Lack of hay??!
I am in central TX and this area is in a severe drought right now. Hay is getting hard to find....Even the local feed store was out of it this weekend and not positive on the ETA of the next shipment -- YIKES! My previous supplier informed me today that he's out and doesn't expect more for another month or so. The biggest problem I am running into is that I am a one-horse show, so to speak, and most of the sellers I'm finding who DO have hay, want to sell large quantities of it. I have neither the money in hand nor the storage space for 200+ bales! I've still got grass on my property, but of course that won't last if we don't get some rain.
My horse is "idle" at the moment, recovering from a bad trim...:evil:... and I am giving him around 2 lbs. daily of a 12%-protein pelleted feed (he's around 1,000 lbs). I know his diet can't consist solely of pellet feed, and I don't like to over-grain a horse that isn't working, but I'm starting to get anxious over the hay situation. Is there anything else I can add to supplement his diet?.....he's turned out 24/7, so he's grazing, for the moment, but the pickings are getting sparse.
I know the feeling. I am having the same issue :-(. I finally had to break down and buy a load of alfalfa pellets from the feed store. We've still got some decent quality grass hay, but it just doesn't have enough real nutrition to keep the weight on horses that I'm working. Hay pellets can take the place of actual hay with very few issues, even though they don't have the coarse stem roughage of real hay. I really wouldn't want to feed a horse nothing but hay pellets for his entire life, but for a short term fix until some hay gets cut this season, it will work.
Plus, the pellets that are just compressed hay don't have the added sugar or molasses of some other feeds and there is no grain, just hay.
I'd second the pellets. Sorry about the hay situation for you both! Hope you get some rain!
I was also going to say hay pellets, or how about hay cubes? if you have a tractor supply near you they should have them
Tractor Supply should stock alfalfa bales, or some similar roughage, and if not should be able to order some. I know they're extremely pricey though. They also carry Standlee products with everything from alfalfa pellets, beet pulp shreds, timothy pellets, etc. Again, good for the short-term, but not a permanent solution. TSC can also order quite a few different things...
Not sure if you have a Tractor Supply by you, but that's be my first recommendation, especially considering I work for them :-)
I feed prairie hay - mostly native grasses (native to Oklahoma, anyway) with a little bermuda mixed in. This makes for a pretty fair hay - much better than what I fed last winter, anyway. This winter my horses didn't lose any weight, and my skinny ones gained weight. However, to insure that they got enough protein, we supplement with alfalfa pellets. We tried the cubes, thinking it would give them more chewing satisfaction (we did soak them for about 1/2 hour first) but the horses didn't like them nearly as well as the pellets, so we went back to the pellets.
TSC also has a chopped hay you can buy - it's in a little plastic bag that looks like a fairly small hay bale. You can measure it with a scoop. Friend used it when her horse developed an abcessed tooth - it got pulled, but the horse's mouth was really tender for a couple of weeks. She had to feed the chopped hay and soaked alfalfa pellets mixed together. The hay is sprayed with molasses, so I don't think I'd want to give it to my horses on a regular basis.
We can get hay around here, but it's pretty pricey. We picked up 5 round bales of prairie hay for $25 each, but that was a special price, and it has more johnson grass in it than I like. Fortunately, the horses seem to be skipping the johnson grass...for now. Pasture isn't coming on like it should (though we have chances of rain every night for the next several nights - may have to resort to the crazy lady rain dance!) Pasture not coming on also means that the hay in our own fields isn't coming on. Scary thought! If hay is high now, what will it be like this coming winter if this dang drought doesn't break?:shock:
you don't want to feed more then about 4 to 6 lbs of beet pulp a day the rest of the "forage' needs to be grass or alfalfa cubes or pellets
You can use hay cubes or hay pellets. If you're used to feeding grass hay, look for timothy, bermuda, or either mixed with alfalfa. Get a scoop or bucket and figure out how much by weight it will hold. If you have okay grazing, then supplement with 3-5 lbs a day, split in to two or three feedings. If grazing goes completely, or it's just dry short grass, you'll want to feed as much as you would with hay. For a 1,000 lbs horse, that would be 15-30 lbs a day. If you use alfalfa mixed with timothy or bermuda, you'll feed on the lower side.
Cubes provide more fiber and generally take longer to eat. You can spread them in an area in your pasture so your horse has to hunt around for them. Spreading them around will help prevent choke too, as those big dry cubes can cause choking issues if your horse bolts his food down. If you're worried about choke, you can wet the cubes down and let them break up for about 20-30 minutes before you feed them.
Hay is scarce here too. I just paid $45 a bale for 800 lb round bales of bermuda, delivered, and I'm happy I could find it! Squares are up to $7.00 each for good bermuda, $7.50 from the feed store when they have it.
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