How much hay should I feed each of my horses? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Question How much hay should I feed each of my horses?

There is quite a bit of snow out and I am a new horse owner. I have a halflinger and a paint and I was just wondering how much hay I should be feeding each one of them and if I should be feeding them grain. Also, are they fairly self sufficient even while being out in the wind. Sorry about all the questions. I am a worried new horse mother. Thanks!
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post #2 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 08:21 PM
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The Rule of Thumb is 1.5% - 2% of the each horse's body weight. Being a new horse owner that's about impossible for you to judge.

Assuming (and that is a dangerous word):

The Paint weighs around 1,050 and Hafflinger around 850, you could take 2% of their combined weights and feed that -- yes that means you have weigh the hay; the easiest way is to stand on a scale with it.

If the horses are in together, make 4 or 5 piles of hay, at least 20 feet apart from each other so the horses don't fight. Horses don't always get along when it comes to food. If one of them is an alpha dominant horse, it will guard as much hay as it can to stop the other one from eating.

There's nothing you can do to change that mindset - it's been going on for a couple thousand years. That's the reason for more piles of hay than horses and for the piles being far enough apart that nobody gets kicked in the head.

That all being said, I just came up from the barn. My horses have been in since 5:30. The wind is howling like it did when I lived on the OH/PA border. The temps will drop to 28 so, with all that wind, the "Feels Like" is going to be just ugly.

Meaning, I loaded those horses up with enough hay to feed them thru Saturday Like we need comfort food in this weather, they need more hay in this kind of cold/windy weather because they burn calories trying to stay warm.

Unless one of your horses really has a problem holding weight, it's hay you need to feed more of in the winter. Don't cut the hay back and up the grain, that's one way to colic a horse.

Do NOT rely on snow for water for them. I know of folks who think its ok to just let their horses eat snow and not give them water. Horse LIKE to eat snow but they HAVE to have fresh water, even if that means you're breaking ice 2 -3 times a day and dumping a few gallons of hot tap water in the tubs, if there's not electric for heated tanks.

They also need a white salt block beside the water. Horses can eat as much salt in the cold of winter as they do in the worst of the summer.

I hope this wasn't too confusing and that it helps

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 12-20-2012 at 08:25 PM.
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post #3 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 08:36 PM
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The easiest way to make sure they get enough hay to keep warm and keep weight on, is to free feed grass hay. I keep round bales out for my horses and they can eat whatever they need whenever they need it. I bring them in at night or if the weather is ugly, and I make sure to feed each horse about 1/3 of a small bale of grass hay, so about 15 lbs, morning and night. I have 10 horses, so 3 bales per feeding if they stay in all day & night. I also feed roughly 3-5 lbs of Purina Strategy in the evenings along with salt & fresh water. I keep buckets filled in the barn and full stock tanks with de-icers in them that keep the water around 40-45 degrees. Hope this helps.
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post #4 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 08:48 PM
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Your horses need some type of wind break. They don't necessarily have to go in, in fact many don't in winter, but solid walls so they can get out of the wind. Some people build an L shape with the corner pointing toward the prevailing winds. A partial roof offers a lot of protection from the wind. It's fine to offer a salt lick but if you want the horses to get enough salt offer them a mix of household and coarse pickling salt in a rubber pan about a cup at a time. The lick will sore the horse's tongue and he won't ingest what he needs.
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post #5 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 09:06 PM
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Feed all the hay they can eat my horses have hay to eat 24/7 it cold and windy tonight and hay is what helps them stay warm. Do make sure they have water to drink like walkinthewalk said snow doesnt cut it for water.
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post #6 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you to everyone that has replied so far! Every little bit helps! They have a small shelter with 3 sides and a roof but the halflinger doesn't exactly let the paint in sometimes because that's where the hay is. I tied them both in the shelter today each with their own pile of hay like my horse trainer suggested and that seemed to work out pretty well but I didn't feel comfortable doing that throughout the night since I can't keep an eye on them to make sure everything is going okay. I do all of my work from home otherwise I wouldn't have tied them up in the first place. Especially when the halflinger can be a little stinker sometimes. Again, all of this information has helped tremendously with me being a new horse owner! Thank you!
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post #7 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 09:15 PM
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salt licks don't sore a horses tongue. I buy the 50 lb block of mineral /iodized salt. What type of hay do you feed ? Round bales ? 100lb rectangular bales ?
Figure a flake of hay is 4 inches wide, so two flakes in morn and eve. Per horse.
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post #8 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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I have a brown salt lick that has been here since I moved here and they lick that once in a while. Are the brown ones bad?
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post #9 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by AndreaOllendick View Post
...the halflinger doesn't exactly let the paint in sometimes because that's where the hay is.
Maybe try putting the hay outside of the shelter? That way they can both go in out of the wind without one of them getting grumpy. We put our hay out in the open areas and our horses (none of which are blanketed) have no problem standing out there munching away. If they get cold, they go in the shelters.

"A rider who would trade partnership for obedience
will have to settle for neither."
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post #10 of 29 Old 12-20-2012, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by AndreaOllendick View Post
I have a brown salt lick that has been here since I moved here and they lick that once in a while. Are the brown ones bad?
Brown salt liks have added minerals, which isn't bad, but they don't always need them. Most horse people prefer to feed white iodized stock salt, fairly free choice and only give minerals if there is a lack.

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