How much to feed?

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How much to feed?

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    03-21-2011, 08:04 AM
Green Broke
How much to feed?

I'm not exactly sure if this is going to make sense but my mum and I have a fight nearly every time we talk about how much my horses get fed. They get hay, chaff (recent addition), grain, somtimes some carrots they also have 24/7 access to grass. Most people talk about needing to feed horses twice a day but I am only able to feed mine in the afternoon. The grain is supposed to be good for older horses but also helps horses gain weight (thats the only way I think of wording it). So not sure what everyone else means by one scoop but for my scoop it would be about 500g.

Apache gets 1 biscuit of hay, 1 scoop of grain and 5 scoops of chaff. He is not in any real work at the moment. He is normally the sort to kind of flucuate between appearing a little ribbey and looking good. But lately since I have given him the grain and chaff he hasn't looked ribbey as much.

Sam gets the 1 biscuit of hay, 2 scoops of grain, then 4 scoops of chaff. I am bringing him back into work. He seems to put on weight pretty easily. When I first got him he was only getting a biscuit of hay and he looked a little ribbey but now he looks better.

Pepper (the old girl) gets 1 buscuit of hay (which she probably doesn't quite get all of), 3 scoops of grain and 4 scoops of chaff. I am thinking of giving her more chaff because her teeth are starting to go a bit bad so its harder for her to eat hay even when I thoroughly loosen it for her. She is rarely ridden. She is a bit like Apache with her weight.

My mum thinks I feed the two boys too much grain and chaff and I don't. She says they are able to get to grass they don't need it especially apache because he isn't working. Sometimes she even says they shouldn't get any. We have been getting into a lot of arguements about it lately. So I was just wondering from what I have said would anyone have an idea of whether they are getting too much? I'm still learning thanks.
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    03-21-2011, 08:12 AM
Green Broke
I think that's a good amount Apache is your TB right?
If yes I feed Buzz nearly double that but he doesn't have grass.
Going from the pics you posted as well asking about there weight they all look great :)
I could't believe that Appy was 27
    03-21-2011, 08:23 AM
Green Broke
Thank you and yes Apache is my tb. Yes believe it hehe Pepper is 27 and she can still run like a 3 year old
    03-21-2011, 03:23 PM
Green Broke
Anyone else?
    03-22-2011, 01:03 AM
Green Broke
Your horses' weight lets you know if they're getting too much or just right. You should be able to feel ribs, but not see them. You should only see them when your horse stretches to one side, and really pulls the skin tight on his ribs.

If your horses get too thin, increasing hay or chaff is the right way to go. Too much grain isn't a healthy way to put on weight. You can add a fat source for more calories, like ground linseed or linseed oil (Flax here in the States), but increasing hay is the best. If they had no grass, or it was very short, they should be getting 1.5-3% of their body weight a day in hay/chaff, depending on the horse and their workload.
    03-22-2011, 03:40 AM
Green Broke
Cool thanks. Sam is how you deribed a horse with good weight. The other two I think could use a little more weight. That is what I do I increase the chaff they get if I feel they need more. Its just my mum keeps getting up me for giving them too much. Mum thinks they are all fat though a lot of people would disagree when it comes to Apache.
    03-22-2011, 05:30 AM
Increasing chaff won't do much. A whole bag of chaff is really only about 1/2 a bale of hay. Its far cheaper to just increase you hay unless we're talking barrel loads of chaff. Chaff is just a filler and source of roughage to help digestion of grains. Not for weight gain.
If your horses are a bit skinny, don't even bother increasing chaff, you're wasting your money. Instead, increase the amount of meadow hay you're feeding. Alternatively, feed 1-2 biscuits of lucerne each day in conjunction with meadow hay. My boy was a bit light on as well, I put him onto 2 biscuits of lucerne each day and he is now back up to a very good weight, maybe even a little too good! In just 2 weeks.
    03-22-2011, 07:12 AM
Green Broke
Thanks a lot I'll keep that in mind.
    03-22-2011, 07:58 AM

If they are too thin, then extra feed can well be in order. But remember that overweight horses are more unhealthy so don't go overboard and if in doubt, check out some 'body scoring' charts. Showing a little rib is not necessarily a problem. It depends.

There are generally better, safer ways of helping your horses put on weight than feeding grain & other high starch rations though. Eg. You could add a little oil or such to their chaff. If you're going to feed starchy feed, especially if it's grain other hard to digest feed, it's very important to feed it little & often, not just once or twice a day in big feeds. That will minimise the negative effects.

Another thing you may not have considered is that the horses may be lacking imbalanced in nutrients more than lacking calories, so a good quality complete supp may be what's really needed.
    03-22-2011, 08:34 AM
Green Broke
Oh I forgot to add that they were getting a nutrient supplement thing too. I do body score them often I do not want fat horses if I can help it.

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