Slow feeder and winter grazing questions.... - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-17-2013, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Awww baby bum! And Honey's cute too!

I will be out there every day, so yes I will be sure to monitor them closely.
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-18-2013, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Lunavi View Post
Awww baby bum! And Honey's cute too!

I will be out there every day, so yes I will be sure to monitor them closely.
LOL! I call her Heffa Boo because she's so big. But she's an awesome mom.

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post #13 of 19 Old 09-18-2013, 11:13 AM
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For me, it would depend on the horse. If these are easier keeping QH's and the like, I would have no problem only feeding them them then having them out on the communal pasture for part of the day. If we are talking about hard keeper horses, the type that struggle to maintain proper weight even during the summer, I would have them in the paddock with 24/7 hay, preferably an alfalfa mix, and probably supplement with a high fibre/high fat concentrate, Step 8 or something similar.

I have done self board on pasture only over a few winters, and it's worked well for me. I also went out once a day to feed, and I didn't have a slow feeder net or box, but I found scattering the hay around in a different spot each day slowed down their eating, but they still cleaned it up well. There was a few weeks where I couldn't get hay, so I scattered alfalfa/timothy cubes for them instead, and while it definitely wasn't ideal or something I'd ever do for a whole winter, it worked just fine for a short time. I had a big TB who kept his weight fairly decently, I blanketed him and he got a scoop of Step 8 every day, and a little QH who could get fat on air basically, so no blanket or extra feed for him. They both came out of the winter in decent shape. They didn't have an actual shelter, but lots of trees and hills in the pasture for cover.

Allowing them out in the communal herd only when the weather is nicer is another option, say anything warmer than 20 degrees they can go out, anything colder, they stay in their paddock and just eat. Are you blanketing them at all?

The winters here can be harsh at times, but most horses do just fine. Growing up in northern Alberta we never blanketed anything, they lived with lots of trees as their shelter and ate off a round bale in the pasture. But very rarely did we ride in the cold weather. Of course if you want to keep riding regularly over the winter, an indoor is pretty much a necessity, and you'll most likely end up have to clip somewhat and blanket as well. So that all changes the game drastically as well.
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Last edited by albertaeventer; 09-18-2013 at 11:15 AM.
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-18-2013, 11:44 AM
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The worries about slowfeeders......
With the bigger openings they'll definitely get enough to stay warm. They'll just stay on it a little longer. The good thing, apart from cutting down tremendously on wasted hay is the psychological advantage. They never run out of hay. They learn this quite quickly. I would, for the very cold time, maybe even hang a couple of slowfeeder nets on the fence, to keep them moving and make things more interesting.
Key is to have hay in the bellies at all times, to keep that " heater" going.
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-18-2013, 12:17 PM
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I like AlbertaEventer's post.

As a former snow-belt-of-Michigan resident, my horses dealt with below -20F regularly, but heavy snow was often up to human waists or even shoulders. If I were in your shoes, I would consider the paddock with slow feeder set to larger access size overnight (since there is a shelter,) and turn them out with the herd during the day (where they can lump up into a horsey wind block as needed.) I'd leave them in the sheltered paddock with hay if it was extra cold, wet, or windy.
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post #16 of 19 Old 09-18-2013, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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I wont be blanketing them, when i ride in the winter its usually just a short, quiet bare back ride.

I think I'm leaning towards the slow feeder and paddock overnight (4pm-7am) with turnout as the weather dictates. The field has grass but, under the a lot of snow and being cold, I don't feel like it's enough for filling their bellies enough for longer turnout.

If it is very cold I will switch to free feed and all day paddock, but being the easy keepers they are I'll monitor and play by "feel".

Thanks for everyone's help!
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post #17 of 19 Old 09-18-2013, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Lunavi View Post
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.

We just put out round bales the other day never put them out this early in the year before. All my horse a quite skinny so figured they need 24/7 hay.

For first day all of them had head stuck in the bale eating like pigs. Now they have slowed down was doing slow feeder nets for a while. My gelding just kept destorying them.

Less work with round bales in round bale feeder and horses are much happier. Yeah theres some waste but i know they always have hay now.

My gelding tends to get fat so will see how it goes might have to stop putting out the bales if he starts to pork out..
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post #18 of 19 Old 09-18-2013, 10:44 PM
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We built slow feeders and really like them. We tried the lattice and it did NOT work because it broke easily. We ended up with that heavy gauge wire 4" square fencing that we lay over the hay and attached chains at each corner to hold it down. Works great!
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post #19 of 19 Old 09-18-2013, 10:44 PM
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The paddock may be fine but it needs a wind shelter. A groups of horses will bunch up in the wind or will head for the trees or a low area. I used to live in Alberta so know how the winds can blow, for miles, coming off the mountains. My horses always had a wind shelter and plenty of hay.
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