Almost out of grass horse hay-need knowledge on PROPER substitutes?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by chooniecat, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. chooniecat

    chooniecat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    central ohio
    I am technically poor(not saying this for sympathy-I don't feel poor BUT can't spend $4 a day for horse feed!) and neighbor has generously given permisson to use his fenced in 2 acres and my ground is pretty much chewed up SO(have 6 bale hay left) need thoughts on suppliments*(food) for 11 yr. old mare? Pet only. I know there are supposedly complete feeds(grass hay based) available and beet pulp cqan fill her tummy but have never had to do this so any experience with this is appreciated????????? THANKS(have calls in for hay ads but no returns or no hay)
     
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    chooniecat-

    I so feel for you. We just got the first ever delivery of hay since my dh has been ranching nearly 40-years. This is for cattle not horses...but we were at the end of our rope.

    hopefully you will get a good answer from BYC, maybe even someone who has hay but no horse at present that will donate to your cause.
    good luck with it....
     
  3. chooniecat

    chooniecat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    central ohio
    And I was asked last spring(when neighbors were having their hay mowed/baled) if I had enuf for winter and I was a stupid head and thought I was OK and didn't have them put more up. I have read where people have ground up straw(which farmer on corner has lots of, still)and added suppliments and tasty stuff to and used that. Just never thought I would be out of hay. SMRT.
     
  4. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    There are complete feeds out there, many manufacturers make them. They are balanced to meet all the nutritional needs of a horse. BUT! Horses hindgut functions best when it has at least *some* long stem roughage - stems being 1-2" long. So some horses do better when you use soaked hay cubes in addition to a complete feed.

    There are LOTS of hay cubes out there, and they can be pretty inexpensive. Alfalfa tends to be the most expensive cube, so look for another variety with timothy or other grass hay in it to be cheaper. Some people feed the cubes dry with good results, but I have seen too many horses choke on dry cubes.... So all of mine are soaked now. Hot water soaks them faster, and makes it yummy in winter. Slowly introduce the soaked cubes though, some horses have to aquire a taste for them. Locally (southern MD) I pay from $13-21 for a bag of hay cubes, depending on variety and manufacturer.

    There is also "chopped forage" which is a mix of chopped hay and usually molasses. It is a good option also. Cost locally is usually under $15 for a 40lb compressed bag.

    Some manufacturers make a "hay stretcher" feed - you can look into using that...I've never used it, so I don't know what it costs of how it works best. But I know a lot of people in OK were using it during the summer drought 2011.

    Also, call EVERY manufacturer that supplies your area. Talk to a rep, explain your situation, and you might just get several couponms for free bags. You won't want to switch cold turkey from one manufacturer to another, but if you ease into any change, then you will be fine using free bags of different manufacturers.

    Another cheap option (if round or mid-square bales are cheap in your area) If you can get someone to deliver a single round bale to you, you can actually make that ONE bale last 2 months or so, depending on how big it is. DON'T put it in the pen with your horse - set it somewhere outside the fence and PEEL off what you want to feed her each day. If you only feed the amount she needs to eat, she will clean up every bit and not waste any. Cover it with a tarp if it rains, but keep it uncovered as long as it isn't raining. It won't mold. If you do find any mold spots in it (usually you'll find some on the outer layers) just set them aside and don't feed them. But most horses won't eat any moldy parts if they do encounter them, as long as they have something else to eat.
     
  5. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    Forgot to add - on the complete feeds, in order to meet the daily nutritional requirements, a 1000lb horse has to eat a LOT of the feed. So that $20 50-lb bag of feed won't last very long at all, and may end up costing you a lot more than buying hay.
     
  6. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    Check out the feeding directions on this page for Purina Equine Adult complete feed... and all other manufacturers will be a similar amount. So you can see that feeding ONLY a complete feed can get really expensive, really fast.... But no matter what feed, cube, chaff you get, be sure to feed it by WEIGHT, not by volume...

    http://horse.purinamills.com/products/equinefamily/ECMD2-0032701.aspx
     
  7. Outrun Acres

    Outrun Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that buying hay is the way to go. Horses need a long stem roughage to maintain hindgut integrity. I agree with the above posts. If you find yourself in a pinch for awhile switch to haycubes until you can get your hands on some hay. It's been such a terrible year and I know the cost of hay is much higher than it used to be, but it is still cheaper than feeding supplements. You have to feed a ridiculous amount of hay cubes to meet a horses daily nutritional requirements. I also know that because of the drought hay is hard to find :(. If you get really desperate for hay I would drive around to some of the local ranches or a boarding stable and ask them where they buy their hay or if you can purchase some from them in the meantime. Good luck!
     
  8. naturalfeddogs

    naturalfeddogs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We get a round bale a week, for $25. If you only have one horse, a round bale would last you longer than a week for sure. If you look at my avatar, you can see I only have two, but at 2000 lbs each they are equal to four. So, it might be an option for you to think about. Actual long stem hay is going to best, to help avoid choke and colic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  9. chooniecat

    chooniecat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    central ohio
    TY!!! This is what I was thinking and wanted confirmation because I have never done this. Round bale MAY be an option and, like said, I had emails in and see the ad has been renewed recently but they still aren't responding to email(they are located less than 10 miles from me so thats good)so I PRAY they'll respond back. Its $5 a bale but if bale is OK sized could feed her 1/2 bale a day. TY TY TY. katy
     
  10. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Where are you at? A round bale (1400-1500 lbs) of grass hay here in South Dakota is $50.00 in a good year and has gone up considerably with demand...One thing we have found is that some bigger operations dont want to mess with broken bales since they dont go through a processor as well and cannot be hauled; this is one way to get decent hay usually for free. Even if it isnt the best quality you can blend it off with quality alfalfa to make a diet. One thing is your horse is a pet/ on a maintanence diet so calorie wise at 11 yo. she doesn't really have high nutritional demands like a horse that is out working for a living or one that is still growing. Ours are eating ditch hay with some alfalfa thrown in, they aren't doing anything except using the roughage to stay warm. As my husband says it'll make a turd lol

    ETA: I agree long stem is the way to go to avoid those problems I have heard of a good number of people who have had problems with the beet pulp because it is so dehydrated. Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

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