Pasture As Important Part Of Feeding Program
How many rely on pasture as a BIG part of your feeding program?
What are you doing to offset costs as prices go up for hay and feed??
What if drought, or too much rain (any adverse weather conditions) has affected your pasture,
what/how are you compensating for that component in your overall feeding program?
Thanks for any input:wink:
My horses have grass but its not exactly how much I'd want. But if i had a lush pasture, i would probably feed 2/3 of what i feed now and much less hay. But before my first horse has this grass pasture, he was on a dry lot. I still give him the same amount of food. He gets 1 1/2 scoops of safechoice plus 2 pads of hay morning and night. I keep an eye on his weight. My second horse is overweight and gets 1/2 a scoop of feed and 2 pads of hay twice a day. I feed grain separately but drop the 4 pads of hay in with my thinner gelding and let the tubby one in after so the hay has already been attacked.
Price has gone up on feed and i pay anywhere from 10.95-15.85/bale of hay. But the way i see it, theyre my responsbility so there is no offset. But I think pasture is an important part of anyones feeding plan.
I just bought my hay last week for this winter.
$4.50 a bale for grass hay, but its good grass hay, and my younger horse is an easy keeper.
I also feed my older horse, hay cubes year round, so that is where it gets expensive for me.
Luckily, we've had some rain recently and it really brought my pasture back to life.
I rely A LOT on pasture as part of my feeding program.
While pasture makes up most of my feed program for spring, summer & fall, I also feed commercial bagged feed and/or oats to some of my horses. It depends on their needs. My broodmares and foals get commercial feed as well as any harder keepers. All have access to salt & minerals. I will be switching shortly from mineral blocks to equine tubs with the larger bunch.
As for hay, I just spent hours today stacking squares in a shed. We put up our own hay and the alfalfa mix that we just baled today looks great. If we had to buy it, it would likely cost in the area of $4.00 a bale for 65-75 lb bales.
Pasture IS my feeding program :]
They are on it 24/7. If it's spring, they are fatter. If it's winter, they are skinnier (Though still a healthy weight).
In drought years we throw them a biscuit or two of lucerne hay daily.
I generally only hard feed going into show season and when away competeing.
1. Pasture is the bulk of my feed program, even though two of my horses are insulin resistant and wear grazing muzzles.
Drought did affect the pastures a few years back and it cost us over $500 to put weed killer down since the weeds kept growing and spreading when grass didn't. I was feeding a bale of hay every two days to my four and rotating them in the house and barn yards.
Rain is never ever an issue for us. Bring it on - bring it all on because we sit high and have the most superb natural drainage the Good Lord ever created on a piece of land. We were good and wet during the 2010 Nashville, TN floods but we were dried out in 24 hours and dusty in less than a week.
2. Hay. Since 2004, I have been very fortunate to buy low NSC, fescue and weed free hay five miles up the road, from a ex-breeder. Ex since the Walking Horse industry tanked in a major way:-(
Because he stockpiled everything needed for baling, including diesel fuel, I considered myself lucky to buy 370 bales at $4.50/bale this year. I didn't need quite that much, but who knows what next year will bring, and I always like to have extra going into the next season. Not a thing wrong with year-old hay if it's stored properly.
He also lets me keep the 100 bales I don't have room for at his place until I need it.
I have four horses on 22 lush acres and should not need that much hay BUT, two of them are insulin resistant, need more hay than grass, and everyone comes in at night.
2.1 I haven't fed grain or bagged feed to anyone since the senior IR was diagnosed in 2007. They all get the same vit/min supplement and I get a whopping discount on it if I buy a year's worth and keep it in the spare bedroom.
The other things any of those horses need for one reason or another (mostly old age, arthritis and the IR) can't be cut out, so I cut things out for myself. I have never been a person to "live large" and I am now on S.S., so the sacrifices continue.
The days I paid for the hay and the vit/min supplements, were the days I started saving to pay for them next year, knowing I probably won't have enough but at I won't have to write a check for too much extra--I hope:-(
The way things are going in this country, combined with the extreme weather conditions we all seem to be suffering, I can see where younger folks, still raising children or putting them thru college, could run into money issues keeping a horse or two. Especially if they don't have much acreage or are having to pay board and the board keeps going up.
Forgot to say - our horses are in very large paddocks, so even in drought conditions,there is usually enough stubble to keep them going. The paddocks are very undulating so drainage is never really an issue - They can just move to higher/drier ground.
We weed spray every year - For Pattersons Curse. Two horses died on a next door property from Curse poisining a few years ago - We don't take out chances.
interesting thread thanks Woanow! i have 4 horses on about 12acres and I'm buying hay and feeding about a bale a day. i was planning on planting my pastures this spring had the seed and it didn't raid for almost 3 months.....then it' rained one time and didn't rain again for another month. grass seed just can't get started with that little rain. at least as far as i know it can't. so I'm planning on planting this fall in winter wheat and buying a box car or something to hold enough hay to get me by. normally when our pastures are good we just fed our Arabs a little every day to keep them coming up to the house so that we could check on them daily. now I'm feeding everything bought and it's KILLING my budget. like someone else said they get what they need and its me that does without :)
oh sorry i didn't answer the questions
a. pasture plays about 50% or more of our feeding program
b. to offset the costs we stay home eat home and look hard to find good deals on hay
c. we've been affected by serious drought
d. we compensate by feeding more and buying hay which we normally don't have to do.
My horse is out most of the day and only comes in for grain twice a day. Each herd group at my farm has at least two pasture options that they're rotated through, so most horses at my farm aren't fed hay. If they're kept in for any reason (like waiting to see the farrier for example), they're fed hay but if they're out it's pasture.
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