How many bales does one horse eat? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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How many bales does one horse eat?

Hello! I am trying to figure out how many bales a single horse ( Gelding or mare ) will go through every week or month. Whichever is easier for you to do.

Hello! I wish I had a horse of my own.... I am working hard to earn $1500 this year though! There just doesn't seem to be very many good horses on the market though......
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 12:47 PM
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It depends on the breed, size, and metabolism of the animal. There is no one set answer.

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 12:49 PM
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Square bales? Are they small(45-60 lbs), or larger bales(70-80)?
How many flakes are you feeding? Or is it free choice?

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post #4 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 12:54 PM
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It really depends on a lot of factors: will the horse be on pasture? If on pasture, good pasture or overgrazed pasture? How big is the pasture, with how many other horses? Is the horse a hard keeper or an easy keeper? Etc, etc, etc.

My mare, an easy keeper, in a 1.5 acre pasture - alone, needed about 40lbs of grass hay a week (I fed it free choice but she usually ate 40lbs or less/week) and 8-10lbs of alfalfa/day during the winter. During the summer, she does just fine on pasture grass.
So, in the deepest winter with very little pasture grass to be had, she'd eat about 2/3rds a 60lb bale of grass hay and about half an 160lb bale of alfalfa.

She recently moved to a different, larger 5+ acres, pasture so I may not end up needing to feed her much hay at all this winter. Time will tell.

It depends a lot on the horse for how much they need to eat. You can estimate that they'll need to eat about 1-2% of their total body weight in hay per day. 1% for easier keepers, and 2%+ for hard keepers.


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post #5 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 12:55 PM
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Is there any pasture in addition to the hay?
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 12:55 PM
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It's all based on your horse's metabolism and the weight of the flakes in the square bales. I would suggest you use trial and error. If you horse cleans it up, then you know how much hay/feeding to use. If there is hay left, feed less, if he's still hungry feed more.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 01:04 PM
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The bales I get are in the 35-40. I figure on a bale a day per horse for 7 months. That usually leaves me with enough to feed them inside when the bugs are bad during the summer, as they will go in about 8 and won't emerge until dark.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 02:13 PM
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My horse is mostly stalled, and is rotated throughout the week on dry lots and pasture turnout. I figure any grazing he does is not enough to significantly impact his total nutritional intake.

He's an easy keeper, right around 1000 lbs, so he gets a ration balancer, a little bit of rice bran, and 4 flakes of hay (averages to ~20 lbs) daily. Our bales are 2-strand square bales of 55-60 lbs/each, so he'd go through 1/3 of a bale daily = 2-1/3 bales weekly = 10 bales monthly.
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 02:19 PM
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Depends on the individual horse and the amount of grass he's getting. With four horses (2 hard keeper TBs, one senior easy-keeper, and a super easy-keeper draft), I go through 2 1/2 bales a day this time of year. My bales are probably 60 lbs and primarily grass hay, and the horses are out to pasture at least 4 hours daily, less if the heat is really bad and they'd rather be in the barn.
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-20-2012, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help everyone!

Hello! I wish I had a horse of my own.... I am working hard to earn $1500 this year though! There just doesn't seem to be very many good horses on the market though......
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