How Much Hay?

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How Much Hay?

This is a discussion on How Much Hay? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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  • 1 Post By maura
  • 1 Post By maura

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    08-22-2012, 01:30 PM
How Much Hay?

So for our fair we just got an annoucment that hay wont be provided drop off day (tues) wend and thur am. Im taking a 15hh ottb about how much hay should I take out? I mean we were first told that 1 bale for wend but Im jst worried that isnt enough. How much do you think I should bring?
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    08-22-2012, 01:32 PM
Green Broke
Minimum 2% of their body weight daily.
    08-22-2012, 01:38 PM
I feed about a bale/day for 2 mares (bale ~50 lbs).
    08-22-2012, 01:40 PM
^^^ a good rule of thumb, so roughly 1/2 of a 50lbs bale a day.
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    08-22-2012, 01:43 PM
Maybe even 2/3 or a 50 - 60 # bale. So I'd take at least 2 bales, and maybe a third if the drop off doesn't materialize.
MN Tigerstripes likes this.
    08-22-2012, 01:56 PM
How much does your horse and bales of hay weigh? Is your horse an easy orhard keeper? I believeyou can go down to 1.5% of their body weight daily for a horse who needs to loose weight. My 15.2 hand 1100 lb or so horse eats 2% of her body weight when healthy weight, so 22 lbs for her. I brought about 300 lbs for her when she blneeded to lose weight when I was trialing her for two weeks - came back with 15 or so lbs. A safe amount is about 2% of their body weight which for an average 1000 lb horse would be 20 pounds. So for one 60 lb grass bale that would give that 1000 lb healthy horse about 3 full days of feeding, 20 lbs each day. Alfalfa you shouldfeed less of as its so rich but because you are feeding little of it the horse would finish it off faster and be without hay longer. I know of some horses will eat up to 4% that are hard keepers that need to gain gain weight or haft to have it to maintain weight. It is of course, better to be safe than sorry.
    08-22-2012, 03:26 PM
I have to say that I never have used the body weight rule and hadn't really heard of it until this web site. I sure it has value and is a useful tool, particularly in establishing a *minimum* but I'm just a big beleiver in free choice roughage, either grazing or hay.

Here are my own highly opinionated and biased views on the subject, informed by my own idoiosyncratic experience:

A stalled horse should have hay in front of them at all times, especially a horse that's normally used to getting some turn out. A horse should have something in their gut at all times for optimal health/lower colic risk. If you feed free choice hay and your horse gains too much weight, I would switch to a lower digestable nutrient hay before I would restrict the amount of hay.

When planning/managing diets for horses, I feed hay until they started leaving some over to the next feeding or playing with it/dragging it around the stall, then I back off one flake.

If it were me, with my horse stalled at a showgrounds for a period of time, I would want to have plenty of hay available to throw a flake time if the horse were bored, upset, fussy, etc., and some extra flakes to put in a bag to hang while I braided or groomed, and then some extra just for margin of errror.

I recognize that in some parts of the country hay is scarce and expensive, but rationing or limiting hay never has appealed to me from a horse management standpoint.
MN Tigerstripes likes this.
    08-22-2012, 04:32 PM
I never weight, but basically give so much that they have something to munch on yet don't waste it (if you give too much they throw it around, plus one manages to pee on it if she can). It averages to about 1/2 bale per horse per day. In a winter it may be little more, in summer less (because I have pasture they go to for couple hours/day).

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