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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I have jus recently brought my horse home (finally 馃榿) I鈥檝e bought a large bale of hay and 1 of Bermuda grass, so I鈥檝e been feeding him 1 flake of alfalfa and 1 of Bermuda per feeding, feeding twice a day. Flakes weigh about 4lbs each. Horse is mature at about 10yrs old. He seems to eat it all and just leave a little Bermuda here and there , I have put some flakes of Bermuda into a slow feeder which he will grace throughout the day, I don鈥檛 know the feeding ratio of Bermuda , should I step up to 2 alfalfa and 1 Bermuda per feed? Will that be to much? How can I know if I鈥檓 under feeding, signs, ect. He looks very healthy! He weighs around 1,100lbs
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From just that one photo, he looks a little underweight.

The general rule of thumb is 2% of the horse's body weight. So a 1,000 lb horse needs about 20 lbs of hay daily.

It sounds like you are feeding 16 lbs, so he may lose weight on that. Horses being ridden require more calories, and cold weather can increase needs as well.

It would be helpful to look up body condition scoring on google. There are lots of photo charts to show you how to asses when horses are overweight or underweight.

Hopefully you have the ability to buy and store more hay at a time. My two horses go through a 110 lb bale of hay in 3 days. I don't have a lot of storage but buy about ten to fifteen bales at a time.
 

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Forgot to say...many people find it easier to just free feed hay, unless the horse gets obese.

Also, horses always waste some hay, some more than others. So don't judge the fact that some is left in the ground to mean you are feeding enough. The horse may consider it inedible or fouled. If urine or poop gets mixed in, most horses will leave it. They will also pick out weeds, stems, moldy bits, etc.
 

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Yeah when I brought my mare into DIY I just fed her as much forage as she could eat and then as she began putting on weight adjusted. I think it's also good to know their threshold, so to speak. And I have had to throw entire bales (small) because she didn't like the taste and believe me I tried. It took me some time to realise she WAS hungry just not enough to eat that hay because when I put new flakes out from a different one she gobbled them up straight away. Personally I'd throw as much forage as you can to experiment and go from there. I was nervous at the start about not feeding enough but trust me in a few months time you'll have a good idea. Good luck! :)
 

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Your horse looks healthy because he has a thick winter coat...
Under that coat I will bet he is rather ribby and by looking at his hip bone protruding and sunken flanks he is thin....
That means he needs more food to eat.
Rule of thumb is if the horse should weigh 1000 pounds at full weight, you feed a minimum of 2% of that in forage of hay{s}.
That would be 20 pounds of hay per day....maybe more.
Different hays are different quality and nutritional value and depending upon what you feed...if you feed better quality you might get away with a bit less.
Based on picture appearances the horse needs every bit of 20+ pounds of a combination of the hays you have.
Horses are "trickle feeders" meaning they have small stomachs and do best when a steady amount of food is moving through the digestive tract as many hours a day as possible...
Slow-feed hay nets used are great for this.
Me, I would feed 3 flakes of the Bermuda and 2 of the alfalfa every feeding to get the weight back on this animal.
Once weight is gained, you can then reduce the amount of alfalfa and watch to see how the horse responds to a reduction in quality of food fed and amount fed..you don't want him to lose once he has gained.

If after increasing his hay intake he does not steadily put weight on {14 days you will be seeing a marked difference} then it is time to start the animal on a feed mixture that will also give him added calories and nutrients of vitamins/minerals the body requires to utilize foods eaten.At 10 years of age your horse can eat any style of food except that for babies and growing youngsters. Senior foods, active adult...with a beet pulp as the main ingredient most feed manufacturers offer good choices you can use.
If you need to feed feed, search for the highest fat content, high in fiber and anything between 10% - 14% in protein is where you will have the best success.
That puts you in senior feeds, pleasure feeds, and competition style feeds but read labels as some are better recipes and values than others.
Find a food you can easily get and not run out of, one that is affordable. Good feed is around $25 per bag...
Then start introducing slowly at a pound and work toward the bag suggestion of daily fed with increases every 2 days...so every 5th meal a increase will happen.
Horses need fed feed a minimum of 2x a day and is suggested no more than 5 pounds per feeding or it goes through the intestine so fast it isn't digested or utilized well....creating other problems.
More meals but smaller portions fed is perfect if you can do so...
If for example the horse feed suggests 10 pounds of feed fed that would be 5 pounds each feeding or 3 1/3 pounds if 3 feedings, if 4 feedings 2.5 pounds at each feed....hope that was understandable.
Take the total amount to be fed and divide by number of times you are feeding feed a day, everyday is what will get the horse looking super in a short time.
It costs money to bring back a horse from underweight as yours is...and becomes less expensive to maintain when you feed a steady amount consistently everyday.

First though, you need to make sure the horse has healthy teeth to chew food correctly as digestion starts in the mouth.
A vet visit for a check is needed or get a recommended horse dentist to check those teeth...then go from that point forward getting your boy back to a glistening beauty...
Can't wait to see what he looks like when he sheds out...spectacular think shall be a good descriptive word.
馃惔...
 

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Yeah he needs more hay he looks a bit underweight. I'd put all hay in slow feed nets otherwise they waste half of the hay put out.

I feed round bales we put out a bale with no net. Horses had hay everywhere,took them almost a month to clean it up.. Not putting out bales anymore fill up hay cart and they get that twice a day. Usually there out of hay by next feeding. But no waste going on. A 1000 lb bale for 2 horses last a month and half hand feeding it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Your horse looks healthy because he has a thick winter coat...
Under that coat I will bet he is rather ribby and by looking at his hip bone protruding and sunken flanks he is thin....
That means he needs more food to eat.
Rule of thumb is if the horse should weigh 1000 pounds at full weight, you feed a minimum of 2% of that in forage of hay{s}.
That would be 20 pounds of hay per day....maybe more.
Different hays are different quality and nutritional value and depending upon what you feed...if you feed better quality you might get away with a bit less.
Based on picture appearances the horse needs every bit of 20+ pounds of a combination of the hays you have.
Horses are "trickle feeders" meaning they have small stomachs and do best when a steady amount of food is moving through the digestive tract as many hours a day as possible...
Slow-feed hay nets used are great for this.
Me, I would feed 3 flakes of the Bermuda and 2 of the alfalfa every feeding to get the weight back on this animal.
Once weight is gained, you can then reduce the amount of alfalfa and watch to see how the horse responds to a reduction in quality of food fed and amount fed..you don't want him to lose once he has gained.

If after increasing his hay intake he does not steadily put weight on {14 days you will be seeing a marked difference} then it is time to start the animal on a feed mixture that will also give him added calories and nutrients of vitamins/minerals the body requires to utilize foods eaten.At 10 years of age your horse can eat any style of food except that for babies and growing youngsters. Senior foods, active adult...with a beet pulp as the main ingredient most feed manufacturers offer good choices you can use.
If you need to feed feed, search for the highest fat content, high in fiber and anything between 10% - 14% in protein is where you will have the best success.
That puts you in senior feeds, pleasure feeds, and competition style feeds but read labels as some are better recipes and values than others.
Find a food you can easily get and not run out of, one that is affordable. Good feed is around $25 per bag...
Then start introducing slowly at a pound and work toward the bag suggestion of daily fed with increases every 2 days...so every 5th meal a increase will happen.
Horses need fed feed a minimum of 2x a day and is suggested no more than 5 pounds per feeding or it goes through the intestine so fast it isn't digested or utilized well....creating other problems.
More meals but smaller portions fed is perfect if you can do so...
If for example the horse feed suggests 10 pounds of feed fed that would be 5 pounds each feeding or 3 1/3 pounds if 3 feedings, if 4 feedings 2.5 pounds at each feed....hope that was understandable.
Take the total amount to be fed and divide by number of times you are feeding feed a day, everyday is what will get the horse looking super in a short time.
It costs money to bring back a horse from underweight as yours is...and becomes less expensive to maintain when you feed a steady amount consistently everyday.

First though, you need to make sure the horse has healthy teeth to chew food correctly as digestion starts in the mouth.
A vet visit for a check is needed or get a recommended horse dentist to check those teeth...then go from that point forward getting your boy back to a glistening beauty...
Can't wait to see what he looks like when he sheds out...spectacular think shall be a good descriptive word.
馃惔...
So I started to feed him more and before he would finish everything clean, now I have this mess. Very frustrating I can鈥檛 even tell if he is eating or not at this point, any tips?
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here鈥檚 a better picture of him!
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D53FA09E-3BCD-4D33-80D6-EF5289F09877.jpeg
69263D38-FB1E-4767-AEBE-AD1C8DDE9916.jpeg
1107967
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah he needs more hay he looks a bit underweight. I'd put all hay in slow feed nets otherwise they waste half of the hay put out.

I feed round bales we put out a bale with no net. Horses had hay everywhere,took them almost a month to clean it up.. Not putting out bales anymore fill up hay cart and they get that twice a day. Usually there out of hay by next feeding. But no waste going on. A 1000 lb bale for 2 horses last a month and half hand feeding it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
From just that one photo, he looks a little underweight.

The general rule of thumb is 2% of the horse's body weight. So a 1,000 lb horse needs about 20 lbs of hay daily.

It sounds like you are feeding 16 lbs, so he may lose weight on that. Horses being ridden require more calories, and cold weather can increase needs as well.

It would be helpful to look up body condition scoring on google. There are lots of photo charts to show you how to asses when horses are overweight or underweight.

Hopefully you have the ability to buy and store more hay at a time. My two horses go through a 110 lb bale of hay in 3 days. I don't have a lot of storage but buy about ten to fifteen bales at a time.
 

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He does like making a mess doesn't he. As long as it is clean just put it back. He may also prefer eating it off the ground. Do you have a mat or large tub you could put if in to see what he prefers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He does like making a mess doesn't he. As long as it is clean just put it back. He may also prefer eating it off the ground. Do you have a mat or large tub you could put if in to see what he prefers?
I do not have a mat or something to put it on I just picked it up and put it in the net feeder 馃し馃徎鈥嶁檪锔 Im thinking since he鈥檚 making such a mess, I鈥檓 going to start feeding him 2 flakes of alfalfa which i weighed today and it鈥檚 about 6lbs and about 6lbs per feed of alfalfa/Bermuda pellets feeding him twice a day would equal to about 22lbs of feed 馃憤馃徏 What do you guys think? I鈥檓 also giving him at night (his 2nd feed) a scoop of sho-flex and 1 1/2 of Purina omelene 100 . Too much??? Lol
 

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I'd do 12 pound of hay am in small hole net hay bag. Then 12 lbs at night in hay net. With a small holed net 12lbs should last most of the day. Should have hay most of night also.

With hay pellets it's eaten up in a short time. Long stem forage is really best. With 24 lbs a hay per day he'll probably gain some needed weight. The purina feed is fine I'd see how much your feeding weight wise though. Always feed by weight not volume.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'd do 12 pound of hay am in small hole net hay bag. Then 12 lbs at night in hay net. With a small holed net 12lbs should last most of the day. Should have hay most of night also.

With hay pellets it's eaten up in a short time. Long stem forage is really best. With 24 lbs a hay per day he'll probably gain some needed weight. The purina feed is fine I'd see how much your feeding weight wise though. Always feed by weight not volume.
So what if I do feed this way, and I come home at night or the next morning per say and nets are still half full.. ? Do I still add another 12lbs both morning and night feeed?
 

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There is just so much food a horse will eat, then they will walk away and come back to later...
If the stomach is filled to capacity then there is no more room to cram any in....
Slow feed nets help to keep a messy animal less mess made cause it is contained...
It also slows consumption while if it is offered and not eaten it is not wasted by soiling on the ground.
I found when my horses were eating from hay nets they did eat/consume less quantity although it was offered, they ate less because they ate slower.
Slowing the foods going through the digestive tract also allows more nutrients to be absorbed and utilized.
My horses ate less but did as well on the less amount since it went slower through the digestive tract.
I would also make sure there is plentiful water nearby that hay pile, not next to it but nearby....some horses enjoy dunking their hay while they eat...messy but if that is how they enjoy eating...provide it or they not eat enough.
For me, my vet tells me long stem food and fiber is better than particles and processed pellets...so hay would be fed.
No, don't think cutting back the alfalfa would be my way of doing.
I would leave the flake fed amounts alone and get rid of the alfalfa pellets that expand in the gut when moisture mixes with them = less space for him to eat his hay rations.

Your horse from the rear is nearly at full weight, still needs to fill out a bit of the butt/rump but is not bad.
Flanks look nearly flat and to me that is a indicator that the body fat stores are nearly fully met...
The coat though is very fluffy and this is the deceiving part only hands-on tells the truth of.
Your horse is lacking good muscle-tone as it is winter and he just came into your possession and care.
When he again can have consistent exercise and move about easily he will tone-up and look different again.
I expect his back will fill-in and appear to raise up too...all compliments of muscle building and tone occurring.

I fed Omolene 100,...
30 years ago and it was a sweet feed made from oats and corn slathered in molasses, the real molasses...times change but...
I hated it in cold winter as it froze in clumps and a real pain to feed to my horse...
馃惔 ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Guys! Please help! I鈥檓 so over all this waste! I can鈥檛 even tell if he鈥檚 eating at this point! He completely stopped eating Bermuda flakes. Like completely! And he鈥檚 doing this with the alfalfa, I literally went and bought a new bale, fresher cut to see if that changed, I feed him 3 flakes and 1 of Bermuda this morning at 8 it is 11:00pm (just got home from work) now and this is what I have. That looks to me like all the food I gave him ended on the ground. What do I do! I鈥檓 so frustrated!! Before when I was just feeding him 2 flakes per feed he would eat it all! Now since there鈥檚 more I feel like he鈥檚 just literally wasting all of it! I鈥檓 just not going to feed him until he eats all of this!

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It's hard to tell from the picture what the leftover stuff looks like. He may have sorted through and eaten what he felt was edible. I'm seeing a lot of stems in the photo. If all that is left is coarse stems, he may have eaten the leafy parts. The stems of alfalfa contain lignin which is an undigestible fiber. Horses can eat it, like they can eat straw, but it just passes through the system and does not provide nutritional value. Some horses just won't eat it unless they are very hungry.
Higher quality alfalfa has more leaves.

So if you are feeding coarse, stemmy hay you will have to actually feed more and expect more waste. If you are using a feeder where the horse can pull the hay out, if it gets soiled by manure or urine on the ground the horse will not eat it. I use hay nets but still some ends up on the floor and gets mixed with manure when the horses walk around. That is hay that just has to be thrown out. Today I threw out about a half flake of hay that had some poo in it. My horses also leave behind bits that are clumpy or have weeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's hard to tell from the picture what the leftover stuff looks like. He may have sorted through and eaten what he felt was edible. I'm seeing a lot of stems in the photo. If all that is left is coarse stems, he may have eaten the leafy parts. The stems of alfalfa contain lignin which is an undigestible fiber. Horses can eat it, like they can eat straw, but it just passes through the system and does not provide nutritional value. Some horses just won't eat it unless they are very hungry.
Higher quality alfalfa has more leaves.

So if you are feeding coarse, stemmy hay you will have to actually feed more and expect more waste. If you are using a feeder where the horse can pull the hay out, if it gets soiled by manure or urine on the ground the horse will not eat it. I use hay nets but still some ends up on the floor and gets mixed with manure when the horses walk around. That is hay that just has to be thrown out. Today I threw out about a half flake of hay that had some poo in it. My horses also leave behind bits that are clumpy or have weeds.
i appreciate your feedback soo much, thank you!! I鈥檝e got a confession... I鈥檝e just cleaned up pretty much most of the wasted hay and Bermuda grass off the floor, placed 13lbs of alfalfa in a slow feeder net. I will try and just start feeding alfalfa in the net every day, 13lb at morning and 13lb at night, and at night feed I will also be Feeding him 2lbs of omelene 100 and 2 scoops of sho flex per day. This 鈥渁slong鈥 as he is eating pretty much all the alfalfa and no longer wasting as much should be good I believe. I鈥檝e came to the conclusion that I was over feeding him after some comments I started feeding 3 flakes of alfalfa , which I was weighing wrong (in kg) Im so embarrassed to say 馃槥 I just realized this a few min ago as I was cleaning and weighing. I was doing about 19lbs per feed! No wonder I was getting all this mess!! With so much food he was just eating what he liked! And discarding the rest since he had more than enough food. Hopefully the Net helps and I get everything under control, I鈥檓 loving this experience, learning and growing thanks to you guys for the help!馃憤馃徏馃憤馃徏
 

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Yeah to me this is normal. At least 1/6th of a bale is wasted by my mare. She lives in luxury and picks out the yummiest bits. I recycle hay twice - the stuff they leave I mean. As long as it's dry I mix it in my next hay batch and after two hay feedings throw away what is left over. That way she got a really good chance at it and I regularly eliminate "yucky" bits. And glad you figured out how much you were throwing at him so ofc he'll have his buffet :p
 
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