Help with feeding time - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by elkdog View Post
More piles just makes more problems. I don't agree with the separate piles-horses. There are higher, and lower in a horse heard. No equals. Put out a round bale, walk away, and let them be horses. The human belief of "fair" and "justice" have no place in a heard when we're not around.
I'm on the fence with things like this. I do believe in letting animals be animals and let them figure it out. However, when it comes to domestic stock (or pets, etc.), there comes a point where you have a responsibility/obligation to protect your property and investment.

So my question to you is, with what appears to be such an absolute "survival of the fittest" method, how do you handle those cases of extreme aggression (I've heard of and seen horses chased relentlessly by herdmates to the point of it being dangerous) and prevent those low on the totem pole from dropping weight and becoming unhealthy?

This is not an attack, I am merely curious. Many people fantasize about their animals living as nature intended, but nature is often not so kind and rarely what they envisioned.

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post #12 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 01:58 AM
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I'm in Arizona and I don't think I've ever even seen a round bale! No pasture either.

It must be nice to have access to economical feed options.
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post #13 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by elkdog View Post
More piles just makes more problems. I don't agree with the separate piles-horses. There are higher, and lower in a horse heard. No equals. Put out a round bale, walk away, and let them be horses. The human belief of "fair" and "justice" have no place in a heard when we're not around.
The issue is.... We Are Around!

Since we "own" them we are responsible for making sure their needs are met...that includes adequate food.

I live in a area of large properties rich with livestock...
Those that care and want the most "$$ on the hoof" do manage their herds carefully.
Aggressive are with aggressive and bully behavior...
Passive are kept with the passive and mild-manners...
This is done not only with horses but the cattle ranches too.
It is far cheaper and cost effective to group like personality together.
When you can't do that separation, you make darn sure that all animals have the opportunity to eat well without grief...

We, as caretakers just need to make sure the pecking order is fed enough they stop chasing off the underlings who also need to eat.
If an extra pile set out allows my passive personality horse to eat...
....

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #14 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 06:59 AM
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Agree with everyone that you need more piles, and further apart.

My gelding is a pig and will chase my mare away from her food. I have had to shut her in at night just so I could make sure she was getting her share (they have dutch doors leading to their paddock which I leave open except in the worst weather). Even when I put hay in haynets inside each stall, my gelding would go from one stall to the other, chasing her away so she got too stressed to even try to eat. I envy people who can have one big hay feeder that everyone shares. My gelding would never go for that.
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post #15 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 07:05 AM
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Yeah, I also have to disagree with @elkdog . This isn't survival of the fittest. We can't just "let them work it out" when it's clear that one horse is loosing weight and getting anxious. We enclose our horses in areas where they cannot choose to just find another herd in another area. They're stuck together and only have so much food to divide amongst them.

I used to board my horse at a neighbor's place, and they told me my 14.2 Arab gelding was eating 3/4 of a square bale per day. When I brought him home, I realized that was impossible. He would have been so fat. The most I've ever fed him was half a bale and even at that, I had to be careful not to overdo it. But the neighbor would just throw all the hay in two piles - for four horses. Not only was my gelding not eating his share, he was not drinking either because he would get chased away from the water trough. Meanwhile, their dominant Percheron X was getting fatter and fatter... poor horse ended up foundering this past spring too. Bottom line: if you just let the horses work it out, some will end up too fat, some too thin. Neither option is good for them.
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post #16 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by elkdog View Post
More piles just makes more problems. I don't agree with the separate piles-horses. There are higher, and lower in a horse heard. No equals. Put out a round bale, walk away, and let them be horses. The human belief of "fair" and "justice" have no place in a heard when we're not around.
Horses were designed to graze and move. Not only is feeding separate piles smart as far as making sure the low man on the totem pole gets to eat, it also promotes movement.

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post #17 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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I agree, she would never work it out. She is a very sweet horse and just stands back when they walk at her. I?ve seperated the piles further apart until I can get more troughs to feed out of. Moving them to another pasture tomorrow, so I will start new feeding stations. Right now I?m feeding 4 flakes of hay twice a day with grain twice a day. They still have grass and planting winter grass tomorrow in biggest pasture. Do y?all recommend making say 5 equal piles of a flake a piece or make more piles of day half a flake?

Also right now with my schedule, I am having to feed grain with hay. So they are eating all their grain and going right to hay. Is this ok or do I need to get my wife to feed one while I?m not there? I just like to keep the same routine. I know horses are made to graze on forage throughout the day.
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post #18 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 09:24 AM
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Unless you're giving a very large quantity of grain (which is rarely advised anyway,) feeding hay & grain together should be fine. I'd set out 5 regular flakes and just stand out there long enough to make sure timid mare finishes her grain before you leave. It's unlikely 1 extra flake will add too many pounds to any horse, and 1 flake is really only a handful of extra bales over the year.

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post #19 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 10:26 AM
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I used to feed up to 15 horses in a group,in the winter, putting out lots of hay piles
It works. My horses were taught never to act aggressive towards any other horse, while I was out there with them.
Very important when you feed a big group of horses,esp you don't get accidentally kicked or run over.
They figured it out, once I was out of the field, playing the usual 'musical hay pile' routine. With enough extra piles, soon they all settle down to eat just fine, knowing their order in that herd
What is not natural for horses, is to have the idea of free choice hay, imply they park themselves in one place in front of a round bale!
I already mentioned the health risks of free choice round bales, without a slow feeder hay net
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post #20 of 27 Old 10-20-2017, 11:17 AM
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Coach...
For the same reasons of needing to have more piles of hay than horses....
Feeding their feed without supervising who eats what is going to be a problem.

It isn't the amount, as you aren't feeding 5 pounds or more feed at your feeding time, but it is the fact that that mare of yours is going to get chased off her feed by the piggiest of pig horses...
You do need to protect that timid horse{s} from the more aggressive chow hound.

You mentioned your wife being able to feed a meal during the day....that would be great!
If your wife is able to get the mare, secure her by just putting her halter on so she stays put, feed the others and yes, stand guard...keep the others away while she eats, then once she is done your wife release her.
If you not have "stalls" or a way to separate those horses during feeding of feed time, I would halter and tie them so each is assured their ration of food.
They figure it out real quick they can eat slow, or they can bolt their food down, but they can't go steal the other horses...
It is a little more effort needed by us humans but the horses do benefit by getting their ration.
Once feed is done, slip those halters and off they go to the hay piles.
Once they learn the routine I have seen where halters weren't even needed and the horses learned to not harass each other...they came to stand at their spot, eat their feed then off they went when finished.
You, the human caregiver, though must start by restricting movement during that feeding time, a routine once is learned that then the horse can do on their own,....you as the human part though just need to be around to make sure no one forgets their manners.
...
jmo...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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