Slow feeder and winter grazing questions....
 
 

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Slow feeder and winter grazing questions....

This is a discussion on Slow feeder and winter grazing questions.... within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Lattice for slow feeder grate?
  • How can i slow my hay in the field in winter

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    09-17-2013, 09:35 PM
  #1
Foal
Slow feeder and winter grazing questions....

So I'll be moving my 2 geldings closer to home to a self care place. I'm planning on making a slow feeder box and just had a few related questions. Any help would be much appreciated!

The 'grate' of my slow feeder will be vinyl fencing lattice. My back up, if they start chewing in it, is plastic coated chain-link. There are two options for hole sizes, 1.75 inch and 2.75 inch. Because it is rigid, I'm thinking that the 1.75 inch is too small, but I hope the 2.75 inch isn't too big. What size do you/would you use?

Also, at this new place I'll have a decent sized paddock (50x50?) As well as communal turnout in a gelding only herd. We have cold long winters, November-March are well into the negatives and can reach down to -35 Celsius or more. There is no hay put into the field, and you are expected to feed your horses every day. I will be out there every day but my issue lies in that in the winter I want my horses to have 24 hr access to hay, not just what they paw for in the field.

So my question is would you keep your horses in the paddock with the slow feeder 24/7 or in the paddock evening until morning then turn them out or feed then twice daily with free feed hay ( no slow feeder )? If it is extremely cold they will be in the paddock 24/7.
     
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    09-17-2013, 09:45 PM
  #2
Trained
I would use the bigger openings first and watch. If there's a lot of waste, I'd get the smaller grate.
As to the second question, communal turnout means hay just thrown out for everybody or no hay at all? If it's no hay in big turnout, I'd keep them in their paddock.
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    09-17-2013, 10:34 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
I would use the bigger openings first and watch. If there's a lot of waste, I'd get the smaller grate.
As to the second question, communal turnout means hay just thrown out for everybody or no hay at all? If it's no hay in big turnout, I'd keep them in their paddock.

Thanks, good idea to start bigger. I don't want to induce frustration while they're learning to use it either. And yes, you're correct, there is no hay put in the field. I've feel that especially in the winter they need hay 24/7 to stay warm, I just didn't want to keep them away from the herd if it wasn't in their best interest. At least they'll have each other.
     
    09-17-2013, 10:47 PM
  #4
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunavi    
Thanks, good idea to start bigger. I don't want to induce frustration while they're learning to use it either. And yes, you're correct, there is no hay put in the field. I've feel that especially in the winter they need hay 24/7 to stay warm, I just didn't want to keep them away from the herd if it wasn't in their best interest. At least they'll have each other.
-35 C is -31 F, that's beyond cold. At those temps I wouldn't even use a slow feeder, I'd want them eating as much as it took to stay warm, and I'd keep them in paddock.
     
    09-17-2013, 11:18 PM
  #5
Foal
It gets down to -35 ( daytime ) for about a week every winter, but apparently this winter is supposed to be nastier. It usually hovers at -15 to -18, but I'm sure that dips well into the -20s at night. At what temperature would you switch to free feeding? My QH /Morgan is an extremely easy keeper and my TWH is an average-to-easy keeper.
     
    09-17-2013, 11:21 PM
  #6
Trained
I guess my first questions should be:

Have they ever wintered out on pasture before? Or have the been barn kept? Will they have any kind of shelter?

I free feed hay 24/7/365 for my guys. I put a big round bale in the pasture and it will last 5 horses 2 weeks.
     
    09-17-2013, 11:37 PM
  #7
Foal
The 4 year old Walker has always been on pasture, my 13 QH/Morgan has for the last 2 winters with me, not sure before that but he probably was as well. There is a shelter in the paddock, not in tbe field. They also have a large L shaped building as a wind-break in the paddock. If I left hay out always, my QH would eat himself to death....or at least to morbidly obese, hence needing a slow feeder.
     
    09-17-2013, 11:42 PM
  #8
Started
Has your QH ever been offered free access to hay?

I ask for a reason, I've found they gorge! But then figure out that food will be there.

I'm a free feeder myself and have a QH that's fat and only gets grass hay and a RB.
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    09-17-2013, 11:46 PM
  #9
Trained
Well, if you do use a slow feeder, then just make sure you check their body condition with your hands, at least once a week to make sure they don't drop too much weight before you catch it.



Meet Honey Boo Boo, she's the Queen of easy keepers. She free feeds on the round bale and doesn't get too fat, even when she doesn't have a tick....er....foal on her.
     
    09-17-2013, 11:51 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phly    
Has your QH ever been offered free access to hay?

I ask for a reason, I've found they gorge! But then figure out that food will be there.

I'm a free feeder myself and have a QH that's fat and only gets grass hay and a RB.
Posted via Mobile Device
Yes where they are now they get rounds straight to the field in the winter. Within a week or two of it going out Nugget is MASSIVE and he doesn't slow down until spring, even after any "OMG! HAY in the field" excitement should have passed.
     

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