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Old 11-25-2012, 03:07 PM   #1
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help with feeding?

I have 2 horses and i've been feeding them at 8am and 4pm everyday. they get one BIG flake and one scoop of grain at each feeding. One is a pony about 900 pounds, and the other is a horse about 1100 pounds. They're both a good weight and winter is starting up; where i live it gets pretty cold. Am i doing anything wrong? Any compliments or critisism are accepted with open arms
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:31 PM   #2
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In the winter, hay is warmth to a horse as it ferments in the hind gut. I like free choice hay for horses in the winter.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:44 PM   #3
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I agree horses need to digest forage to help stay warm in the winter. You also want to make sure they don't go more than 7 hours between eating, as longer than that greatly increases the risk of ulcers.

Your horses currently go 16 hours between the two feedings, so unless that flake lasts 9 hours, or your horses have some grazing, you are putting them at risk of ulcers.

Although free choice would resolve both the above issues, for many horses or horsekeeping styles, it may not be practical or even healthy. A small mesh feedbag can help slow feeding, but I would still recommend adding a third feeding of hay at night, or spacing the two feedings out more equally.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:50 PM   #4
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i was trying to avoid free choice, but i'm at school so there is no other way to balance out the feedings unless i go out at night which will become unpractical when there's 3 ft of snow on the ground.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:17 PM   #5
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If it's cold - they need more hay than one flake. I live in Florida and have one 1200 lb horse and 1 mimi and they get 8 flakes a day - but then again - they are on my property. Maybe someone you know can feed them a couple flakes again at night? I also have some pasture - do you?
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:33 PM   #6
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If it's cold - they need more hay than one flake. I live in Florida and have one 1200 lb horse and 1 mimi and they get 8 flakes a day - but then again - they are on my property. Maybe someone you know can feed them a couple flakes again at night? I also have some pasture - do you?
i had some pasture, but it's been eaten down to almost nothing and i'm saving the other field for the summertime. My dad could feed them because he feeds his chickens around that time, but there is no way he'd do it for me i REALLY don't want to free choice.. i guess i'll just have to bundle up and go at night
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:06 PM   #7
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Perhaps if you could leave the feed all ready to just throw in for the horses, your Dad might be willing, if not for you, for the horses sake, maybe if he understood that it's not good for horses to go too long without something to eat??
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:02 PM   #8
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i agree on allowing them to have more forage. my horses currently get about 3 flakes in the morning and at night, and then they have free choice hay in their pasture during the afternoon. obviously the hay feedings would change if they have to be inside all day for weather-related or other reasons. they also get grain in the morning and at night.

i always up my horses' feed in the winter. my pony has a tendency to lose weight in the winter, so he gets more food during the cold months than he does during the summer when he starts to chub out a bit. horses need more forage in the winter anyway because it is colder and they will use more of their body weight/energy staying warm.

i don't know if you keep your horse inside or outside, but my younger horse gets extremely bored both inside and outside if he does not have enough forage. at my old barn, they were in a dirt paddock where they would get a full bale of hay for the entire day (clearly not good for them, i know.. i have since moved them). my 3 year old would go insane without any grass to eat and not enough hay. he developed a wood chewing problem to deal with the boredom and lack of forage, which i'm sure you don't want to have to deal with.

it's not guaranteed your horse will develop that problem obviously, but just some things to consider..
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:18 PM   #9
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Nobody has mentioned the weight of the hay.
How much does one flake weigh?
My neighbor has huge square bales, one of her flakes is 20#
I have small squares, one of mine weighs 5#

Are they getting atleast 1.5 -2% of their body weight in hay each day? Based on their weights, that would be 30-40lbs of hay per day.

If you can't get out twice, I would get hay bags, fill them up, then put some hay loose like normal. The hay in the bags will last longer and shorten the duration of time where they are without hay.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:21 AM   #10
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Nobody has mentioned the weight of the hay.
How much does one flake weigh?
My neighbor has huge square bales, one of her flakes is 20#
I have small squares, one of mine weighs 5#

Are they getting atleast 1.5 -2% of their body weight in hay each day? Based on their weights, that would be 30-40lbs of hay per day.

If you can't get out twice, I would get hay bags, fill them up, then put some hay loose like normal. The hay in the bags will last longer and shorten the duration of time where they are without hay.
Each flake weighs around 15-20 pounds, and yes they do get 30-40 pounds of hay each day. I might get out twice or do what somebody else had said and go with preparing the food for my dad to just throw out there.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:13 AM   #11
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If they are thriving now with no issues would changing their feeding times really help any? Just wondered.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:12 PM   #12
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It is best to spread out the hay feedings to decrease the chance of developing ulcers, so what I would do since your horses are getting enough weight in hay and you can't split your feedings, is to get slow feeder nets to make the hay last longer.

Also, if you need to increase their hay intake for winter, you can put out more flakes per feeding in the slow feeder nets (if you have smaller nets you can put out more than one).
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:27 PM   #13
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I think they need more hay, round bales outside are ideal, we give at least 3 flakes at night in the stall depending on the size, hay keeps them warm and their bellies moving.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:06 PM   #14
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You could offer to help your dad, maybe feed his chickens sometimes? in trade for feeding at night for you if it is something you don't want to do.

I have found, if you have a clean area to feed in, which you really should for health reasons, that after a week or so of free choice feeding, most horses don't eat anymore than they do with rationed feedings, some even eat a little less.

horses are suppose to eat a little walk around some, eat a little, groom their buddy, eat a little, have a drink, eat a little... etc.

Because of peoples schedules and budgets, we have taught most horses to eat when they are fed until its gone. Having hay available all the time helps reverse that.

Its impossible to say if they are getting enough to eat without see them, though. Post pictures.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:08 AM   #15
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I dont mean to sound rude, but part of owning and caring for horses is barn chores in the winter, and that means bundling up for the cold. You need to be out making sure their water isnt frozen, and if it is breaking and scooping the ice. Theres no way you can go from 4pm - 8am without fresh unfrozen water...
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:25 PM   #16
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I dont mean to sound rude, but part of owning and caring for horses is barn chores in the winter, and that means bundling up for the cold. You need to be out making sure their water isnt frozen, and if it is breaking and scooping the ice. Theres no way you can go from 4pm - 8am without fresh unfrozen water...
maybe she has a tank heater?
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:30 AM   #17
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i guess i'll just have to bundle up and go at night
Yep. This is the answer. Bundling up and stepping out the door - no fun. But once you get about halfway to the barn/pasture/paddock, it becomes more about getting to the horses and less about leaving the house. And when you get there and see those beautiful animals that you have the privilege of caring for, you may even find yourself staying a few extra minutes.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:47 AM   #18
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Bundling up for snow beats feeding in the pouring rain in the middle of the night! Trust me on this one.

I feed at a god awful hour in the morning, and this morning was so awesome with the full moon and some clouds and stars and nickering horses. Thats what melts me, the nicker.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:56 AM   #19
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8a-4p is only 8 hours between feedings.

Interesting though about the ulcers, I didn't know about that.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #20
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8a-4p is only 8 hours between feedings.

Interesting though about the ulcers, I didn't know about that.
But from supper to the next breakfast? 16 hours.

The owner may be fast asleep, but the horse is standing out there wishing he had something to munch on.
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