Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Dakota, USA
General rule of thumb is that a round bale should last 1 horse 1 month. So three horses would need about 3 per month or 1 about every 10 days. Using a feeder does help eliminate waste. Just remember that the bales are usually tightly packed, so as they eat and pull it out, there won't seem like much is getting eaten until the end where it seems to disappear quickly. Not only will that vary with different horses, some are slow eaters and some are piggies, but the quality plays big part.
Honestly, I think it is better for horses to eat from small square bales than a large round bale. They don't have to stick their head as far into the hay to eat. It may be more expensive but the health risks outweigh that. One of our horses got heaves from having to eat moldy hay (we weren't aware of it happening until it was after the fact and not our decision to give them that hay). Since we've used small bales, his heaves have been so much better.
Another reason we use small bales is because we don't have any way to move the large round bales. With the small square bales, we can use a small lawn tractor and trailer. Or we would have to buy a skid steer to move the big ones and that's not in our budget right now.
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