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I started my two mares on haylage a week ago because they were having respiratory issues and the vet recommended. Got the botulism vaccines, eased them into it, no big deal. Everything is fed from nets/feeders with 1.25"-1" nets and is on a track system.

One is a Morab mare of average weight and metabolism. The other is a 3 year old draft cross who will eat her body's weight in hay with no qualms. She's overweight (not obese according to vet; no crusty neck or fat deposits, just very thick) but I'm conflicted.

On the one hand, if I ration them they'll eat 12 hours of haylage in 4 hours. On the other hand, if I give them free choice they're eating twice as much as they should be.

The haylage is 11.6% nsc and .98 mcal, which is great! So am I worrying too much? I've been told that when they're on free choice they will eventually self regulate. However, I don't know if the draft cross will.

Does anyone feed haylage free choice? Is this a problem?
 

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I don't have experience feeding haylage, but I can tell you that my horses never self-regulated after years of free choice hay. I had to switch to rationing it.
 

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^Yeah, I don't know where the idea that ALL horses WILL self regulate came from, but wishful thinking is my bet! Double netting? Or can you put their ration out in 2-3 'feeds' per day, so they will only go hungry for short periods at a time?
 
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