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southview charlie 12-08-2012 04:07 PM

Overweight Drafts
What is the answer to limit feeding drafts to keep their weight down? I'm feeding square bales so that I can limit their intake, but that is gone very quickly and they start eating corral planks. I tried a round straw bale for them to nibble on, but 4 drafts go through that in a week and the straw isn't necessarily good for them either. Any suggestions?

TimberRidgeRanch 12-08-2012 04:21 PM

with my drafts I dont worry about the amount to feed with hay its the grain part that would concern me as for how much to feed and what to feed. As with any horse especially during the cold season there is never too much hay fed. My horses always have hay in front of them.
if they are over weight and your feeding grain reduce the grain intake. My drafts do very well on good quality hay and very little if any grain.


BigGreyHorse 12-08-2012 04:56 PM

Slow feeders helped considerably with mine. 2010 we were feeding straight timothy hay and they blimped up really fast on me. Don't get me wrong, the hay was phenomenal stuff but it was really fine stem and they inhaled it. Bought this slow feeder and switched to a good low NSC grass hay and the weight has slowly come off.

southview charlie 12-08-2012 05:36 PM

I don't feed any grain, and yes they will gain weight on hay alone. This is brome hay as well, not alfalfa.

southview charlie 12-08-2012 05:48 PM

The natural feeder sounds interesting. Are they strong enough to stand a draft horse pawing? Are they available anywhere in Canada or just from the manufacturer?

franknbeans 12-08-2012 05:50 PM

WEll, I do limit the hay mine gets, and he basically "lives on air", like your do. When there is any grass-I use a grazing muzzle. Winter-he pretty much gets 4-6 flakes a day of hay....

SueNH 12-08-2012 06:18 PM

My drafts ate a bale a day each in the winter. If we had a real cold snap they ate more. I loved it when I had round bales. Saved money and my back.

I really don't like to limit hay in the winter here. It's just too cold and damp.

If you are using small squares there are slow feed hay nets that take a whole bale.

Left Hand Percherons 12-08-2012 08:40 PM

I wouldn't trust the slow feeder with my drafts. They destroy everything to get that last crumb of hay. Anything you can do to limit how much hay they can get at one time will help. A regular hay rack with a hog panel inside of it to make small opening, wrapping the roundbale with snowfence or a hockey net... Look around and see what you can make with what you have around. Buying hay with a lower RFV (relative feed value) will have less calories. Don't buy the prettiest stuff that they inhale, buy the mature stalkier stuff that most horse people pass on thinking it's cow hay. Still needs to be clean and moldfree. Straw can be an acceptable chew hay provided it doesn't have the grains, is moldfree, is bright... It's not going to provide much nutrition but it will keep them busy and warm.

loosie 12-17-2012 04:10 AM

288 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by southview charlie (Post 1790257)
What is the answer to limit feeding drafts to keep their weight down?

As with any horse, they need at least about 1.5%bwt daily in roughage, and their digestive system doesn't do well if there isn't near constant small amounts going thru it - so I imagine your drafts were probably gnawing the planks because their tummies were empty & aching. As others have mentioned, some form of 'slow feeder' would limit their intake but allow them free access. Otherwise you could feed them small amounts little & often, or if they're in a big paddock, spread their hay in small piles, as far away from eachother as possible, or use grazing muzzles.


there is never too much hay fed
That is simply not right, especially as most hay is grown from rich, cattle fattening improved pastures.

To OP, feeding hay that's tested low NSC, such as many native or unimproved grasses, is advisable if possible.

BigGreyHorse 12-17-2012 10:14 AM

We've had the natural feeder about 2 1/2 yrs now. The drafts eat till it's empty and then use it for a soccer ball. That feeder has taken some serious abuse. The only maintenance we have done is file some edges off the grate.

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