Join Date: May 2016
Location: The boondocks of Kansas
• Horses: 0
The biggest factor in determining how many bales you will need is the WEIGHT of the bales----small square can range from 30pounds to over 100 pounds, depending on the farmer, the baler, and the type of hay. You also need to consider the quality of the hay.
Assuming each mini weights 250 lbs (we have 2 minis, one is 250, the other 275 lbs), that's 5 pounds per horse per day, a total of 10 pounds per day. However, if it's bitter cold with high winds, they may need almost twice that to generate enough heat to stay warm.
When I calculate how much hay I'll need, I add round up their weights to allow for wastage so the 2 mini's become 300 lbs each, total 600 lbs, which at 2% of their body weight is 12 lbs per day. Multiply that by how many days you'll need to feed them before getting more hay--lets say 120. 12 lbs/day times 120 days = 1440 pounds. Then I add in another 20% to cover those bitter cold days when the horses are on free choice hay approx. 1728 lbs, so I'd buy a ton of hay to be on the safe side.
Even if you are graining them, during the winter especially, you need to allow for 2% of their ideal weight plus some extra for wastage and bitter cold days. Do the above calculations for your 3 horses, then find out how much a bale weighs and divide that into the pounds needed and round up.
It's normally cheaper to buy hay by the ton than by the bale if you have the room to store it.