Feeding Schedule- would like some advice
My guy was originally getting three flakes of hay in the morning, early afternoon, and evening. The BO has had to change the feeding schedule so that they get three flakes in the morning, at around 8-9am, and don't get their 'lunch' now until around 5. I don't really like him going that long with only three flakes of hay, so I was thinking about picking up some alfalfa\timothy hay cubes and one of the boarders who lives at the barn says she will be able to throw out in a bucket every morning before leaving for work. I figure this will give him a bit more to munch on during the day.
My question is though, since he's never had alfalfa before, how should I wean him onto it? His current hay is just regular grass hay. Also, how much should I give him to equal about 2 flakes? The Bo does not weigh the flakes, so I'm not sure how many lbs he should be getting of the cubes- does say 2lbs of cubes= 2 lbs of baled hay?
Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I want to make sure I go about this correctly. Is it safe to give the hay cubes right after being grained, along with 3 flakes of hay?
Any advice is appreciated.
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Hay cubes scare me due to the choking risk but maybe others will have better knowledge of feeding them.
Unless there are medical issues requiring a tighter feeding schedule, your horse should be fine.
Well......with out more information its hard to give advice.....how much hay in lbs????.....how big is your horse????.....is it an easy or hard keeper???....is it lean, chunky or in ideal weight?
My horses get 5lbs 4 times a day......if your horse is getting 6 flakes of hay a day and they average 5lbs ......then I would say your horse is getting plenty of hay provided he/she was in good weight.
Oh, ok. I am still learning about nutrition, and had been told that they shouldn't go too long without something to munch on as their guts are designed to be constantly digesting. He does not have any medical conditions that I am aware of, vet was just out the other day. He's 3 1\2 years old, lightly excersized, and of a good weight. I guess I can leave him be for now, and just keep an eye on his weight to make sure he doesn't drop. I know its pretty cold here, and the hay is good for keeping them warm?
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Why not get a 'slow feeder'? I'm going to get one for my horse that fits a square bale, and let him have free choice. The net will keep him from getting mouthfuls of hay, and he'll have to take the hay out of the net in a 'grazing' action. It'll slow him down, so he'll be 'grazing' on his hay off and on throughout the day. The hay will also last me longer, and I'll know he's getting what he needs. It'll also keep him busy(: These are GREAT prices and I'm ordering one as soon as I can: Cinch Chix, LLC - Place Your Order - Look around on their website; they have a lot of info you might be interested in.
My horses get AM hay at about 5:30am, are out on round bales during the day, and get PM hay around 7pm or so. The round bales are now in slow feeding nets and it is GREAT. The horses love it more than before, it's like it satiates their need to graze, while they are getting hay rather than grass. My BO keeps the bales in the feeder, but adds the nets before putting them in. The two horses in the herd with occasional respiratory issues (my BO's 19yo gelding and my 16yo mare) have not had any symptoms since starting the nets, they cannot get their face down in it. They no longer eat so fast in their stalls (they have wall feeders, but not slow-feed) because they are so satisfied with their all day "grazing" that both of mine still have plenty of hay left for the evening when I leave at 9:30pm.
A hay bag or slow feeder will stretch the time it takes for them to eat the hay.
If you do introduce cubes.. which I wouldn't because I believe your horse would be fine, slowly introduce them via treats. We'd "treat" the horse 1 alfalfa cube after every ride, then we'd start giving them a handful, then a bowl full, then a serving, etc. It's important to introduce any feed slowly.
Thanks for the advice. I will definitely look into the slow feeders. I decided against the hay cubes for now- I can always reassess if he starts to drop any weight or appears cranky. The BO has been boarding horses for a long time, and they always appear healthy, so I guess she knows what she's doing.
Thanks for putting my mind at ease.
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