Another feeding schedule thread... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Another feeding schedule thread...

Looking for educated opinions here.

I work from home a lot. There are at least two days a week, however (sometimes more, but not usually), when I am not home for several hours. When I am home, I tend to do a lot of small feedings for my herd of 3 easy-keepers. Free choice is not an option as they all get very fat very quickly (Harley had to go on a diet last winter). But to avoid ulcers, I do meals on the following schedule on days that I am working from home:

MWFSS

8 am - hay
10 am - hay cubes+ beet pulp
12 pm hay
4 pm hay
7 pm hay cubes + beet pulp
9 pm hay in haynets for the night

I should mention that those times are approximate and that it will vary daily by up to an hour one way or another. They do not have an expectation that there will be food appearing at 12 noon on the dot, for example. These are ballparks.

On the two days I am at the office, I modify this schedule to provide them with hay in haynets during the day. So it looks like this:

TT
8 am - hay cubes + beet pulp and hay in haynets (quantity is the same as 8 am and 12 feedings combined)
4:30 pm hay
7 pm hay cubes + beet pulp
9 pm hay in haynets for the night.

My question is about whether this is ok, or whether it's a problem for the schedule to change. Would it be better if I did the same thing every day, even though it would mean less feedings when I am home and perfectly able to do more? I hate seeing them without hay, but it's a necessary evil. Even with haynets, they run out before the next feeding. My haynets are 1" holes btw, so I can't go any smaller. They just don't eat that much because they're small horses so no matter what I do, they will never have food in front of them at all times.

Or am I overthinking this whole feeding schedule?
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 03:30 PM
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I like your feeding plan and it is very similar to my own. When I need to be away from my home office I tend to double bag my slow feed bags so they slow down more. I also tend to make more piles or places for them to have to go to to eat. I tried leaving them in stalls and runs on those days I may be away but some days I could be away from home for 12hrs and I like for them to be able to wander a bit.
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion @carshon ! I like your idea of double-bagging. I tend to use more haynets and spread them out more too when I know I won't be around much during the day. Whatever I can do to keep them busy.
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 05:54 PM
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All sounds good to me.
Feed little and often, one of the golden rules.
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 06:01 PM
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Looks fine to me. I had to slow feed nagbags for years, last year I double bagged. I now have nag bags with holes in them, lol. They never chewed holes in them before.
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post #6 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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So you all think I should stick to this schedule even though it changes a bit on Tuesdays and Thursdays?
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
So you all think I should stick to this schedule even though it changes a bit on Tuesdays and Thursdays?
After a certain point, the on again off again schedule becomes the schedule. It's fine. I don't spend NEAR the amount of time feeding that you do. If I did, I guarantee I'd be down to 2 or less horses real fast. That schedule leaves you very little time for anything else.

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post #8 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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[/QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
After a certain point, the on again off again schedule becomes the schedule. It's fine. I don't spend NEAR the amount of time feeding that you do. If I did, I guarantee I'd be down to 2 or less horses real fast. That schedule leaves you very little time for anything else.
It's not actually that bad. I pick up poop as I go, walking to the barn and throwing a few flakes of hay in, checking water and coming back maybe takes me 15 minutes. I do that 6 times a day, so maybe 1h30 min. total in a day. I know lots of people who spend more time than that at the barn, but do it all in one swoop. It's a nice break from working.

However, you're right, I couldn't do it with 10 horses unless I quit my job. And then I couldn't afford the horses so I am sticking with a max of 3. It's doable with 3. And summer is way easier - they're on pasture so I just do the wet feed 2x a day and water. The frequent feedings are mostly for Harley who is prone to ulcers.
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-09-2020, 08:29 PM
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Just curious: how do you ensure that one of the dudes isn't getting the majority of the hay? Do they get the haynets in stalls at night, or are they still out?(I ask for selfish reasons: I am thinking of bamboozling DH into a second horse if Boojum remains unsound, but that is one of my worries.)

Boojum twists his neck and then yanks the hay out of his 1" haynet, so I got worried and switched to using a Port-A-Grazer. Haynet or Grazer, he can clean out half a days hay in 45 minutes. I tried double netting but he got way too frustrated and started throwing temper tantrums, really cranking on the net AND making holes. There was also always a few fistfulls of hay left between the nets so I began worrying about mold.

I worry alot.

But your schedule sounds really fine, and good for you too: getting away from the desk for a few minutes several times a day.
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-10-2020, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Captain Evil View Post
Just curious: how do you ensure that one of the dudes isn't getting the majority of the hay? Do they get the haynets in stalls at night, or are they still out?(I ask for selfish reasons: I am thinking of bamboozling DH into a second horse if Boojum remains unsound, but that is one of my worries.)

Boojum twists his neck and then yanks the hay out of his 1" haynet, so I got worried and switched to using a Port-A-Grazer. Haynet or Grazer, he can clean out half a days hay in 45 minutes. I tried double netting but he got way too frustrated and started throwing temper tantrums, really cranking on the net AND making holes. There was also always a few fistfulls of hay left between the nets so I began worrying about mold.

I worry alot.

But your schedule sounds really fine, and good for you too: getting away from the desk for a few minutes several times a day.
Yes, this is an issue that is starting to come up because Harley, at 20, is getting really slow at eating his hay. I keep asking vets, and they say his teeth are fine. Right now, it's not a huge deal since he is the smallest and requires the least amount of hay this time of year. He's also dominant so will defend his hay pile/net and the other two will respect it. But I keep a close eye on weight. So to ensure all are getting their fair share, I separate him for the 4 pm feeding. He goes in my third stall which is separate from the two stalls I've combined into one to make a big run-in. He gets his hay all to himself for a couple of hours and honestly, I think he appreciates the quiet time. At the 6-7 pm feeding, I go let him out with the others after he's had his hay cubes and beet pulp. There will probably come a time when I have to separate him for more feedings (I could put him in the third stall for the night with lots of hay), but we'll take it one day at a time. For now, this is enough to keep him at a good weight. Rusty's the only one who gets a little ribby by spring if I'm not careful. He's the lowest on the totem pole, and the biggest of the three. So sometimes I give him some extra beet pulp for calories.

It is really tricky to keep horses as a herd like this. It's important to keep an eye on weight I think, and use a tape to measure since winter coats and blankets can hide weight loss. And because I'm home and interact with them often, I can observe the herd patterns. I can see Harley getting older and having less energy to chase everyone off. At some point, he may lose his place at the top. That's when I'll have to make sure he's still getting his share.
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