07-16-2012, 07:06 PM
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If, by this winter, they will have been away from their previous type of hay for several months and eaten pasture only, I see no reason to worry much about the change, just start feeding the new hay the same way you would start feeding the old coming into winter. I know there are a lot of people that say "always mix the 2 feeds for a few days to give the horse time to adjust", but I've never had a problem with the hay we've fed and we change from alfalfa to bermuda to timothy/orchard and even certain types of sowed feed, depending on what is available and affordable in my area. I've never had a single issue with the changes, not had a single instance of colic or founder in any of my many horses, even when the change had to be done suddenly. Sometimes, they will eat one type of hay for several months and then start eating another in a single day because that's all I could find.
As for how much to feed, that will greatly depend on the nutritional content of the feed and the individual horse. I currently have 5 horses and a mule in my barn, all being fed good quality alfalfa hay and no access to pasture. I feed anywhere from 30-80 pounds a day to each, depending on their own needs. One gelding and one mare need a lot more to maintain their weight than the others and the mule needs a lot less or he starts to get overweight.
I generally don't compare my feeding methods to those of others by "flake", though, mostly because a "flake" can mean so many things. Some flakes are thick, some are thin, some are dense, some are loose. Depending on the type of hay and how it was baled, one flake might weigh 2 pounds or one flake might weigh 10. The size of the bale is also a big deal. Not so long ago, I was feeding 1 to 1 1/2 flakes a day to each horse....but the flakes were dense alfalfa off of large square bales (3x3x8) and weighed 40-50 pounds each.
So, especially on here, I always compare my feeding by measuring in pounds.