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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I have a little problem. Right now my horse is getting hay 1 time a day. I know he should eat all day, but I don't want to get a round bale because he has weight gaining problems. Is there any way I can feed him and make sure he keeps a good weight?


I guess just say how you feed your horses.
It isn't really a possibility for me to feed in the morning (I got to school in the morning) and the BO doesn't normally feed the horses.
 

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I have my horses at my place, so luckily I can feed whenever I need to, but on the average day, I feed 2 flakes of timothy to each horse at 7:30am and another two at 4:00pm, hay pellets and beet pulp in the evening. This usually averages out to about 30lbs of hay per horse per day and it keeps them busy for a while. But obviously if you can't feed in the morning, you can't really do this, unless there's one of your stable buddies that wouldn't mind throwing your horse a few flakes in the morning. Barring that option, your best bet is to start getting a lower quality "filler" hay like a local grass hay and start feeding massive quantities of that along with your regular more nutrient dense hay.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sadly I am the only person at the barn. (Right now Romeo is the only horse in the pasture) I am probably going to have my mom feed him "Lunch" until she starts working again, and then maybe talk to my bo and see if she will...
 

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I personally have a round bale with 24 hr access to it. But I've heard a couple of people say that they get 2 hanging hay nets and double bag the hay, so its harder for the horse to get to and makes it last longer. A horse need to have something to nibble on pretty much all the time to help with the acid, their stomach creates acid all the time not just when eating like ours does.
 

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I think in this case, I'd rather see you put out too much hay than too little. They should get at least 1.5% of their body weight in forage, but in winter they may need more to keep warm. In general, I don't recommend just dumping out a round bale-they stand around and eat and poop in one place, but I'd rather that than the feast/famine of only feeding once a day and possibly wasting what you do give at that time by pooping in it.

I would possibly even see about getting a round bale of straw (no grain heads, just the stems) for a filler he can munch on during the day, then give him his nurtirious hay at night, and I don't know a horse that would be too full of straw to turn his nose up at the good stuff. Even stemmy grass hay (but don't get fescue, orchard or brome-they are high in sugar and will fatten him up) if you can find bermuda or just a mixed grass and sample it to test for NSC (sugars and starches that make it fattening).

Otherwise, having your mom dole out half the ration at another time of day is still preferable to only being fed in the eveing.

Personally, I feed my 4 several times a day. Any supplements (grain or senior feed, etc) first thing in the am, and a couple of flakes of hay each. Then by noon, I put out more hay. Late afternoon, hay again, the second supplement feeding (I do have an old horse that needs his extra calories). At night, right before my bedtime, I put out the rest of their hay (most of it goes out at this time for a reason- longest stretch before I come to feed again, it's the coldest part so they need more fiber to keep warm, and entertained- then during the day, if I have a chance to ride between appts, they aren't missing an important meal or their schedule). I know it's hard to duplicate that when they aren't at your own place, though, or you work/school for long stretches during the day. I also spread it out in many piles to eliminate fighting over the hay, and to get them some exercise. It's more work for me, but I need the exercise, too! For my mini in the dry-lot- I put it in racks around the fence line and he and the goats still have to move around to eat, without wasting it (he's bad to pee on it if it's on the ground). The racks are ground feeders, but he can't get into them, and it slows him down, so he eats less in a given time period.

So back to the round bale dilemma-I'd do it. Just don't buy rich hay like alflalfa or clover or sugary grasses and cut out any grain.
 

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Is he the only horse out there? Does the BO not have her own horses that need feeding?

Horses should be fed hay at least twice a day. If you cannot do this, then a round bale is your best option. You can always get a grazing muzzle to limit his intake.

Or, if the pasture is large enough, put hay out in 6-8 different places spread all over, at least 30 ft apart, so he has to walk between piles when eating. This will slow him down and keep him "grazing" longer.

If your barn isn't too far away, get up extra early and feed your horse before school.

If none of this works, then you need to find your horse new living arrangements.
 

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Is there a way he can be feed more often? Wake up early or run out in the dark before bed?

I generally offer a round bale so there is 24hr access OR for some of the horses here who would waste to much its three feedings of hay a day. I'm out at the barn from 8 - 11 AM, Out in the afternoon to ride and throw a few flakes to those who need them, out at dark from 9-10 to feed again.
 

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The only problem with a large round bale and a single horse is, the hay is going to go bad before the horse can eat it. If you do decide to go this route, see if you can find smaller bales. I have my hay guy bale ours in 900# or less bales so I can pick them up easier with my little tractor. Check around, I'm betting you can find some smallish round bales.
Have you seen the hay auto feeders? Not sure what your budget is, but if you have the money you could get one of those.
Automatic Horse Feeder: Automatic Time Released Hay, Feed, Grain Or Pellets.
Stable Grazer Automatic Horse Feeder
 

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I feed my horses once a day with out a problem. They get fed around 5-7pm. I spread their flakes around the pasture and stalls. It takes them more time to find it all this way. (They live outside.) Sometimes when I come back the next night I see some hay still left (a flake sometimes.) They dont get alot of grain to begin with so I am not over loading them with it at once. If you give your horse alot of grain, more than a scoop or so you should spread it ou over two feeding. Between three horses I give them a square bale a day of timothy. But there is only one full sized horse there, I have a large pony and a weanling and there is a retired broodmare living with them. Round bales around here arent very good quality and we dont have a back hoe to put it in the pasture once we pick it up. Round bales need to be on a palate so they dont get moldy from damp ground, and I prefer to have them under an overhang so they dont get rained on. They are a good alternative for my friend with four very hungry horses. It saves her alot of $$ on hay, but thats the only reason she uses them. Its also hard to find round bales around here at all.
 

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Take the amount you would give him for the day and break it into a few different piles spread about the area he is in. He can "graze" them, moving from spot to spot. I have used this method as long as I can remember and it has always worked for me/my horses.
 

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If your worried about the hay going bad on a round roll, buy square bale and just put the whole bale out for him. build a box or get a plastice tote that will hold a square bale without alot of room and fasten a hay net over the top of it so that he has to work at it to get the hay out, it will last longer that way.
 

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My guys are fed first thing in the morning. They are again fed at 5 and at this feeding they get their grain.. They are once again fed at 10pm.
2 flakes in the morning, 2 at 5 and 1 at 10.
They are out from 8 till 4:30 in this weather and all through the winter. They are out 24-7 in June through September.

I am extremelly annal bout their care and stabling.
 

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You are in Minnesota. It's getting darn cold out there right now! They NEED the hay to keep warm.

We have two groups that are not on round bales - we throw those groups hay 3x per day. 6 a.m. , 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Several boarders have expressed concern over the potential weight gain on round bales. Most horses learn the food will always be there and eat responsibily.
 

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Mine are fed 2 times a day at minimum; often times I will give a smaller feeding in the mid afternoon.

My mare gets alfalfa pellets with vit\min supplement in the AM, and sometimes more pellets in the afternoon when I work with her.
 

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Lilly gets 2 flakes in the morning, more during the afternoon if she has finished them, and then her evening cubes. If ever I'm out there later in the day and I find our BO has not given her anything, I throw a flake of low-nutrient grass hay. So yeah, I'd say two times a day minimum for her as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Romeo is the only one there right now. The BO doesn't own horses. I am going to look for more options. I guess worse things worse going to feed way early in the morning.
My mom has been feeding in the morning and I am going to talk to my BO an see if she could go out and feed.
I am just so worried about a round bale because I don't want him to gain 300 pounds like he did last winter....

Wouldn't the grazing muzzle bother him in the cold? And would that make it super hard for him to eat??
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It would be very hard to eat hay with a muzzle. Its ment for grass were the grass stands up and the horse just bites of the ends.
^That is what I thought, but I really wasn't sure.

I am actually getting ready to go up to the barn right now, so I am going to tell her I will set everything out and have her feed him that in the morning.
 
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