Hay Belly! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 02-04-2012, 07:57 PM
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How old is she, and how is her weight? My IR mare's first symptoms were bloating and frequent gas colics. She went from being completely fine on pasture 24/7 to full blown IR right around age 7. She now gets a supplement called Remission and does not get access to grass, and she's back to a great weight, no gas/bloating, and no colicking (knock on wood).

The other thing that gets mistaken for a hay belly all too often is a worm belly. Have you considered having a fecal done to check her parasite load?
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post #12 of 20 Old 02-05-2012, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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shes only 5. Shes been on hay since I've had her. (except last summer when we would go on walks just so I could let her graze) The only time her belly goes down is when we go on trail rides that are either super taxing for her and involve some climbing and lots of walking, or the ones that are like 4 hours long. People have asked me if she is pregnant before and when we come back from a ride I'll have had to stop and adjust her girth and back cinch a couple of times because of the amount of gas that comes out of her while we ride.
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post #13 of 20 Old 02-05-2012, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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I tried the beet pulp and she was so bloated today that my heart skipped a beat... and not in a good way. now what?
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post #14 of 20 Old 02-06-2012, 07:23 PM
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Slow feeder first and foremost, more regular exercise to keep her moving like an hour every day, and up her protein. I would use a bit of Alfalfa hay mixed in her slow feeder net to be sure she is getting adequate protein. Her overall body condition would determin how much I would give her. Poor topline but fat belly would make me give more than a fat horse with a big belly.

Also, deworm well with something like Quest Plus that gets all worms or do a power pack (quest works just fine and is cheaper) and make sure the horse is clean.

Feed a daily probiotic toaid digestion.

Also, plain grass hay is usually low on certain nutrients. Id be inclined to use a ration balancer daily to make sure she is getting adequate nutrition. It is possible for a horse to have tons to eat and still be malnourished if the forage doesnt provide enough nutrition. Usually, hay belly is caused by low protien content and the horse overeating to try to get what it needs.

A good evaluation of the horses nutrition is prbably a good idea but a slow feeder, a daily quality ration balancer and some alfalfa usually does the trick.

Last thing is again the quality of the hay she is eating. If it is mostly fibrous over mature stems and barely any leaf blades, she wont be able to help but to have a hay belly because the forage is very indigestable and mostly bulky fiber. The way to tell is if you dig your fingers into the hay and it feels *****ly, it is not good horse quality hay and is overmature or weedy hay. Good hay should be soft when you dig your fingers into it.

Long story short, Hay belly is 99% a management issue. You just have to figure out what the cause is and methodically change things till you get it.

Married to my One! 10-11-13 Steampunk style:)

Last edited by Trinity3205; 02-06-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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post #15 of 20 Old 02-07-2012, 10:01 AM
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I have never had a horse with hay belly till this winter when our new mare blew up like a balloon. We started feeding her hay out of slow feeders and changed her to a more sufficient grain. We also took up all the round bales and just started offering square bales. It only took a couple weeks to notice a huge improvement.

Shorty * N * Opie
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post #16 of 20 Old 02-07-2012, 10:33 AM
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How much feed (and what kind), how much hay, etc is she getting everyday?
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post #17 of 20 Old 02-07-2012, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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I started her on beet pulp, so we are going slow with that, she is on Strategy for all of its vitamins and proteins in it, and I give her ohhh I would say about 20-25 lbs of hay daily right now and that is spread around her pen so she has to more or less "forage" for it.

Of the Strategy, she gets a pint and a half of a day
I now have added the beet pulp. I give her two cups dry, so about 6-8 cups after soaked of that.
And then her hay which I spread out to her 2-3 times a day so she is eating as often and frequently as possible
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post #18 of 20 Old 02-08-2012, 12:15 AM
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I believe Strategy is meant to be fed at least 4 lbs or so a day minimum. You need to check the weight of the feed you are giving in a day and if it is not 4 lbs, switch to a ration balancer.

Married to my One! 10-11-13 Steampunk style:)
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post #19 of 20 Old 02-08-2012, 08:58 AM
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Agreeing with Trinity.

All feed should be weighed, not "by the scoop" as each scoop can weight differently. Add to that that every feed weighs different amounts...
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post #20 of 20 Old 02-08-2012, 02:51 PM
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You can get couple of small mesh hay feeders from Chicks for about $15. Stuff them with hay and hang them well apart so she walks back and forth. They hold about 3 flakes of hay each. This will slow her down so she's nibbling rather than wolfing down big mouthfuls. The faster it goes in the faster it comes out, that's the way a horse's system works. Also, if feeding grain put it in the absolutely biggest container you can find. Even an old door with boards nailed to the edges will work. The better it is scattered, the more she has to nibble.



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