Winter feeding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-05-2011, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Slovenia
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Question Winter feeding

Yes, it's still summer, but now are holidays, so I have plenty of time to do a research.

My mare always looses a lot of weight in the winter.
She goes from that:


to that:


Now she gets free choice hay, 4 cups (before soaking) beet pulp, 1.3 cup of veg oil, about 1 hour of grazing on lush grass and has salt/mineral block.

She should eat more hay in the winter, but she doesn't. I don't know how to make her :P
Is there any way to make her eat more hay?
Should I give her more oil or more beet pulp?
How much more and when to start increasing her food?
When to start feeding her more, when she already starts loosing weight or when it's becoming colder? How much colder?
Should I give her anything else in the winter?


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post #2 of 5 Old 08-06-2011, 07:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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You didn't mention how old she is.

If she is in her upper teens or older, she may need more protein added to her diet, which can be done with a bit of soybean meal (feed stores carry it by the 50# bag), and/or adding some well soaked alfalfa cubes, according to the bag's instructions.

You could also add fat calories safely by using pelleted equine rice bran - also according to the bag's instructions. I say pelleted because my horses like the flavor and won't eat the powdered form. It has to be for horses because the calcium to phosphorous ratio is correct and it's always stabilized to avoid turning rancid.

My Arab will start losing weight just as soon as the good grazing grass disappears. His gastric ulcer will also flare up by the end of winter.

He already eats rice bran, but I started him on soybean meal and soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes last March and not only did he quickly gain his weight back but I was able to take him off the ulcer meds because of the calcium carbonate in alfalfa.

Or you could completely change to a bagged feed; but I would call whatever company's feed you might choose to explain your situation and let them make a recommendation
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-07-2011, 04:35 PM
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You may want to look into a different quality hay, then if she's not eating it. Hay's a good filler for them.

My 27 yo TB has never look better, and even in the dead of winter, she still manages to keep a pretty solid weight on.

She gets two flakes of hay, or free choice, full turnout, Nutrena Senior, and some oil added to her feed.

I also agree, about calling in some places.

Her age and breed would be good to know as well.

"You're just as sane as I am."~Luna Lovegood.
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-07-2011, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DejaVu View Post
You may want to look into a different quality hay, then if she's not eating it. Hay's a good filler for them.
Ack! I overlooked that part. My Arab is 25 and has four molars missing, so he is very fussy about the hay he eats. He won't touch anything that is too stemmy, no matter how tasty it might be because he has trouble chewing it.

I keep coastal bermuda on hand for him because it is a lot fluffier and easy for him to make a cud. He thankfully is a cautious eater and if he feels he has "missed" a chew, he will spit the cud out; I find them frequently.

The well soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes help make up for that.

I would also have her teeth checked; if they are ok, try a different kind of hay that is less stemmy as she may just be picky Horses have to eat more forage than anything else because that is how their digestive system is designed
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-24-2011, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Slovenia
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I'm sorry for late response...

She is 14 years old holsteiner, doesn't have any health problems. She had her teeth floated this January.
She can be quite high strung and I never saw her lazy...

Hay is quite a problem. Currently I have it from 4 different places. They are completly different, but she doesn't prefer any of it. She will eat the same quantity, it doesn't matter which one I feed. It's the best hay I could get around here, everything else seems dusty, it smells weird or is more like straw than grass hay. Candy eats about 20kg (45lbs) a day and has about 550kg (1210lbs). All the other (neigbour's) horses keep weight on perfectly with much less hay (but the same quality).

I think I'll try feeding alfalfa as soon as the colder weather starts. I never saw or heard of anyone feeding rice bran in Slovenia, but I'll ask next time I'll be buying horse feed.

Thanks for help everyone :)


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