haha!

With round bales here at my house, my goats usually clean up anything that spills over the edge. As soon as the boys wander off to go stand in the sun, the goats run over and clean up around the bale. I hear that the average waste for round bales (and this is for cows) is 20%. That is considerable. I would have to say at my house, the average waste is less than 5% with goats - and I guess I'd have to say the chickens that come along and scratch up and around the hay as well (looking for worms/bugs) help keep the fly population down since pee/poo doesn't get a chance to build up...

It's like a happy little ecosystem!

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