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Discussion Starter #1
So, to make a long story very short I moved barns and have started stocking up my hay for winter. My 3 haflingers and mini donkey do not get hay in the winter because they are out on grass during the day (with muzzles of course!) and locked Into a smaller pasture at night that is grazed down. (One of the haflingers comes in at night and gets 2 flakes in her stall)

My question is- I know horses are supposed to get 20# of hay a day - or something to that effect. My guys are all a good weight. Probably a bit fat (but what haffie isn't) so I am trying to figure out how much hay to feed them am/pm during the winter. Obviously it's hard to tell but generally I am unsure. I don't think any of my guys will need 20# each.

I'm thinking I might go through atleast 2 bales a day. (50-60# squares) maybe more when it's colder.

Also, what's a good way to slow down their eating so they have the hay longer and less waste? I'm thinking of getting a few slow feed hay nets to put on the fences for them but I'm not sure how well that will go.

Input is appericiated! Thanks.
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This totally depends on them and the conditions around them.
I assume you do not get snow as you said they graze during the day. Does the grass stay relatively green through your winter? If not, they won't get much out of it, but that's okay so long as they don't lose condition (unless you want them to thin out a bit over winter.)
I'd go with about 1.5% of their body weight in hay, split that into the two feedings and see how it goes from there.

For each 10 degrees it drops below 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) you should add 2 pounds of hay, unless you plan to blanket heavily or bring them in, then 1.5 or just 1 pound extra per 10 degrees would work fine, if you'd need it at all.

I like slow feed nets, especially the hay pillows, but they can be expensive.
 

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Your math is off. 2 ss would be 100# a day for all 4. they will all be obese on that. The mini donk should only eat 5-8# a day max. That leaves 30#+ for each haflinger.
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This totally depends on them and the conditions around them.
I assume you do not get snow as you said they graze during the day. Does the grass stay relatively green through your winter? If not, they won't get much out of it, but that's okay so long as they don't lose condition (unless you want them to thin out a bit over winter.)
I'd go with about 1.5% of their body weight in hay, split that into the two feedings and see how it goes from there.

For each 10 degrees it drops below 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) you should add 2 pounds of hay, unless you plan to blanket heavily or bring them in, then 1.5 or just 1 pound extra per 10 degrees would work fine, if you'd need it at all.

I like slow feed nets, especially the hay pillows, but they can be expensive.
Interesting!
Have Always increased feed during the Winter months but where did you get the numbers?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am in NY. We get heavy snowfall in winter but as of now they are out grazing during the day during the summer months. Thanks for the info, interesting!
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Play it by ear. Winter can be miserable in NY and New England. Really dependent on weather.
I plunk down 2 round bales and let mine eat. The first 2 bales are wolfed down but they slow down once they realize the food is there and isn't going away. You could put slow feeder nets all around so they graze here and there.

If the temps drop and go subzero my hay consumption can double and when it's cold I keep hay out there for them around the clock. In the dead of winter figure 2 bales of hay a day. My 16 hand walker will eat a whole bale herself. The small pony and large pony will eat the other. That's with feeding a lot of haystretcher, hay pellets and beet pulp in their meals. That's why I gave up feeding the small square bales. Just too much cost and too much lugging for this old body when it's -20F with the wind howling.
 

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Hmm, easy keepers are actually a quandary in and of themselves. They gain weight in the winter and can be rather hard to figure out their needs without giving too much.

My horse is an air fern and I have two small donkey, both very easy keepers as well.
When I use baled hay (depending on the weight of each flake) I usually put 2 to 3 flakes in a smaller slow feeder hay net, which equals about 11 to 14% of their weight. This is for general winter feeding (15 to 40 degrees outside.)
So, the horse (about 950lbs) gets one bag of 2 or 3 flakes and the donkeys (350 lbs and 450lbs to = about 800 lbs total) get the other bag to share. I tend to adjust the amounts up or down as needed, like if the day is unusually warm, or if we have a blast of frigid arctic air, like this past winter when it got -30. :shock:
It's helpful if you already have one of the bales you are looking to stock up on and weight some of the flakes to get a general idea, because the percentages really change for easy keepers.

However, like Sue, I found round bales soooo much easier to deal with and used a slow feeder net for the round bale. This allowed everyone to nibble as they wanted and despite the extraordinary and unusual cold this past winter, all did very well.
I know round bales are intimidating to most people, however I'm only 5'1" and I can push and roll one all by myself into the pasture or paddock as long as the ground is not too steep.
(I do have a tractor, but sometimes I just push them if it's a short distance and save the diesel.)
 

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Mine are over 800 lbs. Where they land when I pull them off the truck they land. Sometimes if I'm lucky I can move them a bit but I don't count on it. If the snow is deep I have to dump them in the front yard. Peel of what I need and move by sled like I did last winter. Gets interesting. But those bales are costing me under $40 so it's worth it. No tractor here. I often have to tie a rope to a bale and a tree and pull them off the truck that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
At my old barn they had round bales but since I've moved my horses and are taking care of them myself I have no place to store round bales out of the weather and no tractor either. Squares are definitely more expensive but I figured my fatties won't eat too much so it works.
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My 2 easy keepers will actually gain weight if they don't have an option to eat on/off throughout the day/night. They maintain a better weight with slow hay feeders (I use Portagrazers) than any other method I have tried. They get 15# of hay each (weighed), split between two feedings. If it's really cold, they might get up to 25# each.

If you go through 2 square bales a day (50-60#) for three horses and a mini donkey, they are getting more than 20# a day... 2 squares is a minimum of 100#... even split 4 ways, that's 25# each.
 

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Mine are over 800 lbs. Where they land when I pull them off the truck they land. Sometimes if I'm lucky I can move them a bit but I don't count on it. If the snow is deep I have to dump them in the front yard. Peel of what I need and move by sled like I did last winter. Gets interesting. But those bales are costing me under $40 so it's worth it. No tractor here. I often have to tie a rope to a bale and a tree and pull them off the truck that way.
Yeah, I guess I should have qualified that.
Mine are 800-900lbs, but all the top layer ones (like this time of year) are still really round and roll well.
If there is snow on the ground.....not so much. :lol:
Towards March of next year when my hay guy starts pulling the rounds that were on the bottom (and squished flat by the top ones) I have to use the tractor no matter what, or roll them down hill only.

And I agree, it's a real pain when you have to cut the strings and fork it off, but the money savings make up for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So between 2-3 flakes depending how cold it is.... The bales I buy have huge flakes I've been only giving my haffie that's stalled at night 1 flake for the night.
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Interesting!
Have Always increased feed during the Winter months but where did you get the numbers?

It's what I've seen from research done on how long it takes a horse to digest the fiber in the hay, it helps keep them warmer that way.
I forget where I first heard it but you can typically find the same or very similar research on any university website that has an AG department.
Some will say for every 10 degrees it drops below 40, but I've always heard the 10 below 30 rule and to add 2 pounds for each of those 10 degrees. But with easy keepers you could/ should likely drop that amount by 1/2 to 1 pound to make it 1.5 or even just 1 pound to avoid giving them too much. Unless you blanket, then you'd not have much of a need to add the extra hay as the blanket would do the job of the extra hay itself.
 
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