How much hay should I feed each of my horses? - Page 3

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How much hay should I feed each of my horses?

This is a discussion on How much hay should I feed each of my horses? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    12-21-2012, 10:41 AM
Is grain a neccesity in the winter? Or is that only if they are losing weight?
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    12-21-2012, 10:42 AM
Green Broke
Welcome to the forum! Lots of very good advice here! I live in a very cold and snowy climate, (in the middle of a huge snowstorm this very moment!), and yes, you absolutely want to make sure your horses have not only plenty of quality hay @ regular feed times, but in the coldest months, always have some available free-choice. I feed the richer, higher quality at feed times, and have a hay net or rack of some sort stuffed full with a lower quality (such as a 1st cutting/timothy hay.) The hay acts as their "fuel" which keeps them warm during digestion. Hay, fresh water, salt and shelter are the main necessities, and a daily brushing, (even if you only have 5 min.) will bring out their natural oils and you'll be amazed at how snow, ice and rain will stay on top of the outer hair, and with plenty of hay you'll probably never see a shiver! Horses are amazing animals, and the best of luck to you with yours! :)
    12-21-2012, 10:49 AM
Originally Posted by AndreaOllendick    
Is grain a neccesity in the winter? Or is that only if they are losing weight?
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again, it depends
Your horses should be doing fine with hay only, ESPECIALLY the Hafi. A thoroughbred would have a hard time staying in decent weight with hay only. Or a hard working horse.
Check into ration balancers, they're not grains, you'll feed much less, like half a pound for the Hafi, maybe a pound for the paint, but provide everything that might be lacking in a hay-only diet.
    12-21-2012, 11:17 AM
Congrats on your new horse ownership:)

We weigh our hay on a fish scale (bought cheap at walmart or another farmy/hunting type store) with a wire grate attached to it by baling wire.. In the past I have just always "eyeballed" my hay and have never had an issue, but with hay being so high this year, and it not being baled real tight (moreso the grass as apposed to the alfalfa), I figured I better start weighing..

Each of my horses gets 5lbs grass/ 5lbs alfalfa 2 x daily (Usually a couple lbs more as the flakes don't always break off right) and 2 of the three get a 1lb scoop of grain 2 x a day.. soo all in all our fat mare gets 20 lbs a day, and the other two 22 lbs a day.. we also have started putting them into their stalls at night to keep them out of the wind..cant say they love it but they take their time eating their hay that way (usually about 4 hours)..out side they would snarf it down so fast! PLUS I know who is getting how much:)

ALways make sure they have fresh water (as said before), and that they are drinking it.. As for a mineral block or loose salt.. My horses like the block so that's what I stick with.. If you horses are licking on your block, then your good, otherwise you may try a loose mineral/salt.. just follow the reccomendations on it as you can over do it if they are over zealous about eating it..
    12-21-2012, 01:38 PM
Weighing the hay would be ideal for me and i'll have to look into it. The only other thing is how to know if your horse is losing weight? My mare has lost a significant amount of weight since we bought her. (Which she needed to) I havent noticed her losing weight in the winter or cold days but is there a way to tell?
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    12-22-2012, 09:52 AM
A general rule of thumb is that you want some fat over the ribs, but not so much fat that you cannot feel the ribs when palpating for them.. In winter you actually just need to go out and feel your horse..winter coats can be very decieving..
    12-25-2012, 12:56 PM
Green Broke
I bought a hanging scale, drilled a hole into each corner of a 3x3' board, and used twine string to hook the board to the scale and the scale to a bean. We weigh the hay that way.

Regarding a four inch flake of hay: I put one out this morning that weighed 10#; I put one out yesterday that weighed 3#. Different type of grass, different baler, different operator, different weights. That's why you should weigh what you feed.

Regarding big bales: for those that use them, please be sure they are positioned/protected in such a way that the horses can't stomp the hay into the mud and then try to eat it. Great way to lose a horse from botulism. If I were feeding big bales, I'd make sure my horses all had botulism vaccinations; not just from the hay in the mud, but also from what might be in the bale.
    12-26-2012, 10:12 AM
I am feeding large rounds for my 2 horses in a slow feed hay net. I have one who likes to gorge himself and the net prevents that and makes them feed more naturally and they can self regulate their consumption better than a bare bale. I also put them on a pallet inside a metal hay ring to keep it off the ground and eliminate any horse related soiling. I weigh any small square flakes fed if that is all I'm feeding out and do toss extra free choice when it gets super cold/bad weather.

Some horses don't need any grain at all to maintain good flesh, but some do, so it really depends on the individual horse. If you don't feed grain or complete feed it is very important to make sure they are getting the minerals they need by offering free choice loose minerals that compliment the hay you are feeding. Along with fresh water and either a white iodized salt lick or free choice loose salt, not the mineral block.
    12-26-2012, 02:53 PM
Small hole hay nets are fantastic for extending the amount of time it takes to eat & also minimize waste. It also makes it easier to weigh using a hanging scale- just weigh your empty net to find out how much it weighs, fill it up, re-weigh and subtract the weight of the net. Then you can hang them on different areas of the fence line.

I wouldn't consider grain a necessity in any season for most horses. (A ration balancer is a good idea for nutrition, though). If your horses start losing weight, rice bran, beet pulp and/or alfalfa are good non-grain alternatives that can help put weight back on.

Originally Posted by AndreaOllendick    
My mare has lost a significant amount of weight since we bought her. (Which she needed to) I havent noticed her losing weight in the winter or cold days but is there a way to tell?
Check out the link walkinthewalk posted on body condition scoring. With the winter woolies it can be very hard to see visually; regularly palpating the fat deposits is the best way to know if your horses are dropping or gaining too much weight.

barn, hay, winter

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