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VACountryGirl 10-18-2011 07:22 PM

Picky Horses Won't Eat Grass Hay - Help!
I need some advice. My horses (2 of them) have been getting the best of the best when it comes to their hay. We were buying an alfalfa/timothy mix that was very good but also very expensive and because it was delivered it was an extra $75 delivery fee. This weekend, we got hay from the barn that I used to board them at and he said he had some hay he could sell to us for cheaper. It is just regular grass hay, but its the same hay they had almost their entire lives. When I gave them the grass hay this morning, they wouldn't eat it!! I am so furious I don't know what to do. They've never done this before, not to mention it's the same stuff they ate for YEARS. Obviously it is because they want their expensive alfalfa, but its $8 a bale, which is rather expensive and we wanted to cut costs a little bit. This hay isn't bad by any means. I was told it might be a little dusty, but he promised me it wasn't moldy and I believe him because it smells fine. Should I just wait for them to get hungry to eat it? We bought 43 bales so I hate to have to take it back because they are being prisses. Ugh. They are outside of their stalls picking at acorns and dead leaves instead of eating their hay which makes me so mad. Any suggestions??

PaintHorseMares 10-18-2011 07:31 PM


Originally Posted by VACountryGirl (Post 1204954)
Should I just wait for them to get hungry to eat it?

Yes. They'll eat it when they're hungry enough. Just be patient...they're pretty good at holding out and making you feel guilty ;-)

Dreamcatcher Arabians 10-19-2011 12:38 AM

When I first switched from alfalfa to grass hay my horses threw it on the floor and pee'd and poo'd in it, one even took his feeder barrel and threw it out of his stall. I just kept making sure they had fresh clean hay to eat and in about 4-7 days they were all eating grass just fine and happy to get it.

VACountryGirl 10-19-2011 09:11 AM

Thanks to you both! That's very helpful. I just don't want them to starve themselves. Dreamcatcher Arabians, that is too funny!!!!! I went out to feed them this morning and the hay was strewn all around the stall and was peed and pooped on too. :( When I fed them, I kept them in the stall longer than usual before letting them out and they ate some. But when I let them out, they were happy to get away from it. I did see them eat some of it though, so I guess that's a start. I'll give it more time. Unbelievable how they can be such divas, right???? Haha

caseymyhorserocks 10-19-2011 07:19 PM

$8????!!!!!!!! Wow.. You are lucky. Here alfalfa is $21 and 18 for grass!!

Tianimalz 10-19-2011 07:24 PM

If you don't want them rolling and dumping around in it while you are waiting for them to get over themselves (been there LOL), you might wanna try putting it up in a hay net :) Just a suggestion, if you haven't already.

jennyandjesse 10-20-2011 05:01 PM

Here in MN
I have the oppostie problem. I am not new to horses, just new to ownership. I bought a horse in May and started feeding him ditch hay about 6 weeks ago. I am running low so purchased a alfalfa/grass blend. My ditch hay supplier was out and I thought that since winter is around the corner alfalfa mix would be great! My horse (and his mini donkey side kick) won't eat it! They are outside and I feed in an old water tank. They pull the stuff out, nose it around, shake it and then let the wind take it to wherever. I don't know what to do! I bought 60 bales of this stuff with a promised 75 more on the way! The person I got it from said their horses eat it just fine. This "new" hay is greener and finer than the ditch hay, but they both smell the same! (I don't see any alfalfa) Do I just let them eat it when they are hungry, do I have to try to resell? The supplier I purchased this from is a long ways away and don't know if I want to or even if I can return it. I do have some of the ditch hay left. They will nose right down through the new stuff to get to the old. HELP!

Beauseant 10-27-2011 09:14 PM

I have the EXACT same problem with my two horses!!!

We were getting this timothy hay from a hay dealer four towns away...and because he had to travel so far, he had to charge ALOT for since there are tons of farms around where the horses live, we started looking into finding some hay closer to home. Found one only a few steps down the road.....they didn't like it. We found another hay seller a mile away, selling nice looking, lovely smelling grass hay that he feeds to HIS OWN horses. Being cautious, we bought 2 small bales....NOPE. They weren't having anything to do with it. Our Belgian walked up to it and snorted at it before walking away.....

SOOOO we are still paying an arm and a leg for the hay from the dealer four towns away. *sigh*

Am I a bit overindulgent with the horses? Yea, I admit it. But what is the point of buying hay that they refuse to eat.....or waiting them out to see who will cave in first...the worried owner or the hungry horse.....I can already tell you which will win.....:oops:

Beauseant 10-27-2011 09:24 PM

bUT the most ridiculous part is that when we moved them to this farm last winter, the owner had 30 bales of grass hay cut from the 23 acres of pasture at this farm.

So we move the horses in, and we buy the 30 bales of home grown grass hay. THEY WOULDN'T eat it period.

So, summer comes around and they are in an 8 acre pasture, while the rest of the pastures are unused. And they eat the grass up like there is no it's fine when it's fresh, but not when it's cut?!

The property owner wanted to pay someone to come in and cut and bale the remaining unused pastures for hay for the horses....i told her not to bother. They wouldn't eat it.

So all that lovely pasture grass went unused....what a waste.

churumbeque 10-27-2011 09:51 PM


Originally Posted by VACountryGirl (Post 1204954)
he could sell to us for cheaper. It is just regular grass hay, This hay isn't bad by any means. I was told it might be a little dusty, but he promised me it wasn't moldy and I believe him because it smells fine.
Any suggestions??

I had a friend who's horse was very underweight and didn't want to eat her grass hay. I thought it smelled moldy and she couldn't detect it. We did a test and it would eat my grass hay just find and when blind folded I could pick out her musty hay every time. They do not want dusty moldy hay. You might try soaking it in water.

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