Slight hay belly on foal?
My colt turned is 5 months old and has a slight hay belly right now. He was gelded about 2 weeks ago and has developed it since. I am wondering if this is something that I should be worried about- cut his food intake down? I just really am nervous with it being so cold that he isn't getting enough to eat otherwise. Any suggestions or can this be normal?
make sure you are on a good worming program. Could you post a picture to show the belly?
Since it's going into the winter, I would rather a horse have some extra fat on them going in, then scrambling to get them to gain weight.
If it's just slight, I wouldn't worry about it. Your foal is 5 months and will most likely burn it off running around and being goofy in the pasture.
is he weaned already?? What is his deworming scheadule like?? What does he get to eat BESIDES hay ??
don't you love those stages of growth they go thur :)
I wouldn't worry about it. Most foals have a belly at that age, just make sure he is on a good de-worming regiment. With the cold weather he is going to keep that belly for a few months, probably well into his first and second year of growing.
The only time I would be concerned with weight is with heavy breeds. Those foals you usually have to keep on the lighter side.
Do you have photos?
Yes he is weaned already. I just wormed him with a strongid paste about 2 weeks ago and plan on worming again at the 4 week mark. It seemed like he got the hay belly shortly after I had him gelded.
I will try and get some pictures of him this afternoon before we are supposed to get the snow.
Ahhh.. My nemisis! The hay belly!
Due to the fact that I show heavily with my stock, haybelly was my biggest frustration, especially in the weanling classes! When I first started showing, I noticed mine was the only one to have haybelly, while everyone elses were dang near perfect! Thus, my quest to study and research why began!:wink:
Looking at your weanling, and any other horse as a matter, grains work on the "top line" of the build, while hay/grass works on the "bottom line" of the horses build.
When you feed a grass mix, this is what gives the haybelly apearance. It is not anything to worry about when it comes to their health. It is asthetic only.
Now, speaking appearance only, this is what has worked for me and many others in the show world of weanlings. Depending on your budget will determine how far you want to go with "fitting" baby. Weanlings especially up to the 6 month age, will for the most part have this haybelly appearance as their bodies are coming together. How much you want to reduce it is up to you.
One thing I had to do starting out, was reducing the amount of hay/grass I was giving. I was even on a free feed plan which I had to cut out. Switching my filler product was the next thing. I moved completely away from any grass/hay mix. The grass was countering everything I was working against. I feed alf-alfa and generally a 2nd cutting. When it comes to show season, I trim it down to 1 flake a day. During the winter when they need to keep warm, I will go 2-3 a day.
I use a complete feed grain. Now there are tons of great brands out there that have lots of needed (and then some) nutriants. Which is going to be based on where you live with availability. Here is where I get a lot of shocked looks, but there is so much into whats going on as to why I feed the amount I do. I feed a regulated amount of 6lbs a day. I have also added alf-alfa pellets to the daily diet to help suppliment the amount of protiens and other nutriants I want to make sure they get.
I hope this helps some, and if this is a big enough issue with you, that maybe it can start you in the right direction. There are many other things a person can do to improve the appearance, but thats a whole other post! LOL! Remember that if your weanling gets a good amount of exercise, you will need to account for the amount of calories burned daily and adjust feeding accordingly.
If you're not showing, don't worry about it. You can have your vet check fecals for worms, to make sure your deworming is working (or you can buy the kit from smart pak). Otherwise, he's fine.
The healthiest diet is grass hay or mixed grass hay. Babies don't need a lot of grain, and really IMO shouldn't have a lot of grain. Feed a ration balancer like Triple Crown's 30% supplement at the recommended level (1-2 lbs a day) and the rest free choice grass, with maybe some plain whole oats thrown in as a "goody" in his feed. If he becomes too fat you can think about cutting back on his hay, but really, that would be the last thing I'd do ;-). Be sure he has plenty of turn out time with friends, so he can work those young bones and muscles, and burn off some of that hay.
Horses' guts are designed to process hay; they are not designed to process large amounts of grain products or legumes. Enjoy this awkward stage; it can be fun for you both :D.
I noticed that too on my colt after I gelded him, I think it is natural. I would also rather that he has a bit of fat on him before the coldest months, and it is easier for him to grow when he has a bit of extra fat.
Being healthy is more important then being thin.
Thanks so much for the replies. I just want him to be healthy and can deal if he is going through an akward stage. I am posting some pictures so let me know if there is something I should be concerned about. I am finding that the mountain horses seem to be very easy keepers! These were taken right after his first snow storm!
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