Horse people- help please!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by TeamChaos, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    I need to get hay before the snow falls for a horse that's at our farm and I have no idea how much to get! The horse is about 20 years old and is out all the time. She comes down from the woods to be fed in the winter, but even on the coldest nights she has no interest in standing in the barn. Last year we fed her hay and sweet grain, with fresh carrots and apples as snacks, and will do the same this year BUT I have never purchased the hay before (don't look at me, I just load/unload the truck! ha ha ha) How much do I need?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    For the months that I feed hay, I figure about 3/4 of a 60 pound square bale per horse per day. This is more than they actually *need*, but having constant browse means far less chance of colic or boredom induced mischief.

    ETA: Another way to figure it is to figure 2% of the horse's weight in pounds of hay per day. I obviously like to err on the side of more than that, though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  3. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    2% of body weight per day is a minimum guideline. It is always best for the horse to have free-choice forage available, usually 3-4% of body weight will end up being "free choice" even if you are putting it out in those smaller amounts daily rather than feeding a round bale or similar. With her being older, I'd figure on the higher side even if you don't plan to provide free choice forage, as she may be at a point in life where she requires more. Figure out how much she needs, ask your farmer how much your bales weigh and go from there.

    So if she weighs 1000 lbs 20 lbs per day is minimum, I suggest you plan for 30-40 lbs daily, personally. So lets go with 35 lbs. Say you're going to feed hay December - April.

    35 x (31+31+28+31+30) = 5285 lbs total

    Lets say your bales weigh 60 lbs

    5285/60 = 88.08

    I always round up to the nearest 50. So I'd order 100 bales.

    HTH!

    ETA: Be sure to insert your numbers into the above math, mine is just for the sake of an example.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  4. Ashmeade

    Ashmeade Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2009
    As a side note with her age, if you have not already, you might want to have her teeth checked and also monitor her eating the hay to determine if she can. As horses get older they have a harder time with that sometimes...
     
  5. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Where are you? Is there any pasture where you are in the winter? Deep snow? Is it your horse? Is it small, nearly pony height, or very tall? Big draft horse or something lighter?

    To estimate, if an average size horse needs to be maintained without any grass, it can need from 15-25 lbs of hay a day. That is about a third or a half a bale of hay, but horses can need more food in winter just to stay warm.

    Many people buy small rectangular bales of hay. They weigh about 45 or 50 lbs. They're easy for a person to carry by hand and when cut open, they divide into 'flakes' and are easy to portion out.

    Hay also can be bought in huge 'squares', 'rectangles' or very large 'round bales'. The large packages tend to be cheaper. But most people say the small rectangles are better quality hay.

    Horse hay is different from dairy cow or beef cow hay. It's best to ask for horse hay. It's usually mostly grass, with a small percentage of richer items such as alfalfa or clover. More rich items aren't usually better for horses.

    No, most horses have no interest in going into a barn. Any barn. Ever. A human needs to decide when they should be in. They have no sense of that. They will stand out in an electric storm or fall when it gets icy. They don't understand those things. That doesn't mean they should be kept in all the time though. They need to be out as much as possible, just common sense.

    Unless they are trained into a routine where they go in and get something to eat and are shut in, they don't stay in or come in.

    In mild climates, they don't need to be in much, but warmer climates often mean heat and flies, and the barn can be a refuge from those.

    If they are out soaking in the rain and mud constantly during continuous wet weather and mud they get skin infections like rain rot and mud fever and thrush (severe thrush can finish a horse off, it gets into the feet). In conditions like that, confinement in a dry place standing on clean dry bedding, can prevent costly health problems from developing.

    With most old horses, they feel the cold worse, and are less good at warming themselves or growing a warm coat or putting on fat. Sometimes they really suffer in the winter. Especially if their teeth are not maintained by an equine dentist. They may need to be kept in more.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  6. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    I guess I could have broken it down to the math like Olive Hill did. [​IMG] My horses get about 45 pounds of hay each, per day. And the senior horse gets 14 pounds of senior feed besides, but that's a whole 'nuther topic.
     
  7. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:I'm sorry, I don't mean to pick but this is misleading and inaccurate. An "average" horse is 1000 lbs. You've only provided for 1.5 - 2.5% of body weight with your figures. 1.5-2% of body weight is the accepted absolute minimum and those that are well-maintained on it are only the very easy keepers. Harder keepers can easily require 4+% of their body weight in hay daily plus grain. You also can't give a definitive figure as to what portion of a bale any poundage of hay is as every bale of hay will weigh out differently. In the midwest 50-75 lb small squares are common, but on the west coast small squares are much more likely to weigh 100 lbs or more. Even within a region some farmers will pack them tighter than others. Different grasses and legumes are also differing densities so that effects weight as well.

    Quote:As above, this entirely depends on what type of hay you're buying, how tightly it's packed, etc.

    Quote:Depends on the legumes, depends on the horse. Alfalfa very much can have it's place in horse hay. safergrass.org is a great place to read up on the myths and facts surrounding horses and hay, especially fresh grasses and legume hays like alfalfa.

    Quote:Again, depends on the horse. They'll seek shelter when they need or want it, as long as it's available they'll be fine. Shelter doesn't have to be a barn, a wooded area is fine. A wind break is really, in the coldest conditions, all that's necessary. They aren't affected by the elements in the same way we are. When we're chilly, they're in their prime temperature range. Common sense is a good thing, just make sure your common sense is geared for the horse, not the human.

    Quote:Wet, rain and mud in and of themselves aren't really a problem. Hundreds, thousands of horses survive the PNW every year without thrush, marsh ponies lived happily in wet, sloppy marshes again... just fine. Poor hoof form, poor diet, poor environmental management; these things lead to thrush, rain rot, etc.

    Quote:To the contrary old horses often grow very thick coats and shed less readily in the spring putting them at risk of overheating. In the winter the greatest stressors for elderly horses are that they are sometimes unable to consume enough calories to keep warm -- keeping their teeth floated, their parasite management up to date and food available at all times is a good start on this in some cases blanketing may be warranted -- their thick coat, if it gets wet is harder to dry out properly and can lead to chilling, and the cold can complicate other health issues -- such as arthritis -- that are common in the older population.
     
  8. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Isn't that the truth. We have a 30 yo gelding... [​IMG]

    Ours are on free choice hay and average about 30 lbs each, per day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  9. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    Quote:Isn't that the truth. We have a 30 yo gelding... [​IMG]

    Ours are on free choice hay and average about 30 lbs each, per day.

    My gelding is 32, picky as all get out, has heaves and is mostly blind from cataracts...but I adore him and he adores me. Probably because I feed him 14 pounds of senior a day... [​IMG]
     
  10. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Quote:Isn't that the truth. We have a 30 yo gelding... [​IMG]

    Ours are on free choice hay and average about 30 lbs each, per day.

    My gelding is 32, picky as all get out, has heaves and is mostly blind from cataracts...but I adore him and he adores me. Probably because I feed him 14 pounds of senior a day... [​IMG]

    I literally laughed out loud. [​IMG]

    Our guy is picky too. And he's a true "grazer", doesn't like to eat too much in one sitting ... and by too much I mean more than 7 bites. [​IMG]

    Supposedly senior horses don't go deaf very often but we're fairly certain he's headed well on his way towards being deaf. Never realized it until this summer. He's always with another horse so he always acts normal. One day my husband went out and he was on the other side of the paddock alone. My husband called and called for him, no response, kept walking to him and yelling his name, got right to him just thinking he was being stubborn not listening, gave him a firm pat on the rump as he walked up and the poor horse JUMPED. He didn't know the hubby was there, apparently, even though he'd been calling for him. [​IMG]
     

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