Hay vs. pellets
My father-in-law swears by pellets, here's his argument.
He says that because of the amount of waste associated with hay, even before feeding, just in transport, storage, and carrying it out to the horse, that pellets actually end up being more cost effective. Not to mention the ease of feeding, the fact that it takes up less space and is cleaner, it's easier for long pack trips or traveling long distances in the trailer, and its easier to measure than weighing hay.
I have always fed hay, I have cared for a few horses that needed pellets for a special reason, like they were older and had difficulty chewing, or cough problems associated with the dust from hay, but never for a horse that didn't need it. I also feel like a horse should take more time to eat, to keep their diet closer to their natural grazing eating habits.
But what are your thoughts and opinions on the matter? Do you think the amount of hay wasted actually makes pellets comparable in cost?
At least in my area, a 40# bag of alfalfa pellets is $12.95 while a 140# bale of alfalfa is generally $15-$17. Obviously, the bale is a better deal.
Grass hay is even less comparable. Around here, a 60+# bale of local grass hay is $5.50 while a 40# bag of grass hay pellets is $14-ish. Of course, the hay in the hay pellets is probably higher quality (our local bales have a really low protein content so I have to supplement with alfalfa or my protein monsters'll start getting skinny) but still.
I suppose though that if you lived in a state still really affected by the drought and/or where all the hay available was super low quality, pellets might be a really great deal.
I do use alfalfa pellets to give supplements something to stick to but I don't really feed them for a purpose beyond that.
Long stem forage (hay) is healthier for the horses digestive tract. Unless I had a horse that had no teeth, I would be feeding AT LEAST a 1/2 hay, half pellet forage diet.
If you feed hay correctly, there is very limited waste. Feed only what the horse will eat and use some kind of a feeder or net.
Unless you can really scatter the pellets, and I mean really scatter them, over something the size of a 4'x8' sheet of plywood with sides the horse will be continually without feed. If fed from a corner feeder or pail he can stuff his cheeks and send them down barely chewed. Unfortunately pellets don't hang around in the digestive tract very long and will soon exit. Then the horse has nothing to eat until the next feeding which could be hours away. He will chew the barn down, fence posts, boards looking for something to fill his need to eat. Without offering hay to tide him over he will develope ulcers. Omeprazole for horses isn't cheap so your dad can add in the cost of the vet, the scoping and the medication to his savings.
I live in northern california. Local hay is $20 a bale for alfalfa, and its pretty poor quality. My BO has hay shipped from out of the area, and I'm not sure how much she pays for that, more than $20 a bale though, I'm sure. I've never bought pellets for a horse, but I looked into buying a horse yesterday that was fed pellets, and the owner said they were about $15 a bag (I'm assuming 40#). I still think hay is the way to go too. My father-in-law is just SO adamant on how pellets are the way to go.
Like I stated before... I would at least do 50/50 hay/pellets.
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$4.00 a bale here for squares. $35 for 4x4 rounds kept inside. I couldn't survive in Cali lol
It has actually gone down from last year when it was $23 a bale. And local hay is not quite cow hay, but not good quality. Yeah, that's the going rate. $8 A bale!! Wow!! That would be unbelievable here
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