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Old 10-13-2007, 07:34 AM  
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How much hay per horse on average?

Before we had such a hay shortage around here, we were used to feeding free choice hay. We didn't feed much grain at all, just a good quality grass hay (11-12% protein, tested).

This year for the first time we are trying to limit hay and are feeding cracked corn, crimped oats and all-grain sweet feed (low molasses content).

What I need to know is (on average) how much hay to feed each horse every day. I know it needs to be adjusted to the individual, just trying to get a rough idea.

I was hopeful I had enough hay to get by, but my sister is probably going to send me at least 2 and maybe more of her horses for the winter as she is having a really rough time. So I'm trying to figure out how much more hay I will need and where to get it.

Currently we have about 260 square bales of good grass hay (40-45 pounds average, I'd guess). We may still be feeding too much hay each day, but the horses aren't really wasting any.

Any advice appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:14 AM  
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I do not have much pasture and I feed a 14% protein/6% fat pelletized feed. I board a few horses and have my own, they range from 2- 22 yrs old and from 12.1h- 15.3h, there are 10 horses total.
I put out 2 round bales per week and feed appx 10 square bales per horse per month on average. If the bales are small, it rains alot, and its cold and they are stalled more, or they are quickly cleaning it up and asking for more I may feed more. Obviously I would feed less than that if the weather is good and they still have some decent grass to pick on.
I have found averaging @ 10 squares per horse per month for a year to give me enough, but I always tack on a few extra when I can get it!

Not the way for everyone but it works for me, my horses stay good and fat all winter.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:17 AM  
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I feed somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds of hay a day per horse depending on their size and with no supplements. Then I adjust it to how much is left over, if alot left then they get less, no stems at all they get more. I feed daily with 70 pound bales.
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:36 AM  
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At least 1% of the horse's body weight needs to be in forage. If you are desperate, you can get pelleted or cubed hay, though, that counts as forage.
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:40 AM  
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Ambrey,

How do you feed the pelleted or cubed hay? Is there a danger of the horse choking?

Anyone know about beet pulp? Someone said that is an alternative as well. How do you feed that? Will horses readily eat it?
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:59 AM  
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Ambrey,

How do you feed the pelleted or cubed hay? Is there a danger of the horse choking?

Anyone know about beet pulp? Someone said that is an alternative as well. How do you feed that? Will horses readily eat it?
You can soak the pellets, although I don't. The cubes are fairly soft, I doubt they'd cause choke.
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:00 AM  
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Hello, what are crimped oats. Are you sweet. Someone told me to put my horse on them, thats why I'm wondering what they are?
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:03 AM  
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Crimped oats are oats that have been through some kind of crushing process (not sure how).

I think those are supposed to be better for horses because they don't fully digest whole oats. Same with cracked corn as opposed to whole corn.

At least that's what I've been told by others.
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:18 AM  
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We went thru this last summer with our drought...I would use shredded beet pulp,a pelleted alfalfa or soaked cubed alfalfa mixed to stretch you hay. I fed a large can (industrial size veggie can) of 1/2 beet pulp and 1/2 alfalfa plus a small flake of hay per horse with your origional amount of grain.I fed this twice a day if you feel your horse needs more give them a can of the bp/alfalfa in the middle of the day too. Their poo stays in better shape with more roughage than more grain.keep an eye on their bowel movements there should be biscuits not blobs.I had no problem feeding the beet pulp dry but if your horse gulps its food you may want to dampen it but soaking is not necessary.I still feed this way now even though I have plenty of hay my horses keep better than they did non the grain I had been giving them.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:28 AM  
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Here's a basic formula for feeding horses:

For every 100 lbs of horse, feed 1 1/2 lbs of hay or forage, and no more than 1/2 lb of concentrate or grain (meaning that if your horse is getting that much grain and still not keeping weight, you need to feed a higher callory concentrate)

As an example, a 1000 lb horse would need about 15 lbs of grass hay and 5lbs or less of cracked oats.

Feed responsively - if your horse gains weight, feed less concentates, if your horse is losing weight, feed more, but like I said above, if you find yourself feeding more than 1/4 of the ration by weight as grain, you need to feed a richer concetrate. (there are exceptions, most notably horses in very heavy training or hard work - but the lower fiber diet will have consequences even then)

Since you're talking about a hay shortage, here are some substitute guidelines:

Forage in the above formula means long fiber. Hay or grass is best, of course, but you can substitute.

Hay cubes or pellets count mostly as forage. Alfalfa pelets (or even hay) will count some as concetrate because it has alot of sugar and protien.

Bran mash (weighed dry) counts as forage - its almost all fiber.

Beet pulp is mostly fiber, but does count partly as a concentrate because of the sugar and starch in it.

Hay replacer pellets are mostly fiber - most of them recomend replacing no more than half the hay with thier product, but read the labels.

Alot of complete feeds will have as much as half (and sometimes more) of a horse's fiber needs included in the mix, as well as all the concentrate needs. Read the labes very carefully on these.

Even regular sweet feeds or pellets will contain fiber, but it varies alot from type and brand.

The most important thing is, of course, to read the labels, and maintain the ratio of at least three parts fiber to one part concentrates by weight.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:29 AM  
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Beet pulp is an excellent alternative, as well as alfalfa pellets/cubes. I feed beet pulp all the time, drought or not.

Dimpleflirts plan was similar to mine, as we were in drought last year too.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:35 AM  
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Thumbs up Great info:

An another HTer posted this link in another thread. There is some great nutrition info here...they talk about beet pulp!

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/hrs3243
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Old 10-13-2007, 05:02 PM  
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If you are facing a major hay shortage you can feed a flake of oat straw to each horse daily, along with your hay and it will stretch your hay and provide the horses with the much needed roughage. They will get little food value from this but in a pinch, they will winter fine. If you want to give them a little extra food value, I'd add maybe a pound of Senior's (good oils in it) to each, daily. You probably aren't really working them so this should maintain in pretty good condition. Horses are designed to tubby up in the Fall and lose weight over the winter, a natural progression, then gain in the Spring before fly season.
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Old 10-13-2007, 05:09 PM  
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Most old-timers will tell you beet pulp has no nutrition, "it's just a filler." Again, science has proved otherwise. Beet pulp is the fibrous material left over after the sugar is extracted from sugar beets. It's an excellent source of digestible fibre for the horse and can be fed in addition to, or instead of, hay. Recent research has shown that the fibre in beet pulp is easier to digest than the fibre in hays. In fact, horses may derive as much energy from beet pulp as they do from oats (Table 4). In other words, a pound of (dry) beet pulp has almost the same amount of calories as a pound of oats. Because beet pulp provides these calories as fibre (as opposed to the starch in grains), it can be safely fed in larger amounts without the risk of colic or laminitis associated with feeding a large amount of grain. Furthermore, the protein content of beet pulp (averaging 8 to 12%) is comparable to most grains and good-quality grass hays (Table 4). And, beet pulp also provides a reasonable source of calcium, intermediate between the high calcium in alfalfa and the lower calcium content of grass hays, but much higher than grains (Table 4).

Whether used as a source of forage or as a replacement for oats, beet pulp is a useful addition to the diet of many types of horses. Beet pulp has been successfully fed at levels up to 50% of the horse's total ration (approximately 10 lbs for a 1000 lb horse). More commonly, owners choose to feed 2 to 5 lbs of beet pulp per day. The high digestibility of beet pulp makes it a good choice for horses that are "hard keepers" (it's very good for encouraging weight gain), as well as horses with dental problems, or older horses who have trouble chewing or digesting other types of forage. Beet pulp is also used as a grain replacement in the diets of horses that suffer from tying up (providing calories as fibre rather than starch). And the low potassium content of beet pulp makes it an ideal forage replacement for horses with HYPP. Finally, endurance riders favour beet pulp because its high water holding capacity provides the horse with a larger reservoir of fluid in the digestive tract that can be used to help prevent dehydration.
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Old 10-13-2007, 05:23 PM  
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O.k, I'm bad I know but I don't wiegh my hay. I feed half a bale per horse per day & believe me..they're doing just fine. I've used beet pulp too with my neglected amre...brought her weight right up!
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Old 10-13-2007, 05:27 PM  
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Do the horses like to eat the beet pulp?
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Old 10-13-2007, 05:31 PM  
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Mine eat it with no problem. I mix it with a little sweet feed pellets to give it a better taste until they get used to it. I always soak mine just cause it mixes in better that way.
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:07 PM  
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****IMO WHEAT BRAN IS NOT a fiber/forage replacement!!! It should really not be fed more than once a week as a meal, or a small cupful every day. Some vets even debate that. DO NOT try to feed bran in place of forage!

Beet pulp is an alternative. Most horses tolerate and even relish it. Depending on your horses, you may want to start with the type with some molasses added and start mixing in the plain to make it more palatable. If your horses are not very starch sensitive you can just feed the molasses. While it's supposedly safe to feed dry, my horse choked terribly on it to the tune of $3000 in vet bills, so I will not feed it dry. I soak it in enough water to cover the shreds, and then feed up to 2 full scoops/feeding.
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Old 10-14-2007, 06:33 AM  
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Do the horses like to eat the beet pulp?
Here at my barn beet pulp is part of the feeding program for my horses and boarders. At first they might not like and refuse to eat it but within a few days they start to enjoy it and then by weeks end they are looking for it. I add sweet feed to it and they just gobble it up. From what I have been told it is the perfect alternative when there is a lack in hay.

Some horses may choke on it but it's usually because they are prone to choking. I feed it dry or soaked (depending on my time limations). I too had a horse choke on it twice AND it had been soaked with extra water. She just ate it too fast so she now has big rocks in the bucket to slow her down and she hasn't choked since. Taking her off beet pulp was not an option.
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Old 10-15-2007, 10:30 AM  
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My picky mare will eat the beet pulp just fine as long as it's mixed well with her other feed. I don't soak it. I'm not giving enough that it's more than the feed. Most of my horses will cough when fed alfalfa cubes though. I guess they're eating them too fast. We only use those for treats but even now I break them up into shreds before I give them. Can't stand to hear a horse cough.
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