Do your horses get along except at feeding time? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-27-2017, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Do your horses get along except at feeding time?

Doc my Quarab gelding and Lucy my American Miniature get along very well except the first five minutes of feeding time. I work so am only able to feed them in the morning and in the evening. I distribute their hay into four separate piles. Lucy will pick a pile away from Doc and most of the time he will walk over to her, pin his ears back and push her out. Sometimes she doesn't budge, he will go to nip at her but she will be ready and kick him making him groan. After the initial five minutes they are the best of friends sharing all of the piles with one another side by side. Does anyone know what this is all about? Is there something I should be doing that I am not?
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-27-2017, 10:22 AM
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This sounds a lot like my QH and mini. It's never really bad, just some squeeling and nipping. Every group of horses I've had in my life always seem to play musical chairs with their feed, pushing one away and getting pushed away by another. But they soon settle into a pile. My grandma hated it and would stand around with the poop fork and make everyone stay at their own pile, but I say that's too much work for me! They settle down and food squabbles die down, like you have noticed, within a few minutes.

I wouldn't worry about it unless it seems blatantly aggressive, then I would consider separating them.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-27-2017, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you I was hoping that was all it was. From what I can see he doesn't make contact with her when he goes to nip but she does make contact with him when she kicks.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-27-2017, 10:36 AM
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Simple normal food aggression, with herd order at play, and something we create in our domestic horses, by the way we feed them.
When horses are just fed timed meals, they fear if they don't 'protect' that food from rivals, it will be gone. Thus, the most food aggression when first fed, being hungry, making sure they get the 'best pile of hay, or all of it,if possible, by moving lower down horses off of hay piles
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-03-2017, 03:41 PM
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More piles of hay might help. I have 2 "full sized horses" and spread their hay into at least a dozen piles. If the aggression escalates, you could tie them up at hay nets until that first tense five minutes are over and their tummies aren't so grumbly.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-03-2017, 06:05 PM
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Do you put out more piles than there are horses, and spaced far-enough apart that they won't 'hoard piles'? Right now we have two large feeders for four horses, with two hay piles, so if needed, each horse has their own spot. Usually they share, but sometimes grumpiness ensues and then we know everyone gets food without strife.

Be very careful of squabbles between minis and full-sized horses. It's easy for a mini to be seriously injured or killed by a kick from a larger horse, even one not meant to be serious.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-04-2017, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Simple normal food aggression, with herd order at play, and something we create in our domestic horses, by the way we feed them.
When horses are just fed timed meals, they fear if they don't 'protect' that food from rivals, it will be gone. Thus, the most food aggression when first fed, being hungry, making sure they get the 'best pile of hay, or all of it,if possible, by moving lower down horses off of hay piles
Yes...the "best pile" is a big deal. It's like musical chairs until they actually taste test them all and decide they are all the same.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-09-2017, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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I have noticed the musical piles. I will add two more piles and make it six instead of four. At this point the full size horse only makes a move to nip (I am not seeing any contact) and the mini is on top of it and ready to kick, which she does. He lets out a groan and she walks away.
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