Feeding Hay - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-07-2014, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Feeding Hay

I am not new to horses but no means. But this is the best way to ask questions regarding different horse topics. I may be buying my old mare back, but on a budget!

1) I am going to be buying round bales for *my* mare. I won't get to see her every day. I want to always know she has free choice hay. Will a round bale 5X5 last her at least 2 weeks? She isn't a pig at all with round bales!

2) The round bales are orchard grass clover mix. She isn't hard to keep or put weight on. Will that be ok? She usually got fed grass hay anyways. (With grain)

3) She is a very buddy sour horse. She quickly becomes attached to other horses. What's the best way to keep her happy without buying another horse? She will be in a 5 foot barbed wire fence. I need an animal what can't escape that! And please don't tell me that I shouldn't have her in a barbed wire fence.

4) Can I have the round bales on a wooden pallet to keep it off the ground? I don't have a hay feeder.

If I think of anymore little questions, I'll add them! Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-07-2014, 07:01 PM
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I would not use a pallet, the slats, a hoof could get stuck in them, and they are not the strongest wood around.
What is the weight of those bales ? I get alfalfa hay in 120 lb av weight bales, last each horse about 5 days. so for two weeks you could probably get by with a 250 lb bale. again it depends on the hay. Mine would eat until they popped.
Maybe a donkey ? for a buddy ?
I hate barbed wire.. sorry..
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-08-2014, 05:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheyennedonichole View Post
1) I am going to be buying round bales for *my* mare. I won't get to see her every day. I want to always know she has free choice hay. Will a round bale 5X5 last her at least 2 weeks? She isn't a pig at all with round bales!

4) Can I have the round bales on a wooden pallet to keep it off the ground? I don't have a hay feeder.
If you don't have a feeder/hay ring, don't put it on a pallet. stevenson is right...the slats are not terribly strong, a hoof could get caught, and there are nails.

A round bale will last one horse a very long time, but unless you have a hay ring/feeder and very dry weather, you'll have a lot of waste from mold and the hay being spread around and fouled. I would expect you'll lose at least half in waste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheyennedonichole View Post
2) The round bales are orchard grass clover mix. She isn't hard to keep or put weight on. Will that be ok? She usually got fed grass hay anyways. (With grain)
That should be fine.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-08-2014, 05:31 AM
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The answer to 3) is very simple - horses are herd animals and they need the company of their own species to be mentally comfortable and happy. There are no other animals, except for mules, donkeys and ponies (read - other EQUINES), that can keep them suitable company. It is very likely that she might be herd bound exactly because she has lacked a dependable herd environment for a sufficient amount of time/in an appropriate setting.

Pallets are not a good idea, but I'd suggest wrapping the bales in those huge round bale hay nets.

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post #5 of 18 Old 08-08-2014, 05:45 AM
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A 5x5 bales can vary from 700 to 1200 lbs in weight. A lighter one will last close to a month. A heavier one will last a month for sure. I will agree that if you don't use a feeder, you will have more wasted hay. A feeder will pay for itself in a few months. You could store the hay on pallets but you would want to remove them when feeding. With one horse, unless you always have dry weather, you will probably have moldy hay towards the end of the bale. It doesn't take very long with rain for the bottom to mold up, especially once opened.

It may work with having only one horse. Goats would escape through the fence. If you had another larger grazing animal, cow or alpaca or such, those should be OK with the fencing. Not only is it better to have another herd animal for company but it also creates a competition for the food. She will eat better with another animal. Maybe you could borrow a friends horse for a while. However, a bale wouldn't likely last 2 weeks, especially without a feeder.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-13-2014, 10:39 AM
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I've seen round bales without a feeder, and it wasn't too pretty. There was lots of wasted hay, the horses rolled in it, and there were snakes/rodents making home there. I think investing in a feeder would definitely pay off...wooden slats are just too risky and probably wouldn't hold up that well anyway.

If she gets easily attached to other horses, you could always try a donkey (or even a mini, I have one and he's been great for my mare). They're pretty low maintenance and generally easy-keepers. But I don't know how they'd do with fence, they're very inquisitive and love to scratch on stuff so I don't think I'd put one in a barbed wire fence...sorry. :/
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post #7 of 18 Old 08-13-2014, 10:31 PM
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I've seen others take cattle panels that have 5-6" squares, they are 5'x16' wrap them around the bales may have to clamp couple together. This is a cheap reader that works well keeps waste to a bare minimum. You could modify it to your needs.

I stall raise my gelding. He gets out on grass every other day, all day. He is never around other horses except when we ride with others. He does fine. Plus it keeps him from becoming to attached and "sour"
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-15-2014, 03:22 AM
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i would get her a companion horse..maybe a pony or mini depending if you want to save a bit on the feed...i would just never keep a horse alone...when i had only 1 horse I found someone else to board him with who also had a horse she needed to board...when she moved on my boy was then miserable... i bought another horse as a companion for him and he was MUCH happier then!

my 4 boys eat through a 500# round bale (thats like about 5x5 size) in like less than a week but thats the 4 of them draft horses...but the quicker the better cause they do get messy. we just put the bales out for them on the ground...the bit of waste is worth the less risk of accidents with pallets and hay feeders IMO...

1 round bale should easily last your 1 horse for 2 weeks..will probably last more...id be concerned about mould actually since it may take a long time for 1 horse to eat it down.

good luck!!!
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-17-2014, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saranda View Post
The answer to 3) is very simple - horses are herd animals and they need the company of their own species to be mentally comfortable and happy. There are no other animals, except for mules, donkeys and ponies (read - other EQUINES), that can keep them suitable company. It is very likely that she might be herd bound exactly because she has lacked a dependable herd environment for a sufficient amount of time/in an appropriate setting.
Couldn't have said it better myself!

Horses are naturally herd animals, they need the company of other equine! It isn't fair to your horse to keeps her alone.
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-17-2014, 11:44 AM
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Horses need company, be it a donkey, mule or another horse. Ponies are great for company as they are low maintenance.

As for the round bales. I feed round bales and don't have a feeder, One 4x4 bale lasts my herd of 4 apx 4 to 6 days. Every other day I go out with the pitch fork and pile up the loose hay to minimize waste. I wouldn't put pallets out though, as others said they are an accident waiting to happen.

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