Need Information on feed/shelter mini horse through winter

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by bossynbella, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. bossynbella

    bossynbella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2007
    Hi, I posted on here when we made the impulse buy of Mr. Eddie a miniature stallion. We had thought to find him a new home before winter. But we have fallen in love with him and due to some unfortunate circumstances, we are only going to be having Eddie, our rabbits and a few ducks through the winter, we hope to keep him. We are on a budget however, he has done great on just pasture over the summer, has not gotten too fat, but looks healthy, he has had his hooves trimmed once by a farrier and where told he would be fine going 6 months between trims, since we do not work him. He is the friendliest little guy, If we are out feeding the ducks, rabbits, and call for him "Hey Ed, Hey Eddie!" He will lift up his head and whinny then comes running over to the fence to be petted and loved on.
    My questions are thus, Will he need to be inside for the winter? We are considering puttting him into the garage (use to be the chicken coop) along with the rabbit cages. If we did this we would use pine bedding for the floor. (this is a large area a one stall Very deep garage) Would this be the best option or would he be happier outside with a 3 sided lean too for shelter? Also how much feed and of what kind would we need? I noticed that our local thiesens has horse feed 50lbs for $7. That is cheaper then layer feed! How much would I need to feed him a day? Also the small square bails of hay are around $3.50 here. How many of those would I need per week? or Month?
    If someone could help me to find out the monthly or weekley cost of keeping ed through the winter that would be wonderful.
    Thanks in advance
  2. shadowpaints

    shadowpaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2009
    Rigby, Idaho
    where told he would be fine going 6 months between trims , ummm NO he need trimmed AT LEAST every 12 weeks. (preferably every 8) going 6 months can do some serious damage to his hooves AND his legs!! please get him trimmed every 12 at least!!! it doesnt matter wether you are working him or not, his hooves will still grow!! i dont know who your farrier is, but that info is WRONG!! a great group for minis is Lil beginnings. the link is that will take you directly to the forum!

    as far as shelter goes, a 3 sided shed should be ok. bed it with straw if you can. but basicly you want him out of the wind and snow.

    not sure what size of mini he is, but basicly i feed 10% of their weight in hay a feeding (300 lb horse, get 3lbs 2x a day) monitor their weight. if they need more feed more

    we have 20 minis and we love them. we also trim our own feet too :p
  3. featherfooted

    featherfooted Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    I have 3 minis and they would rather be outside than in. If you could put up a 3 sided shed facing south then he would be fine. They get very thick winter coats. I use about 1 to 1 1/2 bales of grass hay a month in the winter, but I live in Georgia. If you live where it gets really cold you might use more. I feed my minis Purina Omolene 100. It's a good sweet feed. My 4 year old mini gets about 1/2 quart twice a day and 1 bag will last him about a month. Your mini may not need feed at all if he is maintaining his weight on grass and hay. If you live where its very cold I would feed him some feed if he starts to drop weight. As to how much go by his body weight, start with 1/2 quart and if he starts getting fat give him less and if he gets thin up the amount. I worry more about them getting overweight than getting skinny. Most minis are easy keepers.
  4. Jetiki

    Jetiki Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2009
    Gaffney, SC
    I breed and train Miniature horses and have been with the breed since 1994.

    He definitely needs his feet trimmed more than every 6 months, usually every 2 months. To save costs you can have the farrier show you how to rasp his feet to maybe go a bit longer like 3-4 months between his visits.

    Most Minis don't need grain they can do very well on a hay and grass diet. I noticed that you are in Iowa and it gets pretty cold there. When its super cold I would say probably 2 bales a week of hay otherwise 1 bale of hay should last about a week. Warmth comes from the inside from digestion. If you notice he's not maintaining weight then you can add the grain but most minis don't need it unless they are working hard pulling a cart or prepping for competitions or pregnant mares or mares with foals.

    He can be outside with a shelter in the winter or inside if the weather is really really bad, he will need to exercise his muscles and move around some.

  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I would suggest finding some other farrier, if this one genuinely advised you to go 6 months between trims. It has nothing to do with whether the horse is in work... the reason the hooves need trimming is that they GROW, even when the horse is doing nothing but standing around, and cannot be left to get overlong or unbalanced. Seriously.

    Feeding sweet feed (or anything else that comes in a bag) to minis is just a big Kick Me sign for laminitis (if you do not know what that is or why it is so serious, google it NOW) and for an overweight hard-to-handle animal. All they normally need is hay. Really really. SKIP the bagged feed altogether.

    Your plan of a 3-sided shed with a small paddock to wander round in is a good one. He will be MUCH healthier and happier that way as compared to stuck indoors. HOrses are basically outdoor creatures, and minis are generally very winter-hardy and furry [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. stallionhawk

    stallionhawk Out Of The Brooder

    I have two mini donkeys, and I feed them half a bale a day in winter. I don't have to grain them. I genually feed half a bale per horse, but we count the two donkeys togeather as one horse. Ours stay really fat on just hay all winter. The horses do get grain so they winter good too. Our horses get blaketed but the minis do not, ours hate blankets and wont leave them on. Summer they are in a giant pasture with the horses and do good. You could always buy him a blanket for winter to keep him warmer, just make sure it is a turnout blaket, not a stable blanket. All your equines get there feet trimmed every two months.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  7. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    I have some horses who do not even need trimmed. I've used various farriers over the past several years and when I get those 3 horses out the farriers usually says they can't really do anything and don't charge me much. They just file them a little more even and round the edges to help prevent cracks. I have a 5year old who's only had a complete trim once in her life. Then I have 1 mare that needs trimmed constantly. I file her hooves every few days between actual trimming because she gets horribly splayed and cracked hooves very easily. It really does depend on the horse and how much pasture they have to wear them down.

    Horses prefer outside most of the winter but you do need to put in some kind of shelter. The heavy snows and occasional hail we get in winter are not comfortable to stand in even with a very fuzzy coat. We generally only stalls ours when a bad storm, particularly hail and ice, is coming so if you watch the weather you can put him in the garage over night when things don't look so good and leave him out the rest of the time.

    I'm not sure exactly how much a mini would eat in hay. I would suggest trying to track down a good grass hay. Sheep farmers seem to be the best source here in Iowa. All the other livestock owners want alfalfa. I was just talking to a guy in homestead, IA who has some alfalfa/clover/grass mix hay that I want to feed to my bunnies. He's working on being an organic farm but I don't know what his bales cost. I'm only getting them for rabbits so I wasn't too concerned. There's also a guy a bit north of my mom's property in West Liberty, IA who has sheep and we've gotten some good hay from him when our field is not producing well. PM me if you are in this half of the state and want their contact info.

    With the hay I would feed some BOSS-black oil sunflower seeds. They are the kind sold for bird feed. Much, much healthier than grains and less likely to cause founder or colic. They contain lots of good vitamins and minerals that the hay may be lacking and will make a nice sleek, shiny coat. They also provide more kcals than even corn so plenty of energy to produce heat in the winter. I feed up to half a scoop for my full size quarter horses so all you need are a couple cupfuls to supplement a mini. Cut back if he starts to gain weight.

    Beet pulp is also a good supplement for maintaining weight in the winter without adding as much weight as boss would. It can also replace some of the hay you feed (up to 50% of the diet) and can be cheaper. If you can find the shredded version it is usually cheaper. The pellets come out a bit closer to what hay would cost but are easier to find than shredded. Farm and Fleet or Theisens are the best chain stores to check in Iowa.
  8. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    I have a mini, and I can't remember the last time he was trimmed....maybe last fall? Horses that live out in the wild don't get their feet trimmed, and wear them off just fine. Its an individual situation. I can't do that with my thoroughbreds, but my mini is just fine. You couldnt look at his feet and tell they havent been trimmed by a farrier. They are short, round, with no chips or cracks.

    I purchased 2 minis last year, yearling colts, and got them out of a field of about 60 mares and foals. The mares were trimmed once a year, and they looked just fine.

    My mini also gets no grain; only what he vaccuums up after the others have eaten. I dont know where you are, but obviously my winters are mild, and he only gets hay. If you can get a really good quality hay, he'll do fine on just that.

    The most dangerous situation for a mini is TOO MUCH GRAIN. And it doesnt take much to be too much. Sometimes I do take pity on him and give him a handful of senior feed, makes him feel special, but I have to be careful what he gets. Right now he's out on grass, and has gotten no feed or hay since spring. The grass is really good, so he's really porky.
  9. shadowpaints

    shadowpaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2009
    Rigby, Idaho
    i have had several rescue cases of minis where their feet werent trimmed for 5-6 months and this was the out come:

    a healthy foot should not chip on a mini and none of my minis chip. from MY experiance, minis cant go without a regular trim. if they dont get trimmed on a regular basis, the angles can go off, and cause more issues than good.

    PLEASE talk to a vet that is knowlegable about minis before you start not trimming your mini for six months!
  10. Jetiki

    Jetiki Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2009
    Gaffney, SC
    Remember though a field big enough for 60+ the horses will move enough to wear down their feet but a horse in a small paddock of 2 acres or less will not move enough to wear down their feet.


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